Andrew Abernethy – Leviticus – Oak Lodge, Australia – 1961

The book of Leviticus 11:44. I expect most of you have read Leviticus. This is the book with multitudes of the laws of God. Instructions, teaching the commandments to God’s people. Is it not so when someone says, “Thou shalt not,” that there is something rises within us? We don’t like instruction, restrictions, or law. Man never became truly free until he became subject to the law – not free till he knew a government by law. “The truth will make you free,” Jesus said. Jesus was the Old and New Testament law rolled into one. God said, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him” – “If ye continue in My love, ye shall be free indeed.” He will free us from bondage, the slavery of what we are by nature. He will free us from the law of the earth that keeps us bound.
Many years ago I had this mistaken thought – that the Lord made it difficult, made it uphill purposely to make it hard. I thought there was reproach to make it difficult, but I know today all the law was made for us in His Kindness. The law was just as wide as He could make it, to do a work in us that must be done to fit us for the realms above. Every law is to that end.
Therefore if we love the law-giver, we’ll love the law He gives, because there is not one law, not one crossing of the “t” or dotting of the “I” that is not necessary. We may say about others, “Well, they get away with things. No one goes and restrains them,” but you make no mistake no one gets away with anything in this house. We are dealing not with the servants but the law-giver. Who are we hurting? No one but ourselves. We may hurt others largely, and have a weakening influence. The law is given to accomplish in me, that which I am not by nature. If you and I are going to be ready to meet the Lord on that day, the work must be done. We are to be a Holy people, and the one we are going to meet is Holy. Nothing low, nasty, deceitful, or not upright, or unclean, nothing hurtful, nothing mean.
He is looking for a people who will be like Himself. “Ye shall be Holy like unto Me.” You are serving Me and this is what I am looking for in you. What we are feeding on will make us Holy or unholy. We will be largely what we feed upon. We are products of what we are milling over and grinding up in our minds day by day. One man was pouring out all the ills he had suffered for 38 years, it was enough to fill ten donkeys, all who had done him wrong, etc. No one can be healthy who feeds on junk, it causes spiritual indigestion. No need to say this man hit the bottom before he got on his feet again. Hardness and bitterness was his diet every day. When he got rid of the junk, he was much happier, healthier. We are all feeding on something.
One man was sitting whittling on a stick. When asked what he was doing, he said, “Sometimes I sit and think, sometimes I just sits.” We are turning over something in our mind, let us turn over and over what will put health in us. Not grinding up what will be rank poison. Israel was taught to esteem what the Lord esteemed, understand what was of value and what was of no value. That which is among men is an abomination to God. There is a goal standard, a yardstick of Eternity. I may think what I am doing means a great deal, but if I understand His mind, I’d feel I’m not doing much. What is the goal standard? Not outward show or human ability.
A little story I read says – a mother of nine children went away one day and left them in the care of the older one. The mother told them to be as good as gold. When she returned the daughter said, “I have difficulty with the young one. He went off the gold standard at noon today.” Failure to feed on this Book of the law will cause us to offer up what is inferior. We get off the gold standard – suppose all is well. How many know what we should be giving in our life- service to God? I think you understand the joy of the Lord in our lives is determined by the amount of joy we are bringing to Him. The people who are closest to the Father and enjoying the most are the ones who are giving the most. This path is not easy if we do not have the joy of the Lord. Have you lost that zest for the meetings? Do you say, “Oh! It’s Sunday we have to go?” If that is so it means we’ve lost His joy along the way, meetings have become a drudgery.
Chapter 1 describes the whole burnt offering. That is the one we were moved to make when we made a full surrender, entered into a covenant with Him – no reservations – we were willing. We were given a genuine spark of faith – could only see one step ahead. This was not to try for a month or a year or so, no the salt was not lacking. This salt in us was symbolic of the choice made forever. Not for a year, but forever. When you think this is forever, it helps you always. Trials will come, severe trials, but remember this choice is forever, not a fair-weather choice – it is unthinkable to ever go back. We are reassured it is forever. Two men speaking of a man they admired said, “He’s in this for keeps, he’s in this to stick.” No matter what may happen, no matter if the going is not very pleasant, we’re in for keeps. That surrender is forever. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Leviticus 2:13, “Thou shalt not suffer the salt of thy covenant of thy God to be lacking, in all thine offerings.” That surrender is re- affirmed every morning, every evening – daily. It is a compulsion if we are to go on. We understand it is a requirement to our spiritual progress. We must be making the surrender day after day to the Father. With the whole burnt offering there was the meat offering, and a drink offering. Meat offering may represent what we become to the Lord and His people by experiences we pass through along the way. When we are crushed – ground. There are grinding experiences that bring us to the ground. It is not a hit or miss experience, but He will not allow anything to come that is beyond our ability. He will, with the temptation, make a way of escape. There are things that will break us. Experiences you and I have that we would give anything to get around them, but we must go through them, but when it is all over, we would not take anything for that experience that did so much for us – will help us all the days of our life – remembering the unseen hand that helped us.
When Job was tried, he did not know of the conversation in Heaven. If we understand that someday that which is taking place around us the Lord is having the same conversation – looking down so anxiously. We sing, “Jesus is anxiously watching the fray, keep on pursuing till close of the day.” If Job knew the Lord was watching, it would have helped him. If Abraham had known also, but he did not know. You may hold the key to the whole situation and may let the Lord down. What if He wanted to use me and I let Him down. The Lord has a design – He wants to make us bread in the meeting. Bread is not preaching – all the talk I do will not bring one slice. Our willingness to be made like God that will bring bread – only that which is from the Lord Himself, meat offering and drink offering. That living bread – life poured out.
