Sermon #61 Leviticus Sermons
Title: The Meat Offerings
Sacrifices of Thanksgiving
Subject: The Meaning of the Meat Offerings
Date: Sunday Morning – April 8, 2001
Tape # W-34b
Reading: Leviticus 2:1-16
Introduction:Fifteen or sixteen years ago, maybe more, a movie on television portrayed two friends caught in a tense situation. They both loved the same woman. In the movie something happen that was utterly amazing. The two men were competing against each other in a parachute competition. Both jumped out of the plane at the same time. But when one of the men pulled his ripcord, his chute failed to open. His death seemed sure.
The other man noticed his former friend’s (now his bitter enemy) great danger. He managed to maneuver into position through freefall, and tied himself to the other man’s tangled canopy. Then he opened his own chute.
The two of them came down together and landed safely. Now, here’s the amazing, shocking thing. --- After they had hit the ground, the man who had been rescued got up and walked away without even thanking the one who saved him.
That was, of course, just a movie, totally fictitious. However, Luke 17 describes a real life event very much like it. Ten lepers, on their way home from a meeting with Christ, suddenly realized that He had healed them of their dreadful disease. He had saved their lives. But only one, a Samaritan, returned to the Lord to say, "Thank you."
Nine were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks. Why? Why did only one cleansed leper return to thank the Master? The one returned to give thanks because he knew he owed his life to the Savior. The others did not, because they obviously did not consider themselves such debtors to mercy. Perhaps…
It is a sad, sad commentary on our society that few have the manners and common decency to say "Thank you" when someone has done something for them or given something to them, or even been courteous to them. But it is an indescribably greater evil that you and I need to be reminded to say, "Thank you" to God our Savior for his wondrous grace so richly bestowed upon us. Yet, we do need to be reminded, in everything to give thanks.This is a matter of great importance, because the very heart of all true worship is thanksgiving. Only thankful hearts worship God. Only thankful souls serve him. Other may fear him. Others may pay tribute to him, in one way or another. But…
Proposition: Only the thankful worship and serve him.In Leviticus 2:1-16 the Lord gave Moses specific rules about meat offerings. There were other meat offerings required in the law. But these meat offerings were specifically offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord God. These offerings were freewill offerings, offered voluntarily, without compulsion of law. They represented a man voluntarily giving up himself to God with a thankful, willing heart. Still, though they were freewill offerings, they must be offered in the way God prescribed.
As the burnt-offering represented the value of Christ's work in the Father's estimation as our sin-atoning Substitute, giving "Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour" (Eph. 5:2), so the meat-offering sets forth our Savior’s perfect human character and conduct, and is clearly linked with his obedience to God as our Representative, by which he finished the work of bringing in an everlasting righteousness for us. – This was the will of the Father he came to perform, both the putting away of sin and the bringing in of an everlasting righteousness. He said, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34). This work, will of the Father he came to perform for us was completed by his perfect obedience unto death (John 17:4; 19:30).
[John 17:1-5] "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."[John 19:30] "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
Though our Lord’s obedience in life, weaving out a garment of righteousness for us, was performed during his earthly life as a perfect man, as Jehovah’s perfect, righteous Servant, it could not be imputed to us until his obedience in death had put away our sins. Hence, the burnt offering is first made, then the meat offering by which we celebrate full redemption, complete forgiveness, and perfect justification. What reason we have for thanksgiving to our God![Psalms 105:1] "O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people." [Psalms 106:1] "Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." [Psalms 107:1] "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." The meat offering was always presented along with the burnt offering, or some other animal sacrifice, to show the connection between the pardon of sin and consecration to the Lord. The moment we receive the pardon of sin we become (experimentally) the property of our Redeemer. "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:19). When Boaz bought Ruth, he claimed her inheritance. And when the Lord Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, bought us he bought all that we are and all that we possess. Yet, as I said before, the meat offering, like the burnt offering speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom alone our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving are accepted with God (Heb. 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:5). [Hebrews 13:15] "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." [1 Peter 2:5] "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
There is nothing in the meat offering that even hints of sin. Our sins were dealt with in the burnt offering, in the sin-atoning sacrifice of Christ, and were thereby completely and forever put away. The meat offering portrays sinners perfect in the sight of God, accepted by the merits of Christ’s blood.
