Leviticus 6:9-13. In coming to a meeting like this, the first meeting of the convention, there was a certain alarm in my soul, a feeling of insufficiency and inability, and these words that Jesus spoke to His disciples came to mind when He asked if there was any meat and the disciples said there was a lad who had a few loaves and fishes, but they said, “What is that among so many?” The Lord made it sufficient. It is the hope of every child of God that in these meetings, the Lord would take the little bit that many are able to offer to make it sufficient to meet the need, or as Jesus taught those disciples that they would go to their friend and would ask him for three loaves for their friend who was in a journey and that friend was tired and weary and was needing sustenance. We are on a journey and many may be weary, and it would be very good if there were the three loaves present in these meetings – faith, hope and the love of God because someone or many were giving to God no rest until He gave to them the three loaves. If this is so, when we go away we shall be satisfied.
In this book of Leviticus, there is teaching that means a lot to me that I believe I can tell you has helped me in the past of my life. The book of Leviticus is commonly called one of the books of the laws. There is very much teaching, advice, and doctrine and guidance that the Lord prepared for the help of His people. If they would comply with that advice, if they would receive that doctrine and walk in it, then He told them at the end of this book that He would bless them and give to them the rain in his season, and their threshing would reach unto the vintage, and the vintage unto the sowing time. There is given to us as a RESULT OF COMPLIANCE with the will and teaching of God the picture of PROSPERITY IN THE SOUL and in the house of God’s people. All of these laws were to be obeyed by voluntary obedience and it would carry the promise of blessing, but failure would promise the consequence and that is true with us. The teaching of God to us today is in Jesus because He is all the law of God rolled up in one. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.” We know today by experience, as well as by reading, that the compliance with that will absolutely bring the blessing and favor of God. Any failure will certainly bring a consequence or the due recompense within the soul. It is bound to be so.
There is one verse I would like to mention in this book. Leviticus 27:25, “And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary……” That is to say that there is a standard in the presence of God. There is a certain evaluation that God makes about which we better learn, about which we MUST learn, if we are to render the service that is going to be pleasing and will return to us the benefit and bring to us the favor of the Father. There is a standard of the Sanctuary. It is probably true to say that many of the ills of the human race, maybe most of the ills stem from a false value of things, a false estimation of values. People are cherishing and giving an awful lot for what is really not valuable and later on they wake up to the fact there was not as much to that as they thought. Life has gone on and they have paid an awful price for what they have obtained. Therefore, they have sorrow and regret and a lot of disappointment.
The story is told about old Benjamin Franklin; He told it on himself. When he was a very small boy, he passed a little store window and in that window he saw a little whistle and he desperately wanted that whistle. To his boyish eyes that looked wonderful and so he had some coppers in his pocket and into the shop he went and told the merchant he wanted that whistle. The merchant put it on the counter; he grabbed the whistle and ran. He didn’t know if the money he left was enough or not, but he desperately wanted the whistle. He was having a grand time with it and his brother saw him and asked him how much he gave for it. He told him he had given a lot more than he needed to, a lot more than the merchant would have asked for; he had no pleasure from it because he had paid too much for what he had received. In the human family, that is true. There is a golden standard of the sanctuary, and maybe we are valuing our service higher than God is valuing it. Maybe we are cherishing some service that God does not think so much of. Maybe we are valuing something in our life that the Lord counts very, very cheap and we value that and because of the false standard of values we are suffering loss.
A Mother was leaving her little boy for the day with his older sister and she warned him that he should be as good as gold. When she returned in the evening, the older sister had some complaints to make about the brother. The mother said, “I told him to be as good as gold.” The sister said, “He went off the gold standard at 10 o’clock this morning. He didn’t hold to the standard.” Could it be that we are valuing what is only cheap to the Lord, what is worthless, and we have lost our vision of what the values of God are? We will only know this as a result of knowing the sanctuary experience. We will only know the values of God as we are found visiting the sanctuary and allowing God to show us what He values; and to discourage in us what is only very cheap and worthless and what we with the human evaluation might be prizing.
