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´╗┐Title: Separation and Service - or Thoughts on Numbers VI, VII.
Author: Taylor, James Hudson, 1832-1905
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Separation and Service

OR

THOUGHTS ON

NUMBERS VI, VII.

BY
J. HUDSON TAYLOR.


London
MORGAN & SCOTT, 12, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.C.
CHINA INLAND MISSION, NEWINGTON GREEN, N.



PRINTED BY
WOODFALL AND KINDER, LONG ACRE
LONDON



CONTENTS.


  Separation and Service.

                                                    PAGE
  Introductory                                         7


  PART I.

  SEPARATION TO GOD: Numbers vi, 1-21.

  Institution of the Order of Nazarites               11
  Implicit Obedience                                  13
  Entire Consecration                                 16
  Holiness to the LORD                                19
  Unwitting Defilement                                22
  The Heinousness of Sin                              23
  Cleansing only through Sacrifice                    25
  Acceptance only in CHRIST                           27
  The Presentation of the Nazarites                   33
  The Law of the Offerings                            35
  The Burnt-Offering                                  39
  The Sin and Peace-Offerings                         41


  PART II.

  THE BLESSING OF GOD: Numbers vi, 22-27.

  Why Found Here?                                     44
  The Real Meaning of Blessing                        49
  The Three-fold Benediction                          52
  The Blessing of the FATHER                          53
  The Second Person of the Trinity                    60
  The Blessing of the SON and BRIDEGROOM              63
  The LORD, the SPIRIT                                70
  The Blessing of the HOLY SPIRIT                     73
  Sealing with the Name of GOD                        80


  PART III.

  PRINCELY SERVICE: Numbers vii.

  The Constraint of Love                              89
  GOD'S Delight in Love-gifts                         90
  Free-will Offerings                                 93
  Gladsome Acceptance                                 96
  According to his Service                           101
  The Dedicatory Offerings                           107
  The Display of the Gifts                           109
  The Person of the Offerer                          113
  The Importance of the Altar                        117



Separation and Service.

Numbers vi, vii.


INTRODUCTORY.

For many years these chapters had no special interest to me; but I have
never ceased to be thankful that I was early led to read the Word of GOD
in regular course: it was through this habit that these chapters first
became specially precious to me. I was travelling on a missionary tour
in the province of CHEH-KIANG, and had to pass the night in a very
wicked town. All the inns were dreadful places; and the people seemed to
have their consciences seared, and their hearts sealed against the
Truth. My own heart was oppressed, and could find no relief; and I awoke
the next morning much cast down, and feeling spiritually hungry and
thirsty indeed.

On opening my Bible at the seventh chapter of Numbers, I felt as though
I could not then read that long chapter of repetitions; that I _must_
turn to some chapter that would feed my soul. And yet I was not happy in
leaving my regular portion; so after a little conflict I resolved to
read it, praying to GOD to bless me, even through Numb. vii. I fear
there was not much faith in the prayer; but oh! how abundantly it was
answered, and what a feast GOD gave me! He revealed to me His own great
heart of love, and gave me the key to understand this and the previous
chapter as never before. May GOD make our meditations upon them as
helpful to others as they were then and have ever since continued to be
to myself.

Much is revealed in these chapters in germ which is more fully brought
out in the New Testament. Under the Old Covenant many blessings were
enjoyed in measure and for a season, which in this dispensation are ours
in their fulness and permanence. For instance, the atoning sacrifices of
the seventh month had to be repeated every year; but CHRIST, in offering
Himself once for all, perfected for ever them that are sanctified. The
Psalmist needed to pray, "Take not Thy HOLY SPIRIT from me;" but CHRIST
has given us the COMFORTER to abide with us for ever. In like manner the
Israelite might vow the vow of a Nazarite and separate himself unto GOD
for a season; but it is the privilege of the Christian believer to know
himself as always separated to GOD. Many other lessons, which are
hidden from careless and superficial readers, are suggested by these
chapters, which the HOLY SPIRIT will reveal to prayerful students of His
most precious and most perfect Book.

The portions we have selected consist of first a short chapter, and then
a very long one, which at first sight appears to have no special
connection with it. But on more careful reflection we shall see that the
order of the subjects referred to shows that there is really a natural
and close connection between them. We shall find that Separation to GOD
is followed by Blessing from GOD; and that those who receive large
blessing from Him, in turn render to Him acceptable Service: service in
which GOD takes delight, and which He places in everlasting
remembrance.



PART I.

Separation to GOD.

NUMB. VI. 1-21.


THE INSTITUTION OF THE ORDER OF NAZARITES.

The first twenty-one verses of Numb. vi. give us an account of the
institution and ordinances of the order of Nazarites. And let us note at
the outset that this institution, like every other good and perfect
gift, came from above; that GOD Himself gave this privilege--unasked--to
His people; thereby showing His desire that "whosoever will" of His
people may be brought into closest relationship to Himself.

It was very gracious of GOD to _permit_ His people to become Nazarites.
Israel might have been "a kingdom of priests;" but through their own sin
they had nationally forfeited this privilege, and a special family had
been set apart to the priesthood. GOD, however, still opened the way for
individuals who wished to draw near to Him to do so, and for any period
which their own hearts might dictate.

But it is important to notice that though the vow might only be one of
temporary consecration, yet it involved while it lasted an

  ABSOLUTE ACCEPTANCE

of the will of GOD, even in regard to matters which might appear trivial
and unimportant. So, in the present day, GOD is willing to give to His
people fulness of blessing, but it must be on His own lines. Though we
are not our own, it is, alas! possible to live as though we were;
devotion to GOD is still a voluntary thing; hence the differences of
attainment among Christians. While salvation is a free gift, the
"winning CHRIST" can only be through unreserved consecration and
unquestioning obedience. Nor is this a hardship, but the highest
privilege.

Let us now look into the law of the Nazarite.


IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE: verses 3, 4.

    _"He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall
    drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall
    he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All
    the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the
    vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk."_

The first thing that we note is, that as the obedience of Adam was
tested in the Garden by the prohibition of one tree--a tree pleasant to
look upon, and good for food--so was the obedience of the Nazarite
tested. He was not forbidden to eat poison berries, nor was he merely
required to abstain from the wine and strong drink which might easily
become a snare; fresh grapes and dried raisins were equally prohibited.
It was not that the thing was harmful in itself, but that the doing the
will of GOD, in a matter of seeming indifference, was essential to his
acceptance.

Not less true is this of the Christian Nazarite. Whether he eat or
drink, or whatsoever he do, the will of GOD and not self-indulgence must
be his one aim. Christians often get into perplexity about worldly
allurements by asking, Where is the sin of this, or the danger of that?
There _may_ be danger that the questioner cannot see: Satan's baits
often skilfully conceal a sharp hook; but supposing that the thing be
harmless, it does not follow that it would be pleasing to GOD, or
spiritually helpful.

The fruit of the vine is a type of earth-born pleasures; those who would
enjoy Nazarite nearness to GOD must count His love "better than wine."
To win CHRIST, the Apostle Paul gladly suffered the loss of all things,
and counted them as dross and dung for the excellency of the knowledge
of CHRIST JESUS his LORD. The things he gave up were not bad things, but
good--things that in themselves were gain to him; and CHRIST Himself for
our redemption emptied Himself, and came to seek not His own, but the
will of Him that sent Him.

The highest service demands the greatest sacrifice, but it secures the
fullest blessing and the greatest fruitfulness. CHRIST _could not remain
in His FATHER'S bosom and redeem the world; missionaries cannot win the
heathen and enjoy their home surroundings; nor can they be adequately
sustained without the loving sacrifices of many friends and donors. You,
dear reader, know the MASTER'S choice; what is YOURS? is it to do His
will even if it mean to leave all for Him, to give all to Him?_


ENTIRE CONSECRATION: verse 5.

_"All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come
upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth
himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of
the hair of his head grow."_

We have already seen that GOD tested the obedience of the Nazarite in
the matter of food: pleasing GOD was rather to be chosen than the most
tempting cluster of grapes. But in the foregoing words we find that his
obedience is further tested, and this in a way which to many might prove
a more severe trial. GOD claims the right of determining the personal
appearance of His servant, and directs that separated ones should be
manifestly such. To many minds there is the greatest shrinking from
appearing peculiar; but GOD would often have His people unmistakably
peculiar. We sometimes hear the argument, "all the world" thinks this,
or does that, given as a reason for our doing likewise; but that is an
argument that should have no weight with the Christian, who is commanded
_not_ to be conformed to the world. While we are not to seek to be
peculiar for its own sake, we are not to hesitate to be so when duty to
GOD renders it necessary, or when the privilege of self-denial for the
benefit of others calls for it.