Paul says, “The last drops of my sacrifice are now failing – I am now ready to be offered.” This is the pouring out of life for others. You try it of your own voluntary will – you will not be beaten or frightened into it, but this shall come out of the overflow of your heart. There is no frightening of people or crack of the whip to cause them to please the Lord, but it is because we know the Father. The offering is voluntary, without blemish. It has to be perfect to be accepted, not a bullock or a sheep. Not simply shuffle along in any old way, but demands the best that’s in me or I am off the gold standard. If we are so lifeless and careless in our service we are known by our offering. So are you, so am I. You are not known by Mr. Smith, but by your offering – your sacrifice. They think of what you are, that’s what you are identified by.
When I think of men and women, I think of their whole burnt offerings. Not who they are, but what they are. What we are is stamped on our sacrifice. What we ate in our hearts, and the offering we are making. Peace offering and thank offering all to be without a blemish. The Lord loves people who are thankful, we are helped by them. A thankful heart completes our offering – going beyond what we are supposed to do – going beyond what we have to do. Free will offering. We are rendering to His House – to His people. In making vows, we are making an offering. I heard someone say in a meeting that they would not make any vows now lest they could not keep them. That is very, very cowardly, that thought is unworthy. Don’t allow cowardice to fill the heart. The sacrifice of a fool is one who vows and does not fulfill. So have enough courage to say, “I’ll vow and pay the price to keep my vows – I shall make a tremendous attempt.” It is better to try and fail than not to attempt.
Next one is the sin offering. Are we known more by our sin offering – “I’ve failed again.” If so this is very unbalanced. Sin offering was necessary – and there was a provision for it – but our Father abominates wrong. Sin closes Heaven – makes things so that we do not acquire knowledge. It stops our progress. There is no growth till it’s made right. We just don’t commit sin and say sorry and on we go. If you understand this matter of being made right is costly, we will not presume upon His mercy, others may but you mustn’t. What others do, does not excuse any short-coming in you. Sin must be put away. If there is sin in your heart, you are not prepared to deal with it, you won’t go on, you won’t grow, and you won’t make progress. If what is between you and God is not made right, you can pray till you are black in the face, Heaven will be closed to you. Sin in the Priest or ruler was very serious. It was most costly for the priests to be made right. Sin in the workers if not attended to is very serious, most grievous. The priests had to bring a more costly offering. Among the priests and elders most serious because of the power to hinder themselves and other people. The worst sin is to be conscious of no sin. There will be no improvement until we see ourselves as the Lord sees us. Even if we sin in ignorance, we should have known. Sin was very serious for the Lord’s people – most important is the sin offering. When the offering is made it shall be forgiven you. What a feeling of relief when we spread our case before the Lord. When we are made conscious of wrong, let us not go back to that or we cannot go on. How grateful we should be for that provision which is mighty costly. It’s mighty costly and we are not cheaply forgiven. Any wrong is most serious in the sight of God.
Chapter 6:9, this explains the altar of burnt offering – the carrying forth of the ashes out into a clean place – the fire shall never go out. There is a fire all night until the morning – we may say – all through the night of our pilgrimage. Of the virtuous woman it says, “Her candle goeth not out by night” – trying experiences but the candle was burning. We are thankful for those who for 40 or 50 years the candle has not gone out during the night of their pilgrimage – it has been attended to. The Lord kindled that spark of faith in the beginning not the servant – the Lord did it and shed abroad the Divine Love in our hearts and we are responsible to keep it burning. I don’t know about your fire – maybe it is low and needs refueling and needs stoking up. The fire is the “love” of God. Your service is nothing without the love of God behind it. This would be a mighty cold house if the fire goes out – you would not want to be around. It would become mechanical, like putting on a record. It would be a mighty dead house if there is not that abounding love. Thoughts of the Lord and meditation help our fire to burn.
We can become spiritually lazy. We can think of 10,000 things we should be doing and they will take predominance of the time you should be giving to praying and meditation. Reading and meditation will help us grow like corn in the night. The time you give to meditation will not be subtracted from your life, but the time we shall give shall be over and above the allotment of life and we’ll accomplish in half the time what God wants us to. We’ll not be beating the air and running around in circles. I’m glad for every hour I’ve chained myself down. I could dig a ditch and split wood, etc, rather than chain myself down to concentrate. It’s hard work I tell you, but it is work that will pay and pay. The fire shall be burning and you are responsible for your fire and the fire of another. When we were boys we made bonfires and those who wanted the benefit had to “chip” or “get” away. We’d say either contribute or get away, don’t come around. We’re all responsible. I am grateful for those who are helping my fire. There are others who will throw a bucket of water on it, say discouraging hopeless things.
The priests were to take the ashes from the sacrifice that had burned all night and put them in a clean place. What are the ashes? They are the memory of yesterday’s sacrifice. We don’t leave them until today – a new sacrifice on a clean altar. Don’t think of what you did yesterday, forget it – forget what we have done. Don’t advertise what you did last month or last year. A lady over in my country said to me just before she died, “I cannot think of much that I have done all that is to my account.” Her ashes were not thrown away, they were put away, laid up in a clean place where the ashes of sin were consumed. God is not unrighteous to forget your labour of love. It is laid up forever in the mind of God, and one day He’ll remind you. You say, “I don’t remember,” but He does. In this house, there is the pile of ashes that is the sacrifice of God’s people all through the years. Some in obscurity, you may not know, He does. We have a rich house because of the memory of God. There is the memory of those who have gone on, memories of sacrifice that was costly forever laid up.
Leviticus 6:9-10 speaks of the altar and the fire. Dead were under the altar in Eternity showing that during a lifetime they were on the altar burning and now they are resting in Heaven under the altar. “How long Lord?” they said. God says, “Until your brethren come.” So He has given the law in kindness. The book of the law is for our good prosperity.