Men and women who do not know God, and even in religion, they are attaching an awful lot of importance to what God has no interest in whatsoever and it looms very large in the human mind. We would not understand what is valuable unless we are found visiting the sanctuary, and that will help us to be going in the course of value and what we are applying ourselves to and giving our strength for, will be returning to us and that will make us very happy in our soul.
There are many laws and all the laws of God are given to us in kindness. There was a time that I felt God made certain laws and teachings for His people just to make it difficult, to make this an uphill road. God made His Way just as easy as He possibly can make it and yet still doing the work of His that must be done to fit us to be with Him in eternity. He didn’t make it difficult purposely, but in order to do His work in us, and we would be terrible fools if we are trying to evade even the least law of God because that was given in kindness to help us, given to admonish us, given to help us. Sometimes a person is heard to say about another individual abiding in the doctrine or teaching, “They seem to get away with so much.” No one gets away with anything in the house of God. To cheat in the laws of God, we are only cheating ourselves, hindering the blessing of God. Don’t worry about someone, either young or old, ever getting away with anything. It is with the Father that they are having to do, not alone with the workers or with the fellow Christians. It is to our own Master that we stand or fall. Every law of God was given in kindness and that is why the man of God in the Psalms was able to lovingly say, “How love I Thy law.” He had learned to know what was profitable for his soul and rather than evading or dodging, we should be seeking the law of God, and the more of it that we know and observe, the more nearly to the course of value we will be walking in our pilgrimage down here.
They were even taught in this book what they were to feed upon, and the result of all this was to bring about a clean people. “You should be Holy for I am Holy.” A Holy God, a Holy Way, Holy doctrine, Holy Word, and a Holy people. There isn’t anything about our Father that is base, or mean, or low, or shabby, or contemptible, or ugly. Everything about our Father is Holy, perfectly pure, upright, honorable, noble, just. Everything about His Way is likewise. Everything about His doctrine is Holy, and it was to bring about the creation of a people who will be holy fitted to be with Him in eternity. God is working to bring about a people in whom there is nothing mean, deceitful, dishonest, ugly, nasty, base, unclean, or corrupt. He is looking for a people that He has purified through the provision He Himself has made. They were told the kind of animals they were to eat. In the 11th chapter, it tells what kind of animals, fowls and what kind of fish they were to eat, and one of the thoughts is that the right meditation, the proper meditation was going to produce a people who were separated and sanctified for the Lord. I don’t know hardly any of you here, but I know enough about this word of God and I don’t know very much, and I know enough about the Lord’s people for this, to know that one of the great struggles is the battle of right meditation, the battle of the mind. The battle of the mind that is won or lost will determine largely what you are today.
The Israelites in the OT were forever battling the Philistines, and it was the battle to keep their purpose from wandering – the battle of the mind; what are we grinding up in the heart and thoughts? Every one of us is feeding upon something either foul or pure. We are feeding on that which is encouraging or discouraging us, on the noble or the ignoble. We are all grinding up something in the mill of the mind and heart. We are not what we think we are, but what we think. We are no higher than our thoughts, no more than our meditation. One of the prayers that David uttered out of the depth of his soul, one that we do well to pray very often, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight.” To win in this battle is a wonderful way to live. It is a wonderful way to spend one’s years, to have this assurance that if the innermost purpose of the heart and mind was written out where all could see, you would not be ashamed of it because by the help of God, the innermost thoughts you are cherishing are all found in God. That is the way David wanted to live, and He prayed for the help of God in it. Paul had the same thought, “Finally brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.” There are people today very much discouraged because their meditation was wrong. There are people who are found astray from God because they didn’t use the source of the provision of God to help them to feed on that which was going to nourish their mind and heart with great thoughts. There are great thoughts with which we may nourish our souls.