Further, this command again reminded the Nazarite that he was not his
own, but was utterly the LORD'S; that GOD claimed the very hair of his
head. He was not at liberty to cut or trim it as he saw fit, nor to wear
it as long or as short as might be agreeable to himself. So absolute was
GOD'S claim upon him, that not merely while his vow lasted was that hair
to be recognised as GOD'S possession, but when his vow was fulfilled the
whole of it was to be shaved off, and was to be burnt upon the altar.
Like the burnt-offering, it was to be recognised as for GOD'S use alone,
whether or not any utilitarian purpose were accomplished by the
sacrifice.

So now, in the present dispensation, we are told "the very hairs of
your head are all numbered"--so minute is GOD'S care for His people, so
watchful is He over all that affects them. It is beautiful to see the
fond love of a young mother as she passes her fingers through the silken
locks of her darling child--her treasure and her delight; _but she never
counts those hairs_. He only, who is the source of mother-love, does
that! And shall not _we_, who are not our own, but bought with a price,
_gladly_ render to Him _all_ we are and have--every member of our body,
every fibre of our being, every faculty of our mind, all our will-power,
and all our love?


HOLINESS TO THE LORD: verses 6-8.

    _"All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall
    come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his
    father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister,
    when they die; because the consecration of his GOD is upon his
    head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD."_

Here we have a most solemn and important prohibition--to refrain from
all uncleanness caused by contact with death. Death is the wages of sin:
the consecrated one was alike to keep aloof from sin and from its
consequences.

No requirement of GOD'S Word is more clear than the command to honour
and obey our earthly parents; but even for his father or mother a
Nazarite might not _defile_ himself: "he that loveth father or mother
more than ME, is not worthy of ME."

But let no young Christian think lightly of the requirements of parents,
when these do _not_ conflict with GOD'S written Word. Young Christians
are sometimes distressed because their desire to preach the Gospel to
the heathen has been opposed by parents: such should be encouraged to
_thank_ GOD for the obstacle; and to seek by prayer its removal. When
they have learnt to move man through GOD at home, they will be the
better prepared to do the same thing in the mission-field. Where there
is fitness for the work, the way will probably be made plain after a
time of patient waiting.

These verses teach us that mere contact with death is defiling: how vain
then is the imagination of the unconverted that by dead works--the best
efforts of those who are themselves dead in trespasses and sins--they
can render themselves acceptable to GOD! The good works of the unsaved
may indeed benefit their fellow-creatures; but until life in CHRIST has
been received, they cannot please GOD.


UNWITTING DEFILEMENT: verses 9-12.

    _"If any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head
    of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his
    cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. And on the eighth
    day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the
    priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the
    priest shall offer the one for a sin-offering, and the other for a
    burnt-offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned
    by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. And he shall
    consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall
    bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass-offering: but the
    days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was
    defiled."_

A most important truth is here taught--that even unwitting contact with
death might bring sin upon the Nazarite. Sometimes we are tempted to
excuse ourselves, and to forget the absolute sinfulness of sin, apart
altogether from the question of premeditation, or even of consciousness,
_at the time_, on our part. The one who became defiled, _was defiled_,
whether intentionally or not; GOD'S requirement was absolute, and where
not fulfilled the vow was broken; the sin-offering had to be offered,
and the service recommenced.


THE HEINOUSNESS OF SIN.

The teaching here, and that of offerings for sins of ignorance, is much
needed in this day, when there is a dangerous tendency in some quarters
to regard sin as misfortune, and not as guilt. The awful _character_ of
sin is shown to mankind by its _consequences_. Man's heart is so
darkened by the Fall, and by personal sinfulness, that otherwise he
would regard sin as a very small matter. But when we think of all the
pain that men and women have endured since the Creation, of all the
miseries of which this world has been witness, of all the sufferings of
the animal creation, and of the eternal as well as temporal consequences
of sin, we must see that that which has brought such a harvest of misery
into the world is far more awful than sin-blinded men have thought it to
be.

The highest evidence, however, of the terrible character of sin is to be
found at the Cross; that it needed such a sacrifice--the sacrifice of
the SON of GOD--to bring in atonement and everlasting salvation, is
surely the most convincing proof of its heinous character.

Death was brought into the world by sin; and, like all the other
consequences of sin, it is loathsome and defiling. Man seeks to adorn
death; the pageantry of the funeral, the attractiveness of the cemetery,
all show this. The Egyptian sought in vain to make the mortal body
incorruptible by embalming it. But we have to bury our dead out of our
sight, and the believer is taught to look forward to the resurrection.


CLEANSING ONLY THROUGH SACRIFICE.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the accidental death of any one
near the Nazarite--that the thoughtless putting forth of the hand
even--might violate his vow of consecration as truly, if not as
guiltily, as an act of deliberate transgression; in either case all the
previous time was lost, and the period of consecration had to be
recommenced after his cleansing. And that cleansing could only be
brought about through sacrifice; the sin-offering must _die_; the
burnt-offering must _die_; without shedding of blood there could be no
remission. So serious was the effect of transgression--and yet, thank
GOD, it was not irremediable.

The bearing of this on the life of consecration to GOD in the present
day is important. Nearness to GOD calls for tenderness of conscience,
thoughtfulness in service, and implicit obedience. If we become
conscious of the slightest failure, even through inadvertence, let us
not excuse it, but at once humble ourselves before GOD, and confess it,
seeking forgiveness and cleansing on the ground of the accepted
sacrifice of CHRIST. GOD'S Word is, "If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and _to cleanse us_ from all
unrighteousness." This cleansing must be accepted by faith, and a walk
"in the light" be at once resumed. And shall we not reverently ask and
trust the HOLY SPIRIT to guard and keep us from inadvertence, and to
bring to our remembrance those things which we may be in danger of
forgetting?


ACCEPTANCE ONLY IN CHRIST: verses 13-15.

    _"And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his
    separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the
    tabernacle of the congregation; And he shall offer his offering
    unto the LORD, one he-lamb of the first year without blemish for
    a burnt-offering, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without
    blemish for a sin-offering, and one ram without blemish for
    peace-offerings, and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine
    flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed
    with oil, and their meat-offering, and their drink-offerings."_

Having seen the character of the vow of the Nazarite, and of the
ordinances to be observed should the vow be violated, the case of a
Nazarite who has duly fulfilled his vow is next dealt with. He has
carried out all GOD'S requirements, and his conscience is void of
offence: before GOD and man he is blameless. May he not now congratulate
himself, and claim some measure of merit, seeing he has rendered to GOD
an acceptable service, and among men has borne a consistent testimony?
The offerings to be made on the conclusion of his vow give an impressive
answer to this question, and bring out the important difference between
being _blameless_ and being _sinless_. Having fulfilled the ordinances
he was blameless; but the necessity alike for sin-offering, for
burnt-offering, and for peace offering, remind us of the sin of our holy
things; and that not our worst, but our best, is only acceptable to GOD
through the atonement of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

While, however, the best services of the believer can neither give full
satisfaction to his own enlightened conscience, nor be acceptable to GOD
save through JESUS CHRIST, it is very blessed to know how fully all his
needs are met in CHRIST, and how truly he is accepted in Him, and
enabled to give very real joy to GOD our FATHER, which issues in the
bestowal of His richest blessings. Very imperfect--sometimes worse than
useless, is the attempt of a little child to please and serve its
parent; but where the parent sees an effort to do his will, and to give
him pleasure, is not the service gladly accepted, and the parent's
heart greatly rejoiced? Thus it is our privilege to be Nazarites, only
and always Nazarites, and through CHRIST JESUS to give joy and
satisfaction by our imperfect service to our heavenly FATHER. The
following anonymous lines, taken from a leaflet,[A] beautifully
illustrate this thought:--

  I was sitting alone in the twilight,
    With spirit troubled and vexed,
  With thoughts that were morbid and gloomy,
    And faith that was sadly perplexed.

  Some homely work I was doing
    For the child of my love and care;
  Some stitches half-wearily setting
    In the endless need of repair.

  But my thoughts were about "the building,"
    The work some day to be tried;
  And that only the gold and the silver,
    And the precious stones should abide;

  And, remembering my own poor efforts,
    The wretched work I had done,
  And, even when trying most truly,
    The meagre success I had won;

  "It is nothing but wood, hay, and stubble,"
    I said; "it will all be burned--
  This useless fruit of the talents
    One day to be returned;

  "And I have so longed to serve Him,
    And sometimes I _know_ I have tried;
  But I'm sure, when He sees such a building,
    He will never let it abide."

  Just then, as I turned the garment
    That no rent should be left behind,
  My eye caught an odd little bungle
    Of mending and patchwork combined.

  My heart grew suddenly tender,
    And something blinded my eyes,
  With one of those sweet intuitions
    That sometimes makes us so wise.

  Dear child, she wanted to help me;
    I knew 'twas the best she could do;
  But oh, what a botch she had made it--
    The grey mis-matching the blue!

  And yet--can you understand it?
    With a tender smile and a tear,
  And a half-compassionate yearning,
    I felt her grown more dear.