It was not a bloody sacrifice, but consisted of fine flour, bolted and thoroughly sifted. It had no bran at all in it. There was nothing rough or uneven in it.
This speaks of both the perfect, holiness and righteousness of our Savior, and of our perfect righteousness before God in him. That which is true of him is true of his church. We are accepted in him.
Look him over, through the whole course of his humiliation. There is nothing in him but fine flour. Nothing moved him from his purpose. Nothing caused him to even hesitate in his course. Nothing prevented him from his obedience. Nothing kept him from doing good.
In all his character, our blessed God-man Mediator is perfect, even, complete. He is perfectly gracious and perfectly just, -- perfectly holy and perfectly kind, -- perfect in love and yet without compromise. Circumstances had no effect upon him. Company did not alter him. Sorrow did not subject him. Praise did not puff him. Our Lord was always elevated by his very character above all that surrounded him.
In all other men, however great the church or the world may judge them to be, there are serious defects and infirmities. Even their strongest points are counter-balanced by some humiliating weakness. Christ alone could declare: "The Father hath not left me alone," adding, as no one else can, "I do always those things that please him;"--"Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:29,46). Hence God the Father twice burst heaven open to exclaim, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17; 17:5).
Not so with us! Even our very best attempts to live for his glory display in the most glaring way that there is much bran and little evenness in us.
His flesh is meat indeed. Those who eat this Bread have life in themselves, eternal life! He is the Bread that satisfies God. And he is the Bread that satisfies our souls!
[Leviticus 2:2-3] "And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:  And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire."
It was an offering made by fire unto the Lord. It might be baked in an oven (v. 4), or in a pan if a man had no oven (v. 5), or in a frying pan (an earthen fry pan) if the worshipper were poorer still (v. 7). No matter what instrument was used or who offered it, the fine flour was thoroughly baked. Every particle of it was exposed to the fire.
Again, the reference to our all glorious Redeemer is obvious and clear. Our great Savior cried out in his hot distress, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death" (
The fire was burning very fiercely, when He who had always done those things that pleased His Father uttered the wail of a breaking heart: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).
Oil is the well known symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. When the angel announced to the virgin the birth of the promised Messiah he said to her "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
Though the Lord Jesus was the seed of the woman, he was not the seed of the man, but as the angel said to Joseph, "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 1:20). His entire nature was perfectly holy, unlike our nature, which "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7).
This oil mingled with the flour also speaks of us. The oil in the flour speaks of the Holy Spirit in us. It is only by the Spirit in us that we worship and serve our God. Yet, and be sure you do not miss this, the Spirit in us and his work in us have nothing whatever to do with out acceptance with God. That is what the burnt-offering was all about. The work of the Holy Spirit in us contributes nothing to the work of Christ for us, but only makes it manifest. The Holy Spirit is the fruit of acceptance, not the cause.
[Leviticus 2:4] "And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil."
The unleavened wafers of fine flour were anointed with oil. When the Lord Jesus came up out of the watery grave of baptism, John "saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matt. 3:16). Then "Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness;" and "returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee" to proclaim "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor" (Luke 4:1,14,18).
Peter also testifies "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power" (Acts 10:38).
If the blood of sacrifices under the law availed to put away sin for a time, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14).
[Leviticus 2:1] "And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon."
The meat-offering was not only anointed with oil, but frankincense was put thereon. This word, "frankincense," is derived from a verb which means "to be white or to make white." This is the word David used when he cried out, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps. 51:7). This is the word God used when He said, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isa. 1:18).
The word rendered frankincense occurs twenty times in the Old Testament, and it was closely connected with the holy anointing oil, the type of the Holy Ghost (Ex. 30:34), and placed upon the twelve loaves that were ever in the presence of God, on the tables of shew-bread. (Lev. 24:5-8). Where sin was in question, it could not be used, (Lev. 5:11; Num. 5:15). Yet, it speaks of the relation between the Christ our Bridegroom and us, his Bride. (Song of Sol. 3:6; 4:6,14).