I wish to tell you a little bit today about the offerings that the children of God were taught to offer before the Lord. You have heard of these, I know, but I have had some thoughts that have been refreshing to me that I would like to mention. There were, I believe it could be said, seven offerings that those people were to make. Maybe that is significant, that was, a service of seven; the different kinds of offerings would make their service unto God complete, or a perfect service, a perfect offering. In looking these over many times in the past of my life, I believe that in this New Testament, every child of God whose service is complete will likewise offer what the seven offerings stand for. What they did is comparable to what we are doing in this New Testament dispensation and therefore we may learn something from the offerings they were taught to make. This seems a very nice thing to me that by the Spirit of God, even though we cannot explain much that is in the Old Testament and what it stands for, yet we are doing it by the Spirit of God. Paul wrote to the Romans about certain Jewish people who were given the law, but they did not keep it, and now the gentile Christians who never had the Law, by the Spirit of God they were keeping the law. Though we may not be able to explain about the Old Testament feast days and sacrifices, yet if our service is complete by the Spirit of God and by the yielding of our wills to God, we are doing what every one of those Old Testament teachings stood for. We are keeping it even as they did.
There were seven offerings: the whole burnt offering, the meal offering, sometimes called the meat offering, the drink offering, the thank offering, the freewill offering, and the vow offering and maybe those six go together. All of these offerings hinge on the whole burnt offering. The last one is the sin offering. I only wish to mention in any detail two of these: the first one and the last one. More is mentioned about those two in this book than the others.
Romans 12:1 is the New Testament comparison to the whole burnt offering – the presentation of our body to God as a living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable unto God, and that is our reasonable service. That is the decision, the act that we did on the occasion first of all when we surrendered to the Lord, when we renounced all claim on this life, when we surrendered our will and way and all that we were and had or ever hoped to be or have unto the Lord. We did this without reservation. There was the willingness to accept everything that was involved in the receiving of Christ and we were willing for all God would show us in the future of His will, and we are still willing. That was the beginning, but it didn’t mean that we only did it one time. That was done every day of our life from then on. There was a new surrender day after day, year after year until the last breath was drawn. That complete and absolute surrender was made and there were no reservations imposed upon God, no limitations placed upon the offering, and it was to be a living offering. It was to be offered up in true surrender day after day. Every part of our service will be hinging on faithfulness in that surrender. All the prosperity of the soul hinges on that surrender being made daily. This meant to the ‘offeror,’ “I die daily.” It meant his human was on the cross day after day. It is never easy to die. This is harsh doctrine to people who do not know God.
Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.” Just as Jesus died on the cross, Paul said that his flesh was nailed to that cross, death to human desires, ambitions, pride, selfishness, deceit, conceit. THERE CAN BE NO LIVING OFFERING WITHOUT DEATH and every particle of prosperity will be determined by the whole burnt sacrifice we are making. You will remember that in this offering up daily, for the congregation, there was the offering every morning and every evening. That was done for those people collectively.
In addition to that, in the first chapter of the book of Leviticus you will read about individual offerings. These were made by people who weren’t satisfied to merely pass through the crowd, feeling that a lot of sacrifice was going on from all the children of God and I am unnoticed and my sacrifice, “What I do will not be noticed.” The Lord taught that if any would bring an offering, he would do it of his own voluntary will. The service that will mean so much to our Father is the overflow of a grateful heart; What is overflowing from a grateful heart, because of what He has done, because of where of where He has brought us to and from and that He has taken us from the dust of the earth where we were living for nothing and He has placed us amongst the princes of His people, that overflow must mean a lot to our Father. When I look into the hearts of men and women who from an overflow of grateful hearts are offering unreservedly to God day after day, there is a sweet savor going up to God from that life. When God is PLEASED, God gives in your heart the PLEASURE of Himself. The amount of our pleasure is determined by the amount of pleasure we bring Him. You will have no more joy than the joy you are bringing Him.
The offering was to be brought to the door of the tabernacle and the ‘offerer’ placed his hand upon the head of the animal, and then he was to kill that animal. It is so true that you and I are identified with our sacrifice, by our sacrifice. We are known by those who know us by the sacrifice we are making. We are not known by what we think we are; we are not known by the name our parents gave us when we came into the world, but as soon as your name is heard, you are known by your sacrifice. Sometimes we talk about people, and it isn’t wrong to talk about them, but it is wrong to talk against them. If you heard what was said, it would not pain you one bit because what is being said is so very commendable because that person is identified with a very nice sacrifice. It is also truly said that what we ARE, makes our sacrifice acceptable or unacceptable, not what we pretend, not what other people think of us, but what we are in the presence of God. Not only Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, but Cain himself was rejected. God had neither respect for the offering nor for the man because of what he was. He wasn’t right and didn’t intend to get right.