  Then a sweet voice broke the silence,
    And the dear Lord said to me--
  "Art thou tenderer for the little child
    Than I am tender for thee."

  Then straightway I knew His meaning,
    So full of compassion and love;
  And my faith came back to its Refuge,
    Like the glad returning dove.

  For I thought when the Master Builder
    Comes down His temple to view,
  To see what rents must be mended,
    And what must be builded anew;

  Perhaps, as He looks o'er the building,
    He will bring my work to the light,
  And, seeing the marring and bungling,
    And how far it all is from right,

  He will feel as I felt for my darling,
    And will say as I said for her--
  "Dear child, she wanted to help me,
    And love for me was the spur;

  "And, for the real love that was in it,
    The work shall seem perfect as mine;
  And because it was willing service,
    I will crown it with plaudit divine."

  And there, in the deepening twilight,
    I seemed to be clasping a Hand,
  And to feel a great love constraining me,
    Stronger than any command.

  Then I knew, by the thrill of sweetness,
    'Twas the hand of the Blessed One,
  Which would tenderly guide and hold me,
    Till all the labour is done.

  So my thoughts are never more gloomy,
    My faith no longer is dim:
  But my heart is strong and restful,
    And mine eyes are unto HIM.

[A: Published under the title, "The Voice in the Twilight," by Holness,
14, Paternoster Row, 6d. per hundred, post free.]


THE PRESENTATION OF THE NAZARITE.

Let us now look into the law of the Nazarite when the days of his
separation were fulfilled. The first thing that strikes our notice is,
"He shall be brought," not, he shall come. Why is this? and why is it
that the law is so explicit as to every detail of ritual and service,
scarcely leaving any room for voluntary action?--we say _scarcely_,
because in the twenty-first verse there is one little clause, "Beside
that that his hand shall get," which does leave room for additional
tokens of gratitude and love.

The answer seems to be, that the voluntary part of Nazarite service lay
first and chiefly in the surrender to become a Nazarite. In that
position he was not his own, as we have pointed out, and the MASTER whom
he served naturally and consistently directed the service.

Again, does not, "He shall be brought" imply that, Nazarite as he was,
he still needed priestly ministration to present himself, and his
finished service, before the LORD? And our HIGH PRIEST, who is now able
to keep us from falling to the end of our surrendered service, waits to
present us with exceeding joy, "faultless before the presence of His
glory"--"holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight."


THE LAW OF THE OFFERINGS.

When we come to the offerings enumerated in v. 14, we notice that they
are mentioned in the almost invariable _order of enumeration_--first the
burnt-offering, then the sin-offering, and lastly the peace offering;
but when in v. 16 we come to the offering up of the sacrifices, we
notice that _as always_ the sin-offering is the _first to be offered_.

It is somewhat remarkable that the actual order of offering, and the
order of enumeration should not correspond; and it is likewise
noteworthy that the sacrifice which was always offered first, when
offered at all, was _comparatively_ insignificant in point of value, and
much less frequently called for in the services of the Levitical ritual.
For instance, in Numbers xxviii, xxix, the daily offering was a
burnt-offering of a he-lamb morning and evening, with the corresponding
accompaniments of fine flour mingled with oil, and a drink-offering of
wine. On the Sabbath Day an additional burnt-offering of two lambs with
their meat-offering and drink-offering was required. At the time of the
new moon, the additional offering was of two bullocks, one ram, and
seven lambs, with their meat and drink-offerings, for a burnt-offering,
while one he-goat sufficed for a sin-offering. The same offerings were
offered at the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost. On several other
occasions the offerings were nearly of the same proportions; while
during the Feast of Tabernacles the offerings commenced with thirteen
bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs for a burnt-offering to one
he-goat for a sin-offering.

The same disproportion of number and value may be noticed on many
occasions between the sin-offering and the peace offering. A striking
example of this was the sacrifice of peace-offerings made by Solomon on
the dedication of the temple to the number of 22,000 oxen, and 120,000
sheep.

We cannot but see that teaching of the most important character is to be
gathered from these facts; and is it not clear that while the need of
forgiveness and cleansing is never to be lost sight of, it is _not_
intended that a sense of the presence and defilement of sin should be
the prominent feature of the service of GOD? On the great Day of
Atonement Israel's sin was confessed _and put away_; and thenceforward
the daily and the Sabbath worship was that of whole burnt-offering. At
the special festivals a he-goat was sacrificed for sin; but, as we have
seen, the burnt-offerings, which speak of acceptance by, and devotion
to, GOD were the principal features. It is the purpose of GOD that in
the present dispensation His people should have and enjoy _full
assurance_ of salvation through the offering of JESUS CHRIST once for
all; and more than this, should know that He who "died for their
offences, and was raised again for their justification," henceforth
"liveth unto GOD;" _in order_ that His people may likewise "reckon
themselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto GOD, in JESUS
CHRIST our LORD." In JESUS CHRIST there is no condemnation. In JESUS
CHRIST, the law of the SPIRIT of life hath set me "free from the law of
sin and of death." By the will of GOD "we are sanctified, through the
offering of the body of JESUS CHRIST once for all;" and by "that one
offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."


THE BURNT-OFFERING.

To return to the order of enumeration: the burnt-offering is always
mentioned first, because it is the highest in character, and gave most
pleasure to GOD. It was wholly the LORD'S; no part of it was eaten by
the priest who offered it, nor by the offerer who presented it, it was
all and only for GOD'S satisfaction. When Noah offered his
burnt-offering, the LORD smelled a sweet savour, and blessed him and
his posterity. When Abraham in purpose offered up his son Isaac, GOD
said, "By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast
done this thing, ... that in blessing I will bless thee, and in
multiplying I will multiply thy seed; ... and thy seed shall possess the
gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth
be blessed."

The burnt-offering tells us of the perfect and accepted righteousness of
CHRIST, in virtue of which the imperfect believer and his imperfect
service are accepted by GOD. But it also reminds the believer of his
privilege to _surrender himself_ as a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable unto GOD, which is to be the reasonable (intelligent) service
(that is, ritual or worship) of each day and hour.


THE SIN-OFFERING AND THE PEACE-OFFERING.

The sin-offering, as its name indicates, recognized the offerer as
guilty and defiled, but obtaining forgiveness and cleansing through the
death of the victim in his stead. We see CHRIST as our sin-offering in
Isa. liii. 4-10. But guilt removed still leaves the believer needing the
imputed righteousness of CHRIST, and acceptance before GOD, which are
the aspects of CHRIST'S death foreshadowed, as we have seen by the
burnt-offering.

Lastly, the peace-offering--part of which was consumed on the altar,
while part was the portion of the priest, and the remainder furnished a
feast to the offerer and his friends--shows us GODS and man feasting
together on the perfect work of CHRIST. He that sanctifieth and those
who are sanctified, find their full satisfaction in Him, and in Him
alone. He has made peace by the blood of His cross. He has given us His
own peace. We are called to let His peace _rule_ in our hearts. And if
we will but bring our burdens and cares to Him, we are promised that the
peace of GOD shall guard and garrison our hearts and thoughts in CHRIST
JESUS!



PART II.

The Blessing of GOD.

NUMB. VI. 22-27.


We have already seen the grace of GOD making provision that His people,
who had lost the privilege of priestly service, might draw near to Him
by Nazarite separation and consecration. And not as the offence was the
free gift: those who had forfeited the privilege of priestly service
were the males only, but women and even children might be Nazarites;
whosoever desired was free to come, and thus draw near to GOD.

We now come to the concluding verses of Numb. vi, and see in them one of
the fullest forms of benediction to be found in the whole Word of GOD.
The thought naturally arises,


WHY IS IT FOUND HERE?

And the reply is twofold. There is the Divine side. Flowing from GOD'S
heart of love first came the _privilege_ of Nazarite consecration; and
then, by the _act_ of consecration, His loving heart is so gladdened
that it further overflows in these rich benedictions.

Looking, on the other hand, at the human side, we may learn that the
soul which is fully consecrated _always_ receives the blessing of GOD.
Where that blessing is not enjoyed, there is always something unreal or
defective in the consecration. It may be that we have separated
ourselves to carry out _our own will, or thought, or plan of service_,
instead of surrendering ourselves and _our_ will, to learn and to do
_His_ will. But it is real consecration _to GOD_ that puts us into the
position in which He can pour out His richest blessings upon us.

The prodigal was a son of the father all the time; but when he preferred
_his_ will to the will of his father, _his_ way to the way of his
father, _his_ management of his share in the property to his father's
management, it issued but in ruin and misery--in hunger and nakedness
and shame. The fact that he was a son was of no avail to him in the "far
country," in the place of self-will and self-management. But as soon as
he arose, and with true repentance and submission came back to the
father's house, willing to serve, and to do his father's will, he found
himself restored to his father's heart, and to all the privileges of
sonship: the fatted calf was killed, the best robe was put upon him,
once more he had shoes on his feet and a ring on his hand, and joy and
gladness filled the home.

