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Leviticus 7:11-30 - Homilies By W. Clarkson

Four thoughts on sacred service.

We gather from these words—

I. THAT THERE IS A JOYOUS AND SOCIAL ELEMENT IN SACRED SERVICE . There were not only sin and burnt offerings, but also meat and peace offerings, in the Hebrew ritual. Those who were reconciled unto God might rejoice, and might rejoice together, before him. They might hold festive gatherings as his servants and as his worshippers; they might eat flesh which had been dedicated, to him, and bread, even leavened bread ( Leviticus 7:13 ), and they were to "rejoice in their feast" ( Deuteronomy 16:14 ). The prevailing tone of the true Christian life is that of sacred joy. Even at the remembrance of the Saviour's death humility and faith are to rise into holy joy.

"Around a table, not a tomb,

He willed our gathering-place should be.

When going to prepare our home,

Our Saviour said, 'Remember me.'"

Whether in ordinary worship, or at "the table of the Lord," or in any other Christian festival, we are to "rejoice before the Lord." together.

II. THAT THERE IS A SPONTANEOUS AS WELL AS A STATUTORY element in sacred service. "If he offer it for a thanksgiving then he shall offer," etc. ( Leviticus 7:12 ). "If the sacrifice … be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten," etc. ( Leviticus 7:16 ). God's Law says, "thou shalt," but it finds room for "if thou shalt." There are many things compulsory, and we have nothing to do but cheerfully and unquestioningly obey. There are also many things optional, and we may allow ourselves to act as devotional and generous impulses may move us. The mind which is constitutionally legal should cultivate the spontaneous in worship and benefaction; the impulsive must remember that there are statutes as well as suggestions in the Word of God.

III. THAT THERE MAY BE NOT ONLY FUTILITY BUT EVEN GUILT in connection with sacred service. Disregard of the prohibition to eat on the third day entirely vitiated the worthiness of the offering: in such case it would "not be accepted," neither "imputed unto him that offered it;" it would be counted "an abomination," and the soul that so acted was to "bear his iniquity" ( Leviticus 7:18 ). The service we seek to render God may be:

1 . Wholly vitiated so as to be entirely unacceptable, and draw down no blessing from above; or may even be:

2 . Positively offensive in the sight of God, and add to our guilt, if it be

IV. THAT PERSONAL SPIRITUAL PARTICIPATION IS NECESSARY in sacred service. "His own hands shall bring the offerings" ( Leviticus 7:30 ). God would be approached by His people themselves, and though he had graciously granted human mediation in the form of a sacrificing priesthood, yet he desired that every Israelite who had an offering to present should bring it with his own hand to the door of the tabernacle. Religion is a personal thing. We may accept human ministry, but we must come ourselves to God in direct, immediate devotion and dedication. Every man here must bear his own burden ( Galatians 6:5 ). There is a point beyond which the most ardent affection, the most earnest solicitude, the most burning zeal cannot go—for others. They must, themselves, approach in reverence, bow in penitence, look up in faith, yield in self-surrender, present daily sacrifices of gratitude, obedience, submission.—C.

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