[Song of Songs 3:6] The Bride, the Church speaks of Christ -- "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?"[Song of Songs 4:6] The Lord Jesus says to his Bride, his Church -- "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense." Again, he says, [Song of Songs 4:14] "Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices." Frankincense also speaks of the perpetual intercession of Christ in heaven (1 John 2:2).
[Leviticus 2:11] "No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire."
Leaven is a symbol of evil and hypocrisy.
Honey was forbidden, to teach us that whatever is sweet to nature must be disowned, if we would walk after the example of Christ who pleased not himself. (Rom. 15:3; Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:59-62; John 6:63).
Leaven and honey were also forbidden, perhaps primarily forbidden, because these things were commonly used by the heathen in their idolatrous sacrifices. – God’s people must not follow the way of idolaters. Our worship of our God must be regulated by his Word alone.
[Deuteronomy 12:30-32] "Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.  Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.  What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."
Have you ever read the story of Eddie Rickenbacher?
Imagine this scene: You are on the Florida coast, not far from a little town near Jacksonville called Switzerland. The sun is setting like a gigantic orange ball. It's a cool evening on a vacant, isolated stretch of beach. The water is lapping at the shore, the breeze is blowing slightly. There are one or two joggers and a couple of fisherman. Most people have gone home for the day.
You look up and you see an old man with bent shoulders, bushy eyebrows, and bony features hobbling down the beach carrying a bucket. He carries the bucket out onto a pier. He stands there and you notice he is looking up into the sky and all of a sudden you see a mass of dancing dots. You soon recognize that they are seagulls. They are coming out of nowhere. The man takes out of his bucket handfuls of shrimp and begins to throw them on the dock. The seagulls come and land all around him. Some land on his shoulders, some land on his hat, and they eat the shrimp. Long after the shrimp are gone his feathered friends linger. The old man and the birds.
What is going on here? Why is this man feeding seagulls? What could compel him to do this--as he does week after week?
The man in the scene is Eddie Rickenbacher, a famous World War II pilot. His plane, "The Flying Fortress," went down in 1942 and no one thought he would be rescued. Perhaps you have read or heard how he and his eight passengers escaped death by climbing into two rafts for thirty days. They fought thirst, the sun, and sharks. Some of the sharks were nine feet long. The boats were only eight feet long. But what nearly killed them was starvation. Their rations were gone within eight days and they didn't have anything left.
Rickenbacher wrote that even on those rafts, every day they would have a daily afternoon devotional and prayer time. One day after the devotional, Rickenbacher leaned back and put his hat over his eyes and tried to get some sleep. Within a few minutes he felt something on his head. He knew in an instant it was a seagull which had perched on his raft. But he knew that they were hundreds of miles out to sea. Where did this seagull come from? He was also certain that if he didn't get that seagull he would die. Soon all the others on the two boats noticed the seagull. No one spoke, no one moved. Rickenbacher quickly grabbed the seagull and with thanksgiving, they ate the flesh of the bird. They used the intestines for fish bait and survived.
Eddie Rickenbacher never forgot that visitor who came from a foreign place. That sacrificial guest. Every week, he went out on the pier with a bucket of shrimp and said thank you, thank you, thank you.
That's what you and I are called to do in response to God's grace and mercy in Christ.What is expected of us? What is the tribute we are called to bring, to give, to the Lord? Listen to these words from Scripture: [Romans 12:1-2] "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." [Hebrews 13:15-16] "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." What is our tribute? To live for Christ, our dear Redeemer, and dedicate ourselves entirely to him. -- To obey him. -- To confess him. -- To do good to others in his name. Why? Because "the love of Christ constraineth us." That word, "constrains," means literally, "leaves me no choice." Paul is saying, "I have no choice but to respond to the love of Christ with my whole being – to say thank you, thank you, thank you!" When we serve Christ, when we share God's love with others, when we come to church every week to worship him, when we give of our means to support the gospel, we don't do it begrudgingly. We do it with thankful, willing hearts because we really have no choice. It is our tribute! It is our "THANK YOU" to our God. AMEN.