How many Christians there are who, in their self-will and attempted
self-management, find themselves day by day full of sorrow, or full of
care. Trying to keep themselves they are not kept; trying to be happy
they are often unhappy; trying to succeed they fail; and they can but
confess that their life is very different from that ideal life described
in Ps. lxxxix. 15-18:

  "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound:
  They shall walk, O LORD, in the light of Thy countenance.
  In Thy Name shall they rejoice all the day:
  And in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted.
  For Thou art the glory of their strength;
  And in Thy favour our horn shall be exalted.
  For the LORD is our defence;
  And the HOLY ONE of Israel is our KING."

Instead of this many practically know very little of peace "which
passeth all understanding," of joy that is literally "unspeakable";
adjectives far more moderate would be found strong enough to express all
_they_ know of oft-troubled peace and intermittent satisfaction and
happiness. Many there are who fail to see that there can be but one
lord, and that those who do not make GOD _Lord of all_ do not make Him
_Lord at all_. The slightest reservation in our consecration shows that
we hold ourselves _as our own_, and consequently at liberty to give Him
as much or as little as we think fit. If we recognize Him as LORD and
MASTER, we have nothing to withhold, and nothing of our own, for we, and
all we have, are already His. But then, in return, all He has, and all
He is, become ours. Oh! blessed PORTION! Who would not wish henceforth
to have no private property in himself--in his members--in his
possessions--in his family--in his affections; but, in fullest
consecration, to acknowledge and recognize GOD'S right and to be no
longer a robber of GOD?

    _"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto
    his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel
    ... And they shall put My Name upon the children of Israel; and I
    will bless them."_

Here we have the blessing that GOD _delights_ to give to those who have
dedicated themselves and their all to Him. Before considering it in
detail, let us notice, first, how spontaneous and unsought is this
blessing from GOD--the LORD _commanded_ Aaron and his sons to bless
Israel, to put His Name upon them; and declared His own unalterable
purpose, "I _will_ bless them." And then, let us ask ourselves the
question, what is


THE REAL MEANING OF BLESSING?

We frequently use the word so vaguely as to lose much of its
preciousness, and to overlook the primary meaning in some of its
secondary significations. For instance, we use it frequently as a
synonym of praise, and in speaking of blessing GOD, we think of praising
Him. But blessing does not merely mean praise, for GOD blesses us.
Again, sometimes we use it for some gracious gift, as when we speak of
the blessing of peace or of plenty. But blessing does not only signify
gift, for when we bless GOD we do not give to Him peace or plenty.
Blessing is _the moving of the heart towards an object of affection and
complacency_. The out-going of the heart is naturally _accompanied_ by
gift or ascription, as the case may be. When our hearts bless the LORD,
we sing a song of praise to Him for the great love wherewith He hath
loved us; but the blessing is not the song--it is the feeling that
prompts it. When the LORD blesses His people with peace and plenty, it
is His open Heart that moves His loving Hand.

Again, blessing is always accompanied with joy; it _is_ a joy, and it
_gives_ joy, both to the giver and the receiver. A little child playing
with his toys may be both happy and satisfied. But it hears the mother's
footsteps, it sees the mother open the door, and instantly the toys are
dropped and forgotten; the little arms are stretched out, and the
little feet are running to meet the welcome mother. Nor is this all; the
great, motherly arms are as quickly stretched forth towards the child,
and with longer steps the mother hastens to meet the little one, and
clasps it to her bosom, the loving little arms entwining themselves
around her neck.

But whose heart is the more glad? The little one's heart is _full_; and
the mother's heart is also _full_; but her capacity is greater, and so
her joy is deeper. And is not this true of our HEAVENLY FATHER? When His
heart blesses ours, and ours blesses HIM, _we_ are full of joy; but His
heart is infinitely greater than ours, and His joy in His people as far
exceeds all their joy in Him, as the infinite exceeds the finite.

Let us always remember in connection with blessing that the deep
heart-feeling is the primary thought. "Bless the LORD, O my _soul_; and
all that is _within me_, bless His holy Name." The praise of the lip may
be insincere; the blessing of the heart cannot be.


THE THREE-FOLD BENEDICTION: verses 24-26.

    _"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:_

    _"The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto
    thee:_

    _"The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee
    peace."_

We have dwelt upon the meaning of blessing--the moving of the heart
towards an object of affection and complacency, and noticed that this is
naturally accompanied by gift or ascription, as the case may be. When
love overflows, loving words, loving embraces, or loving gifts
instinctively follow.

In the light of the fuller revelation of the New Testament we can
scarcely fail to see in this three-fold benediction the overflow in
blessing of the FATHER, of the SON, and of the SPIRIT; and we may read
it as follows:--

    "JEHOVAH, THE FATHER, BLESS THEE, AND KEEP THEE:

    "JEHOVAH, THE SON, THE BRIDEGROOM, MAKE HIS FACE SHINE UPON THEE,
    AND BE GRACIOUS UNTO THEE:

    "JEHOVAH, THE SPIRIT, LIFT UP HIS COUNTENANCE UPON THEE, AND GIVE
    THEE PEACE."

So read, we see in these words fuller beauty and appropriateness. Let us
now notice the first clause in particular.


THE BLESSING OF THE FATHER.

Considered as a father's blessing could anything be more appropriate
than "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee"? Is not this just what every
loving father seeks to do--to bless and keep his children? He does not
find it an unwelcome task, but his greatest delight. Offer to relieve
him of the responsibility and to adopt his child, and see what his reply
will be! Nor may we confine ourselves to paternal love in thinking of
this subject; but rather take it as parental love, embracing also the
love of the mother, for "Thus saith the LORD, ... As one whom his mother
comforteth, so will I comfort you." We all know how the mother-love
delights to lavish itself on the objects of its care. With a patience
that never tires, and an endurance almost inexhaustible, and a care all
but unlimited, how often has the mother sacrificed her very life for the
welfare of her babe. But strong as is a mother's love, it _may_ fail;
GOD'S love _never_. "Can a woman forget her suckling child that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget,
yet will I not forget thee."

It was one of the objects of our SAVIOUR'S mission to reveal to us that,
in CHRIST JESUS, GOD is also our FATHER. How He delighted in bringing
out this precious truth the Sermon on the Mount bears witness: "Glorify
your Father." "Love ... bless ... do good, that ye may be the children
of your FATHER." Be "perfect, even as your FATHER." "Thy FATHER ...
seeth." "Your FATHER knoweth," etc., etc. And well may our hearts rest
in the thought which so satisfied His heart, that GOD is indeed our
FATHER.

And what a glorious FATHER He is! the source of all true fatherhood and
motherhood. We have often walked in the fields in the early morning, and
have noticed how the rising sun has turned each dewdrop into a
glittering gem; one ray of its own bright light makes a little sun of
each of the million drops that hang from the pendent leaflets and
sparkle everywhere. But it is helpful to remember that the glorious orb
itself contains infinitely more light than all the dewdrops ever did or
ever will reflect. And so of our heavenly FATHER: Himself the great
Source of all that is noble and true, of all that ever has been loving
and trust-worthy--each beautiful trait of each beautiful character is
but the dim reflection of some ray of His own great perfection. And the
sum-total of all human goodness, and tenderness, and love is but as the
dewdrops to the sun. How blessed then to confide in the infinite and
changeless love of such a FATHER--our FATHER in heaven!

How safe too! "There is none like unto the GOD of Jeshurun, who rideth
upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky. The
eternal GOD is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Ofttimes where the love of earthly parents has not failed, yet have they
been powerless to bless and to keep. The cruel tyrant has tortured the
parent in torturing the child; while there has been no power to deliver.
And in the presence of human want or suffering how impotent has the
strongest human love oft proved to be! Not so the love of our heavenly
FATHER: His resources and His power are as inexhaustible as His love;
and they are blest and kept indeed whom He deigns to bless and keep.

May we not add "they only"? The foolish prodigal imagines that he can
secure greater happiness for himself when no longer curbed by his
father's presence and will; such always come to want, and, alas! do not
always return quickly to the home where reconciliation and blessing
alone are to be found. He is poorly kept who tries to keep himself; and
though the pleasures of sin may for a season gratify, they can never
satisfy![B]

"JEHOVAH, the FATHER, bless _thee_, and keep _thee_." It is an
individual blessing: and it includes every form of blessing, temporal as
well as spiritual--"My GOD shall supply all your need"; and this
"according to His riches in glory in CHRIST JESUS," not according to our
consciousness of need. He is _able_ to bless, able to make all grace
abound--to so wonderfully abound towards us, that we always having all
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: He is able to
keep--to keep us from falling, to keep us from all evil. And not only is
He able, but He has already "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in
heavenly things in CHRIST," and He wants us, His children, to know and
to enjoy the love that is the source of all blessing: the love that can
never by finite words express its fulness: the love that eternal ages
will never exhaust!