Why was this offering called the burnt offering? It was because of the burning all night upon the altar. There was an altar, there was a fire on that altar and it was burning and that fire was to burn day and night, year after year, generation after generation, century after century. That fire was never to go out. The fire was kindled in the days of Moses and it was to continue as long as there was a tabernacle or a temple. Would it not have been a grand thing if that fire God started in the beginning had continued until Jesus came 1,500 years later? Sad to say it did go out. That fire is comparable to the love of God kindled in your heart and mine. What is your life and mine to God without the love of God? It would be like a person without a God; without any warmth, and how long would we want to come to a place like this, if there is no longer the love of God being shed abroad that makes the sacrifice a sweet savor. If an animal was offered on the altar and there was no fire, how long would it be before a stinking savor would arise? How long would it be in your experience with no love of God until there would be a stench going up from our service?
God kindled that fire, the first fire, the first spark God gave to us. The second thing He gave was the Holy Spirit, and the third thing was the shedding abroad in our hearts a little of the love of God. It wasn’t the preachers or the preaching that did this for you. Only God can give faith, only God can give the Holy Spirit, and only that Spirit can shed abroad the divine love of God. This fellowship isn’t human – it is divine – it comes from God. This fire was to be cared for day after day. Every morning the priest was to come and put wood on that fire, and every evening wood was put on that fire. That was to be done day after day. That is our responsibility and every one of us can have just as much of the love of God as anyone else, if we will it so. You may have as much love of God shed abroad in your heart as any other child of God if you are making that surrender. You may contribute the most important thing to this house of God by bringing wood for the fire. Have you ever had the experience of feeling that your own fire was rather low?
Peter wrote there was the possibility of the pure minds being stirred up by way of remembrance. Every one of us everyday can be putting wood on the fire. I was going to tell you of an experience of meeting someone when my fire was a little bit low and the very fellowship with those people did something good for my fire because their own fire was going so well. Love is a contagious thing, FAITH is contagious. We may catch it from another and benefit from another. There is the possibility also of pouring a bucket of cold water on the fire of another because of unwholesomeness of their conversation, because of their grumbling, fault-finding, or pulling down someone, and when you left that person, you had the feeling that a bucket of cold water had been thrown on your fire.
When I was a small boy in the city where I grew up, sometimes on a vacant lot we would kindle a fire. Some of the neighborhood boys were very industrious and would get wood for the fire. Some of the boys were very good at getting wood. Everybody was supposed to bring wood for the fire. Amongst that number, there were lazy ones and they wanted the benefit of the fire, but didn’t want any part in going out to get some wood. We had a stock phrase we used for those boys, “Chip or Get.” Go out and get some chips for the fire or you have no right to enjoy the fire. If your mediation in this word of God is not kindling your fire, if as you bow yourself before God day after day, the Lord isn’t quickening that fire, I will say you will not be around the fire very long. Your heart will be getting awfully cold. This will not be a very enjoyable house if your fire is not burning briskly.
In the Old Testament, in the book of Nehemiah certain people were designated by law to bring wood. The humblest could bring the wood and the most important person in the household could bring wood. They were called Nethinims. You will read about those people in Ezra, Nehemiah and also in Chronicles. They were people in the camp of God who were servants forever, they were people who had no right in the camp of God but because of their anxiety to get in, the Lord allowed them to stay and made them hewers of wood and drawers of water forever. They were content to do that. They were so glad to be in this house of God where there was shelter, safety, protection, and peace. What is more important in the house of God than people who bring wood for the fire and water for cleansing and refreshing? I hope we are so glad to be in this house of God that we will be satisfied with the low, menial task or position in the house so long as we can bring a little bit of wood and living water. I am happy there are people professing more than 50 years and the fire of God has never gone out. They have looked after that fire. God has helped them look after that fire. Other people have helped them.
