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Leviticus 7:14-34 - Homilies By W. Clarkson

The kingdom of God: lessons from the heave offering.

The ceremony of the heave offering and wave offering was a striking incident in the rite of the peace offering. "According to Jewish tradition it was performed by laying the parts on the hands of the offerer, and the priest, putting his hands again underneath, then moving them in a horizontal direction for the waving and in a vertical one for the heaving … the waving was peculiarly connected with the breast, which is thence called the wave breast ( Leviticus 7:34 ), and the heaving with the shoulder, for this reason called the heave shoulder" ( Leviticus 7:34 ). The main truth to which this symbolic act pointed was probably—

I. GOD 'S UNIVERSAL SOVEREIGNTY . As these parts of the animal were solemnly directed upwards and downwards and laterally, in all directions, the offerer intimated his belief that the realm of Jehovah was a boundless kingdom, reaching to the heavens above, to the dark regions below, to every corner and quarter of the earth. We do well to meditate on the truth thus pictorially presented; bat in so doing we are necessarily reminded how much more we have learned both from revelation and human science of the wide reach of his reign. We may think of his Divine kingdom as including:

1 . Heaven and all its worlds and inhabitants.

2 . Hades—the grave and those who have "gone to the grave."

3 . The earth and all that is thereon:

(1) all human Beings;

We are reminded of the propriety of—

II. OUR FORMAL RECOGNITION OF THIS FACT . The Hebrew worshipper was encouraged to bring his peace offering to the altar, and then to go through this simple but suggestive ceremony, thus formally acknowledging the truth. No similar provision is made for our utterance of it; but it is open to us to declare it in sacred words and in most solemn forms:

1 . In adoration. "Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power … for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine," etc. (` Chronicles 29:10, 11; 1 Timothy 1:17 ; Deuteronomy 10:14 ; Psalms 24:1 ).

2 . In praise. When we "sing unto the Lord," there should be full and frequent ascription of everything "in the heavens above and. the earth beneath" to him as the Author and Owner and Ruler of all. We also see—

III. OUR APPROPRIATE ACTION THEREUPON . The Jewish worshipper was directed to "wave" and "heave" the breast and shoulder; these joints in particular and in preference to any other, "probably from their being considered the more excellent parts." When the fat had been burned upon the altar ( Leviticus 7:30 , these joints were reserved "unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons for ever" ( Leviticus 7:34 ). We gather therefrom that we are to make practical recognition of the truth that God's kingdom extends everywhere, and includes every one, by:

1 . Dedicating our best to his service: our affections (suggested by the breast); our strength (suggested by the shoulder).

2 . Bringing our offerings to his cause—for the support of those who minister in holy things, and for the maintenance of those various agencies which are working for the glory of his Name.—C.

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