  "Best of blessings He'll provide us,
  Nought but good shall ere betide us;
  Safe to glory He will guide us,
          Oh, how He loves!"

[B: When we speak of GOD as a FATHER we must not forget that He is only
such in its full meaning to those who have become His children by faith
in CHRIST JESUS; and that the sad and solemn words of the loving Saviour
to the unconverted were, "Ye are of _your_ father, the devil." The
prodigal was a backslider: when furthest from home he could yet think
and speak of the privileges of his father's house.]


THE SECOND PERSON OF THE TRINITY.

The second clause of the blessing is the blessing of the SON, which is
not less full and appropriate. Through eternal ages the SON of GOD, He
became, in the fulness of time, the SON of Man. The Brightness of His
FATHER'S glory, the SUN of Righteousness, He came to manifest, as well
as to speak of, the FATHER'S love. He became the LIGHT of the world, as
well as the LAMB of GOD; but in each aspect doing the will, as well as
the work of GOD, He thus revealed the wondrous love and grace of the
FATHER, and His own perfect Sonship. The FATHER'S will included CHRIST'S
glad reception of all who come to Him, His meeting all their
need--saving, sanctifying, satisfying, keeping, raising up at the last
day--His giving Himself for, and giving Himself to, all those given to
Him of the FATHER.

He is indeed a wonderful Saviour! What light the incarnate WORD of GOD
(Who is Light) has thrown on the written Word of GOD! The law in its
legal requirements He has fulfilled, bringing in everlasting
righteousness, which is imputed to all those who are indeed in Him. He
has also fulfilled the Law in its manifold typical aspects--Himself the
Temple, the Priest, and the Sacrifice; Himself the Altar, the Offerer,
and the Victim; Himself the Lamp, and the Priestly Trimmer of the lamps
(as He is also the whole Vine, and yet the Life of each individual
branch of the Vine). Time would fail us to enumerate the various objects
and acts of typical service which were all fulfilled in Him. He too is
the BRIDEGROOM, from whose wounded side the Bride is being formed; and
He is waiting for His Bride, who will soon be caught up to meet Him in
the air. The true SOLOMON is He whose glory we shall share, and not only
so, but whose presence will be the ever-satisfying portion of His chosen
Bride.

  The Bride eyes not her garment, but her loved Bridegroom's face;
  I shall not gaze on glory, but on my KING of grace;
  Not on the crown He giveth, but on His pierced hand:
  The LAMB is all the glory of Immanuel's land.

May the HOLY SPIRIT give us more and more to realize the practical
bearing of all that is thus revealed of the glory of the Person, and the
fulness of the work of our SAVIOUR and KING!


THE BLESSING OF THE SON AND BRIDEGROOM.

    JEHOVAH, THE SON, MAKE HIS FACE SHINE UPON THEE, AND BE GRACIOUS
    UNTO THEE.

The first clause of the three-fold blessing told of the going out of the
heart of the invisible FATHER; now, when we come to the blessing of the
SON, we read, "The LORD _make his face shine_ upon thee," or, in other
words, make visibly _manifest_ His favour towards thee. The SON of GOD
is the KINSMAN who has the right to redeem, the FRIEND who sticketh
closer than a brother, the ONE who has come, not only to be the LIGHT of
the world, but in an especial sense to be the LIGHT of His own redeemed
ones.

There was no need in Israel of a kinsman-redeemer in times of
prosperity; but when bereavement and poverty afforded opportunity to
the creditors to seize the possession, then a kind and wealthy
kinsman-redeemer was a blessing indeed. We are reminded of the beautiful
history of Ruth: how sweetly the gracious words of Boaz fell on the ear
of the young stranger, and what blessing that kinsman brought into her
heart and life! The FRIEND that sticketh closer than a brother is
precious at all times, but never so valued as in times of adversity; and
the very expression, "THE LIGHT of the world," tells us of the darkness
that sin has brought in--a darkness, alas! not only around, but also
within. The shining of the face of JEHOVAH, the SON, dispels the
darkness and the gloom, manifests the presence of the FRIEND in need,
and shows us the REDEEMER, who not only delivers, but becomes the
BRIDEGROOM of the soul.

"Make His _face_ shine upon thee." The face is perhaps the most
wonderful part of the wonderful human body. Of all the faces that GOD
has made no two are exactly alike, even when quiescent; and though we do
occasionally meet with those that bear a very close resemblance,
intimate friends, who know the play of the countenance, never mistake.
And why is this? Because GOD has so ordered it, that the face shall
_reveal_ the character and feelings of the individual. And it is the
purpose of GOD that the heart of CHRIST shall be revealed to His people.
That heart might have been full of love, and we might never have known
it; but it is the will of GOD that "the light of the knowledge of the
glory of GOD" should be _revealed_ to us "in the face of JESUS CHRIST."

How well we know in actual life what the light of the countenance means!
How the mother's smile brings light and gladness into the heart of the
child! How the welcoming look of a friend is at once understood! In
Daniel ix. 16, 17, the prophet prays, "O Lord ... I beseech Thee, let
Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city, Jerusalem; ...
and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate." Where
there is the shining of the face we know there is more than forgiveness;
there is favour and complacence. In the thrice-offered prayer of Psalm
lxxx, "Cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be saved," the salvation of
Israel is counted upon as the result; and in Psalm lxvii, we find that
the shining of GOD'S face upon His people is further to issue in His
way being "known upon earth, His saving health among all nations."

It is, however, when we consider Him in the relationship of BRIDEGROOM
and KING that the tenderness and preciousness of this blessing are most
fully seen. A truly royal BRIDEGROOM: "in His favour is life," and to
Him we can approach at all times, without any fear that He will hide His
countenance, or that He will not hold out to us the golden sceptre.
Queen Esther might tremble for the result of her boldness, but our KING
ever welcomes the approach of His Bride.

When her heart cries out, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of His
mouth," He is ever ready to bring her into His chambers; indeed it is
often the BRIDEGROOM who has to allure the Bride,[C] rather than the
Bride who has to seek the favour of the BRIDEGROOM. It is only when she
has treated him with neglect or disobedience that she finds herself in
darkness. And what is not His favour to a loyal and true-hearted Bride!
To a subject, the favour of the KING is "as dew upon the grass," but to
a bride is it not everything? "JEHOVAH, the BRIDEGROOM, make His face
shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee!"

What a wonderful view of the light of His countenance the favoured
disciples must have had, who were witnesses of His transfiguration: we
are told that His face did shine as the sun. To the proto-martyr Stephen
the heavens were opened, and the face of the LORD shone upon him: and
when he saw Him he became so like Him, that his dying utterances
corresponded with those of his LORD on the Cross. When Saul, likewise,
saw the glory of his risen SAVIOUR, on the way to Damascus, the vision
at midday was of a light above the brightness of the sun shining round
about him; and the effect of that heavenly vision changed the whole
current of his life, making him a follower of the CHRIST, who pleased
not Himself, and making the spirit manifested in his first cry, "LORD,
what wilt _Thou_ have me to do?" the spirit of his life ever after. And
so when the LORD makes the light of His countenance to shine upon any of
His people, in the measure in which with unveiled face they discern the
beauty of the LORD, there is a moral and progressive change into His
likeness, the work of the LORD, the SPIRIT.

[C: "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away."--Cant. ii. 10; "Come
with Me from Lebanon, My spouse."--Cant. iv. 8.]


THE LORD, THE SPIRIT.

We have considered the bountiful overflow of the FATHER'S love; and our
hearts have burned within us as we dwelt upon and felt the glow of the
love of the SON. Now, as we think of the blessing of the LORD, the
SPIRIT, may He reveal Himself to us through these holy Words, which were
written by His inspiration and which can never be fully understood and
enjoyed save by His own illumination. The Bible is a supernatural book,
a divine revelation: the HOLY SPIRIT is the supernatural, the divine
GUIDE to its meaning. From the "wise and prudent" its teachings are
hidden;--hence the questionings of some of the learned only confirm its
truth; but to "babes"--to all those, whether learned or unlearned, in
whom the HOLY GHOST has wrought the child-like spirit, it is an opened
book: they love it, and feast upon it, and grow thereby.

It is very important to have clear thoughts about the third person of
the Trinity. Many Christians fail in this respect, and lose much in
consequence. He has as distinct personality as has the SON of GOD; and
we must not think or speak of Him vaguely, as though He were an
influence merely and not a person. Our SAVIOUR teaches us that _we_
should _know_ Him, "for He abideth with you, and shall be in you." But
are there not many of the LORD'S people to whom He is not yet "a living,
bright Reality"?