When the wood was burning on the altar and the sacrifice was consumed, the ashes fell through the grating to the bottom of the altar. The ashes are the memory of yesterday’s sacrifice. It is all that remains of yesterday’s sacrifice. What do we do with the ashes? Do we allow them to stay? Every day is a new day, a new fire, a new sacrifice. We are not like the Pharisees who were taken up with what they did yesterday or what they did last month, year. The commendable mark about God’s true people they may have given 20, 40, or 50 years of faithful service and they have the feeling that they haven’t done anything to commend themselves to God. Why is that? Every day they put away what they did yesterday. Everyday they are busy with a new sacrifice. Everyday is a new privilege and a new fire. Therefore, they do not remember how they served years ago. Are the ashes thrown away? This is a rich house of God today because of the memory of sacrifice is in the past. We have no property, no buildings, no money, no headquarters, nothing tangible, but we have a heap of ashes laid up in a clean place. We have the memory in your heart of men and women who are no longer present that have gone on and you think of the sacrifice that went on daily for 50 years or whatever the case may be and you may go to that heap of ashes and you are encouraged in your soul. It was laid up in a clean place, outside the camp. My thoughts about this are that it is laid up in the mind and book of God forever. The memory of this sacrifice is all that remains. There is nothing you have ever done, no service rendered, kindness shown that will be forgotten by God on that day when we stand before Him, the Lord will mention much that you have forgotten. You will say, “When did I do ever do that?” The Lord is not unrighteous to forget your work of faith and labor of love. It is laid up forever in a clean place. I hope we will always be putting aside the ashes – not thinking of what we did last year. It is what we are doing today that counts. The priest that handled those ashes had to put on holy garments. This was holy to God. That memory is holy to God and it was under the altar.
Notice Leviticus 6:9 and Revelations 6:9. In this chapter, too, you will find an altar and you will read about souls under the altar resting. Why were they under the altar? These were the people who had died for the testimony and for the word of God, and this was the only logical place they could be because all their lifetime had been spent in the service of God, on the altar, and now the life had been consumed in the love of God and therefore when life is over, they are found under the altar. They didn’t take their life off from the altar.
The last offering was the sin offering. Once every year there was remembrance of sin for all the people and in that remembrance those people were understanding what it cost God to provide a place for cleansing. On that Day of Atonement, a bullock was offered for Aaron and his sons and his family, and then two goats for the sins of the people. One was sacrificed and upon the other all the transgressions and sins of the people were confessed. This animal was taken out into a place not inhabited. This teaches us of the provision for our cleansing in Jesus, but we not to presume upon this. This is not cheap. WE ARE NOT to glibly talk about our failure and ask the Lord to forgive us. Remember, we are not to presume upon this provision. Remember that sin is ABHORRED by God. Remember that any transgression, any wrong, any error of the way is an abomination to God, and it should never be looked upon lightly by us. Jesus entered into that holiest place with His own blood, with His own sacrifice, and oh, what fear and reverence and respect should attach itself to that provision, to that fountain for our transgression, wrongs and sin. Sin is never cheaply forgiven.
In chapters 4, 5, and 6, we read about individual offerings for sin, and you will understand how God looks upon it. If a priest sinned, it was more difficult to be forgiven than for one of the common people. If a ruler or an elder sinned, it was much more costly for him to get right than for the common people. God made it COSTLY so that we would understand what He thinks about it. Sin is never forgiven until we come into the right relationship with our Father. Sin is not forgiven by merely speaking a few words. It is a sacrifice that is costly to be made. Perhaps the greatest sin of all is to be conscious of none. To not know the heavens are closed, when they are closed, to not be sensitive as we ought to be to His voice, would be fatal. Sin is costly.
I believe that sin in one of His servants is more grievous than sin in one of the Christians in their home. It is more difficult for a worker to get right after sinning because that sin has a more far-reaching consequence. It is harder for an elder to get right when he has sinned. It will require more brokenness of heart and spirit and forsaking the wrong, and then God will have mercy. We do not demand it or command it, but forgiveness is obtained by the broken heart, we will have to pay the price for all sin. We will not get off cheaply. David was forgiven but all that left a scar that was never erased. When we make wrong choices, God will help us salvage what is left, but there may be a scar all the days of our life. If we will make the right offering for our transgressions and iniquities in these meetings, then when we leave there will be nothing against us because we have attended to everything God has shown us.