So important are the presence and the work of the HOLY GHOST, that our
LORD assured His disciples that it was expedient for them that _He_
should go away, in order that the COMFORTER should come. And we see the
mighty change that was wrought in the disciples when the outpouring of
the SPIRIT actually took place at Pentecost. The timid became
courageous; the scattered and persecuted disciples went everywhere
preaching the Word; the HOLY SPIRIT wrought conviction of sin, and
revealed the risen SAVIOUR as the object of faith; and many were added
to the LORD. The same SPIRIT is still present with us; may we too be
filled, and largely used as channels of blessing.


THE BLESSING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    "JEHOVAH, THE SPIRIT, LIFT UP HIS COUNTENANCE UPON THEE, AND GIVE
    THEE PEACE."

The blessing of the SPIRIT is essential to the completeness of the
benediction. We are struck, however, with the similarity of this
blessing to that which precedes it; nor is the similarity surprising.
For, as the SON came to reveal the FATHER, so the SPIRIT has come to
reveal the SON. CHRIST was a true COMFORTER; but His personal work on
earth being finished, He ascended on high to minister for His people as
their HIGH PRIEST in the presence of GOD. The HOLY SPIRIT is the other
COMFORTER, sent by the FATHER in CHRIST'S name, that He might abide with
the Church for ever. CHRIST is the indwelling SAVIOUR: the HOLY SPIRIT
the indwelling COMFORTER. On whomsoever CHRIST makes His face to shine,
the HOLY SPIRIT will surely lift up


HIS COUNTENANCE.

"Lift up His _countenance_ upon thee." We have already dwelt on the
significance of the face or countenance (the same original word) as
revealing the emotions of the heart. We see from these words that it is
the purpose of GOD that the presence and the love of the SPIRIT should
be made known to those in whom He dwells. When He lifts up His
countenance upon us, we walk in conscious security and freedom; but if
the SPIRIT be grieved, the light of His countenance is hidden from us,
and we walk in darkness. And, oh, how dangerous is this walking in
darkness, how surely we shall wander from the way, and fall into some of
the snares of the devil! There is only one safe course, to confess the
sin that has grieved Him, and take no rest till communion is restored:
this may always be done most easily by _immediate_ confession and
turning to Him, who is our Advocate with the FATHER, and whose shed
blood cleanses from all sin. When sin is put away the SPIRIT again lifts
up His countenance upon us, and peace fills the heart.


THE PEACE OF THE SPIRIT.

The LORD JESUS, when on earth, said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I
give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." But here it is the SPIRIT
who is spoken of as bestowing peace: why is this? Because the SPIRIT of
GOD makes real things real to _us_, and enables us practically to enjoy
the blessings procured for us by the death and resurrection and priestly
ministry of the LORD JESUS. Many a believer to whom CHRIST has left
peace, knows little of it; but those who are filled with the SPIRIT are
filled with peace. They have peace with GOD; they have also heart-peace
in the midst of conflict and turmoil; and the peace of GOD, which
passeth all understanding, guards their hearts and thoughts. The fruit
of the SPIRIT is love, joy, peace.

Are _we_ practically enjoying this blessing, and experiencing this peace
which passes all understanding? Are we _finding_ that when He makes
quietness, none can make trouble? And if not, what is the hindrance? Is
there any known sin unconfessed, or not put away? Has wrong been done,
and restitution to the extent of our ability not been made? Is there any
matter in which GOD has a controversy with us? Or are we indulging
ourselves in anything about which we have doubt? Are we withholding
anything from GOD which is His due--ourselves, our property, our
children; or, it may be, our testimony? Or, if none of these things are
hindering us, are we failing to _accept_, by faith, the filling of the
SPIRIT; perhaps only asking, but not receiving also? Is it that we are
neglecting the prayerful study of GOD'S Word, and thus grieving the
SPIRIT by whom it was inspired? Paul asked GOD to give the Ephesian
Christians the SPIRIT of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of
CHRIST, that they might know the hope of His calling and the exceeding
greatness of His power toward them _that believe_. We do well to note
the words "that believe," for unbelief lies at the root of every form of
hindrance.

As the SPIRIT reveals CHRIST, so does CHRIST bestow the SPIRIT; and by
faith in CHRIST and in His Word we appropriate the gift. We shall never
forget the blessing we received through the words, in John iv. 14,
"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him

  SHALL NEVER THIRST,"

nearly thirty years ago. As we realized that CHRIST literally meant what
He said--that "shall" meant shall, and "never" meant never, and "thirst"
meant thirst--our heart overflowed with joy as we accepted the gift.
Oh, the thirst with which we had sat down, but oh, the joy with which we
sprang from our seat, praising the LORD that the thirsting days were all
past, and past for ever! For, as our LORD continues, "the water that I
shall give him shall be _in him_ a well of water, springing
up--overflowing--unto everlasting life." Perhaps, however, we should
draw attention to the words of CHRIST, "whosoever drinketh"; not
drank--once for all--but "drinketh," that is habitually: as in chap.
vii. 38, 39, where, after promising that out of him "shall flow rivers
of living water," it is significally added, "this spake He of the
SPIRIT, which they that believe"--_i.e._, keep believing--should
receive.

Is it not sad that so free a gift should be so little esteemed, so often
neither enjoyed nor sought after? It is intended for _each one_ of
us--"lift up His countenance upon _thee_, and give _thee_ peace." Would
that each reader would accept the gift _now_, and evermore enjoy it, to
the glory of GOD.


SEALING WITH THE NAME OF GOD: verse 27.

    _"And they shall put My Name upon the children of Israel; and I will
    bless them."_

With these words this wonderful chapter closes, and the great object of
GOD in bestowing His blessing upon His people is revealed: "They shall
put _My Name_ upon the children of Israel," or, in other words, shall
cause them not only to become the people of GOD, but also to become
manifestly such.

In olden time names were not meaningless, but were descriptive of
character or relationship. The various names of GOD are all full of
significance, and each is always used designedly in the Bible: failing
to recognize this, learned, but spiritually-ignorant men have imagined
the Old Testament writings to have been mere compilations from the works
of different authors, and have failed to see the beautiful
appropriateness of the various names of GOD as they are used in
different connections.

In the preceding benediction the thrice repeated Name of JEHOVAH has
revealed to us the triune GOD in His gracious relations with His
redeemed people, and has also reminded us that in these relationships He
is the unchanging One, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; for all
this is contained in the Name JEHOVAH. And thus the expression, "They
shall put _My Name_ upon the children of Israel," implies the purpose
of GOD that in His people should be manifested, not only the _beauties_
of His Divine character, but also the _unchanging relationship_ in which
they stand to Him. Israel of old was, and still is, GOD'S witness in the
world. In all their unfaithfulness, their very existence as a separate
people is a standing miracle, witnessing to the truth of prophecy. But
had they been faithful they would have been much more than this; for the
beauty of the LORD their GOD would have been upon them; and receiving
His blessing themselves, they would have become a blessing to the world.
We who are now the children of GOD--Christians upon whom the Name of
CHRIST has been called--are intended to be witnesses for our MASTER, and
to show forth the beauties of Him who has "called us by His own glory
and virtue." (2 Peter i. 3.--R.V.)

There is an interesting parallelism between the passage we are
considering and the commission given by our LORD to His people to
disciple all nations, baptizing them into the _Name_ of the FATHER, the
SON, and the HOLY GHOST. True Christians are _kept_ by the power of GOD
("the LORD bless thee and _keep thee_"), in the grace which is in CHRIST
JESUS ("the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be _gracious unto
thee_"), and receive the illumination of the HOLY GHOST ("the LORD _lift
up His countenance upon thee_"), in order that _they_ may shine as
lights in the world, and become living epistles, known and read of all
men.

It is deeply interesting also to connect the sealing of this passage
with that of Rev. vii and xiv. In the former passage (Rev. vii. 1-3) we
see the powers to whom the plagues are committed restrained until the
sealing of the servants of GOD is completed. The hundred and forty and
four thousand are all sealed--a mystical and symbolical number of the
mystical and symbolical Israel, not of Israel according to the flesh.
For in this book of Revelation the LAMB does not mean an animal, but the
LAMB of GOD. The beast does not mean a literal wild beast, but the
spiritual wild beast who destroys the children of GOD. So the twelve
thousand of the tribe of Judah refers to the praising ones of CHRIST'S
fold; the sealed of Asher to the happy ones, who bless the LORD at all
times; those of Naphtali, to those satisfied with favour, full with the
blessing of the LORD; those of Reuben, to the once unstable as water,
but now fully saved ones; &c., &c.

In Rev. xiii we find the great tribulation in progress, and those still
left on the earth persecuted sorely, many of them to the death, by the
beast. But the hundred forty and four thousand of Rev. xiv are not among
them; they were caught up before the tribulation commenced, having been
accounted worthy (Luke xxi. 34-36), to escape the things coming on the
earth, and to stand before the SON of MAN. Such are not only virgins,
undefiled by spiritual adultery with the world, but also wise ones,
filled with the SPIRIT: they are not only waiting for the coming of the
Bridegroom, but ready for that coming; whereas the unwise have to go and
buy oil, and so miss their opportunity. In Rev. xiv we see that GOD'S
Name is written on the foreheads of these wise virgins, and that in
their mouths is a song which no one else can sing. They are a
first-fruits Bride united to the first-fruit's Bridegroom, and were
redeemed (not from among the Jews only, but from among men), unto GOD
and the LAMB. Other believers, then in the tribulation, shall join them
later and form the harvest unto GOD (Rev. vii. 14-17), and will come
with the Bridegroom and Bride when our LORD is revealed from heaven in
flaming fire to take vengeance on the ungodly (2 Thess. i, 6-10). The
harvest is not only separated from the first-fruits in Rev. vii and xiv,
but also in Rev. xx. We may read verses 4-6 more clearly if we render
the second clause of verse 4, "I saw also the souls of them, &c.,"
instead of "and I saw, &c." and the last clause, "They also lived and
reigned with CHRIST a thousand years." We thus see the enthroned
Bridegroom and Bride and the harvest, the Body of CHRIST, forming the
first resurrection, and together reigning in glory.

_"And I will bless them."_ A word of encouragement to Aaron and his sons
in pronouncing the blessing, as well as to the people who received it.
The blessing was preceded by GOD'S command ("Speak unto Aaron ... On
this wise ye shall bless"), and followed by the promise quoted above;
even as our SAVIOUR in giving His last commission to disciple all
nations, preceded it by, "All power is given unto Me...: Go ye
therefore;" and followed it by the assurance and promise, "Lo, I am with
you alway." In the word of a King there is power; and when His servants
carry out His commands, our KING is present to authenticate them, and to
ensure the result.



PART III.

Princely Service.

NUMB. VII.


We learned from Numbers vi, GOD'S requirements of those who desire to
take the privileged position of separation to Himself. We found also in
the conclusion of the same chapter the overflow of GOD'S love in the
rich and comprehensive blessing which so appropriately follows, and
forms the connecting link between Nazarite separation and the princely
service set forth in Chap. vii,--one of the longest in the Bible, and
one full of repetition. We now propose to consider more fully why this
service of giving finds such lengthy record.


SERVICE THE CONSTRAINT OF LOVE.

Is it not that just as separation to GOD issues in blessing, so does
blessing from GOD constrain to service, and especially to the highest
form of service, that which is most GOD-like, that of _Giving_? GOD so
loved the world that He _gave_; CHRIST so loved the Church that He
_gave_; the HOLY SPIRIT so loves the Church that He _gives_; and
redeemed ones, created anew in CHRIST JESUS unto good works, when led by
the SPIRIT, first _give_ themselves unto GOD, and then delight in such
other free-will offerings as the LORD may enable them to present. This
we believe is the reason why the chapter is found here, and is the true
connection between its subject-matter and that of the preceding one.

But why is it so long, so repetitious, and so tedious? The Bible is a
wonderful book; it not only gives the history of the past, and guidance
for the present, but in prophecy we have the history of ages yet to
come--the course of events until the grand climax when GOD shall be all
in all. Why, in a book so marvellous in its comprehensiveness, is so
much space given to this record?


GOD'S DELIGHT IN LOVE-GIFTS.

Is it not in order to reveal the heart of GOD? to show His delight in
the loving offerings of His servants? The record is _not_ tedious to
Him; and it becomes marvellously interesting to us, when we get the key,
and are brought into sympathy with the heart of Him who finds infinite
satisfaction in each gift, of each one of His children, which is the
outcome of gratitude and love.

In the days of our LORD'S life on earth, when the shadow of the cross
was already upon Him, one only amongst all His followers--a woman,
Mary--had understood and really taken in His repeated declaration of the
sufferings that awaited Him; and when she came to anoint Him beforehand
for the burial, and broke the precious alabaster box _she had reserved
for this very purpose_, the thief who kept the bag had only angry words
of criticism and reproach. How sweet to her wounded spirit was her
MASTER'S commendation, "She hath done what she could!" And He added,
"Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world,
this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."

On an earlier occasion, likewise, as He sat over against the treasury,
many that were rich cast in large sums of silver and of gold, but He
turned from them and their gifts to draw attention to a certain poor
widow who brought two mites and cast them in. She had gladdened the
heart of Him who was the Creator of all wealth, and the real Owner of it
all. She, said He, had given more than they all: for she _of her want_
had given _all_ that she had! And of her, as of Mary, it is true that in
whatsoever language the Word of GOD is translated, in whatsoever clime
it is read, the MASTER'S commendation is made known.

There is a day coming, in which before assembled worlds He will make
manifest the loving gifts and the secret service of His redeemed ones.
Then we shall not weary as they are recounted and rewarded; and as we
see His joy in them all, we shall better understand the length of
Numbers vii.


FREE-WILL OFFERINGS: verses 1, 2.

    _"And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the
    tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it ... and all the
    vessels thereof, ... that the princes of Israel, heads of the house
    of their fathers, ... offered."_

When the LORD gave the plan of the tabernacle and of the vessels, He
likewise gave to the people willing hearts to offer, and skill to
execute. There was no need to press them; the workers and contributors
were those whose heart stirred them up, and whose spirit was made
willing. The people brought more than enough for the service of the
work, and Moses had to make proclamation throughout the camp to
restrain them from bringing more.

Is there not a lesson to be learnt here? Let the work only be one of
GOD'S planning, and executed according to His mind, and the hearts that
are in sympathy with Him will gladly respond with suitable and abundant
offerings. For is not the willingness to give as much a part of His
working as the skill to use that which is given? Then, in the givers and
in their gifts, in the workers and in their work, the Divine heart finds
infinite complacency. "For of Him," as the great Designer, "and through
Him," as the effectual Power for the carrying out of His purposes, "and
to Him," as the real Object of all service, "are all things: to whom be
the glory for ever. Amen."

But divine service requires not only initiating, but also maintaining
worthily of GOD. It was not sufficient that the tabernacle and the
vessels of ministry were according to the divine pattern, both as to
material and workmanship, and that they were made by divinely qualified
workmen; but when all was completed and fully set up, both the
tabernacle and the vessels needed anointing and sanctifying; and _when
that was done_ the offerings needed to carry on the service could not
but be freely poured in. In like manner in all life and work, individual
or organised, only let GOD have His right place, and let there be _the
anointing_ of the HOLY GHOST, received by faith, as well as consecration
to Him, and everything will follow, as needful, for the carrying out of
GOD'S plan in the life or work.


GLADSOME ACCEPTANCE: verses 3-5.

    _"And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered
    wagons, and twelve oxen; ... and the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
    Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the
    tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shall give them unto the
    Levites, to every man according to his service."_

It is interesting to note that the first offerings recorded were for the
purpose of assisting in the moving of the tabernacle; it was not GOD'S
purpose that it should be stationary. Nor is GOD'S work ever intended to
be stationary, but always advancing.

The offerings themselves were remarkable: rude bullock-wagons, probably
rough both in material and workmanship, much like those we now are
familiar with in the unchanging East; they must have presented a
striking contrast to the beauty of the skilfully prepared vessels of
ministry. We may well imagine the thought to have passed through the
mind of Moses, Can such rude offerings be acceptable to the glorious
GOD? But GOD Himself dispels all doubt, by saying, "Take it of them."

GOD is not hard to please, nor is true human love, for it is a dim
reflection of His own. We do not estimate our love-gifts by their
intrinsic value, but rather by the love they express. Well do we
remember a little incident which occurred some twenty-four years ago,
and which illustrates this truth.

My little daughter, then about five years old, came to me on the morning
of my birthday with a curious little birthday gift in her hand,--"Papa,
I haven't bought you a birthday present," said she; "I thought you would
rather have something I made myself." How my heart went out to the
little darling, and how glad I was that she should think that something
she could make would be more precious to me than any purchased gift! But
what the curious little gift could be intended for I was quite at a loss
to divine, and I engaged her in conversation, hoping she might let some
clue slip that would help me to find out for what she meant it, for I
feared she would be disappointed if I did not recognize it. The little
pet had found a small piece of wood, and had bored a hole in it with her
scissors, in which she had inserted a peg, and on the top had hung half
a cockle-shell--certainly an uncommon birthday present!

At last, unable to guess what it was supposed to be, I took my dear
child on my knee, and, kissing her, said, "Papa is so pleased to have a
birthday present of your own making; what is it my darling has made for
me?" "Why, don't you know, papa? I thought you would like best a ship to
take you to China!"

The dear child was right; probably no gift I ever received gave more
pleasure, or was as carefully treasured, and as often thought of. When
that dear child had become old enough to engage in missionary work in
China herself, and was able to introduce me to the first two Chinese
women whom she had brought to CHRIST, I remembered the little ship; and
when the women were gone reminded her about it, and told her that the
joy of finding her now used of GOD in the blessed work itself was a
greater joy than her gift had been. She was surprised that I should
remember it; but it had never passed from my memory, and the
recollection of it is a pleasure still. It is not hard to please those
who love us.[D]

GOD _wants our love_; "My son, give Me thine heart." He wants our
_sympathy_; He wants the gifts and offerings that are prompted by
_love_. Shall He look to us in vain? Our David still thirsts, not for
the waters of the well of Bethlehem, but for the souls for which He
died. Shall He not have them? He specially needs willing, skilful young
men, ready to break through the enemy's camp to deliver the captives of
the mighty one. Who that can will go? Who that cannot go at present will
help others to go?

[D: While preparing these sheets for the press we learn from a telegram
that He whom my dear daughter had served in China since 1885, has called
her (and her baby of sixteen months) from her husband, the Rev. J. J.
Coulthard, and three surviving children, to the eternal home above.]


ACCORDING TO HIS SERVICE: verses 5-9.

    _"Thou shall give them unto the Levites, to every man according to
    his service. And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them
    unto the Levites. Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of
    Gershon, according to their service, and four wagons and eight oxen
    he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under
    the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But unto the sons
    of Kohath he gave none; because the service of the sanctuary
    belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their
    shoulders."_

The princes brought their offering to the LORD, and the LORD accepted
it. Having accepted it Himself it was His to give to whom He would; and
He chose to give it to the Levites, for they in a special manner were
His, and devoted to His service.

The tribe of Levi was in one sense the poorest in Israel. In dividing
the land among the tribes, no territory was allotted to them. They will
have territory by-and-by, when the LORD comes (_see_ Ezek. xlviii.
12-14), but never have they had any yet. Cities to dwell in, and
suburbs, were given them here and there, in all the tribes of Israel,
but of earthly portion that was all.

And yet they were the richest tribe in Israel, for the LORD Himself was
their inheritance. When one of the other tribes was taken into
captivity, he had to leave his inheritance behind; but the godly Levite
was as rich in Babylon as in Palestine: death itself could not rob him
of his portion. Happy indeed are they who share the Levite's lot! When
the LORD JESUS comes again, those, surely, who have stored most in
heaven, and have least to leave behind on earth, will render their
account with the greatest joy.

_"To every man according to his service."_ The LORD did not say, divide
it equally among the families of Levi. There were six wagons, and three
families of Levites; but four wagons were given to Merari, two to
Gershon, "but unto the sons of Kohath he gave none." At first sight this
division appears unfair; but it was and still is the LORD'S plan to give
"to every man according to his service." It fell to the lot of Merari to
carry the heaviest materials of the tabernacle; the boards, the bars,
and the pillars with their heavy sockets of solid silver,[E] and all the
instruments; the pillars of the court, likewise, with their brazen
sockets and pins, and their cords,--these formed Merari's weighty
burden.

[E: Weighing more than one cwt. each: the hundred sockets therefore
alone weighing over five tons of pure silver.]

The duty of Gershon was to convey the curtains, hangings, coverings and
cords of the tabernacle, and the hangings of the court; for this
service, two wagons were as sufficient help as the four were for Merari.

But what of Kohath? His burdens were not light: the ark, with its
covering the mercy-seat, and the cherubim of gold overshadowing it, the
table and the candlestick, the altars and the vessels of the sanctuary,
and all their coverings, these were entrusted to his sons. Heavy they
were indeed, but no help had they, "because the service of the sanctuary
belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders."

Sometimes the children of GOD are tempted to murmur when their service
seems heavy and but little help is forthcoming: they may perhaps compare
their lot with that of others for whom larger provision has been made.
But GOD makes no mistakes; according to their service He divides the
help, and those who are called to the holiest service are those who can
have least assistance. Such are privileged to carry upon their own
shoulders sacred burdens that may not be shared with less privileged
ones. There was ONE Who trod the winepress alone, and of the people
there was none with Him; and one who was very like to his MASTER tells
us, "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me....
Notwithstanding the LORD stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me
the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might
hear." Those who would be near the MASTER in the glory must here drink
the cup of sorrow with Him and be baptized with His baptism.

The burden-bearing of the Levites was not to last for ever: once in the
Promised Land that service ceased. Nor will our opportunity of
burden-bearing be for long; the glorious appearing of our great GOD and
SAVIOUR will soon summons the watchful and waiting ones to meet Him in
the air. A million a month in China are dying without GOD; now we may
seek to win them; now we may suffer to win them. May none of us lose the
opportunity of self-denial and service while it lasts!

  "'A little while'--He'll come again!
    Let us the precious hours redeem;
  Our greatest grief to give Him pain,
    Our joy to serve and follow Him.
  Watching and ready may we be,
  As those who long their LORD to see.

  'A little while'--'twill soon be past!
    Why should we shun the shame and cross?
  Oh! let us in His footsteps haste,
    Counting for Him all else but loss.
  Oh! how will recompense His smile
  The sufferings of this 'little while.'"


THE DEDICATORY OFFERINGS: verses 10, 11.

    _"And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day
    that it was anointed.... And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall
    offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of
    the altar."_

The offerings recorded in the early verses of this chapter were given in
connection with the setting up of the Tabernacle, and had reference to
its transportation. But the offerings now to be considered had reference
to the altar, and the sacrifices to be offered thereon. Their number,
their character, and their value are full of significance; and the
space accorded to their record by GOD shows the Divine estimation of the
altar, and of those gifts which pertain to sacrifice to Him.

The altar points us to our incarnate SAVIOUR, the CHRIST of GOD, and
reminds us that _without shedding of blood there is no remission of
sin_. The altar sanctified the gift; the fire on the altar first came
down from heaven; all fire that did not come from the altar was strange
fire, and could only bring death to the offerer when used in worship, as
in the case of Nadab and Abihu.

Do we not need to remember this in the present day, when false teachers
deny the atoning character of the death of CHRIST, and vainly imagine
that GOD can be served with the unhallowed fires of fleshly activity?


THE DISPLAY OF THE GIFTS.

The twelve princes, the representatives of the Israel of GOD, brought
their offerings before the altar, and would have left them there: they
were all exactly alike, and the gifts might have been speedily accepted,
and briefly recorded, if recorded at all. But the LORD said unto Moses,
They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day,--or, literally,
_one prince a day_, a sentence which is expressed twice in the Original,
showing GOD'S regard for order and method in all things which concern
His service, and that He graciously receives and remembers the offerings
of each of His faithful. Accordingly all the offerings of each of the
princes are here registered by the HOLY SPIRIT in GOD'S Book, as an
encouragement to Christian liberality in all ages" (_Wordsworth_).

Does it not seem as though the Divine delight in the offering of His
servants was so great that He would have His people also to dwell upon
them for twelve consecutive days? And not only does He spread them over
twelve days, but He spreads them over seventy-seven long verses in this
long chapter; first in minute detail, according as much space to the
gifts of the last offerer as to those of the first, and then totalling
up the aggregate amount, as though He would say, "Behold the love-gifts
of my people! How many and how precious the offerings of each, and how
great the value of the whole! Note, too, the persons of the offerers,
and that all their gifts were for the dedication of the altar, and show
their appreciation of the need for, and the blessed privilege of
sacrifice!"

As we mentioned in our introductory chapter, it was through this
account, read in a time of great spiritual need, that our mind was
opened as never before to see GOD'S great heart of love. We seemed to be
reminded of the delight often taken by bride and bridegroom in spreading
out for inspection the love-gifts of their friends, that as many as
possible may share their gratification in them. Several may have sent
similar gifts; but each is set out to the best possible advantage, with
the name of the giver attached. And while the intrinsic value of each is
not lost sight of, it is the loving thought of which it is the
expression that is most prized.

Again, we were reminded of the way in which, in our frequent absence
from home and children, wifely letters have cheered and interested us,
depicting with motherly tenderness the gifts the children had brought
her on her birthday, or other occasion, with a fulness of detail that
showed alike the pleasure of the writer and her consciousness of the
enjoyment with which the account would be read. Does not the full detail
of this chapter reveal, in like manner, the love and tenderness of Him
whose Book it is, toward each offerer; and bring out what we may
reverently call the mother-side of GOD'S character, Who has condescended
to say, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you"?


THE PERSON OF THE OFFERER. verses 12-17.

    _"And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son
    of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:" etc._

As we read of the offerings of the twelve princes, we note that,
valuable as they manifestly are, the offerer whose love prompted the
gifts, is made more prominent in the inspired Record. The person of each
offerer is brought before us, both as an individual, and in his
relationship to the tribe of which he is the representative, before any
enumeration is made of his gifts; and when the enumeration has been
fully given, we are again reminded of the offerer himself. Could the
Divine love and satisfaction be more expressively brought out?

With this thought in view, let us read between the lines of the
Record:--

And he that offered his offering--for a glad free-will offering it
was--on the first day was Nahshon, Nahshon the son of Amminadab, Nahshon
the prince of the tribe of Judah; and his offering was one charger--a
silver charger, and a weighty one; the weight thereof was a hundred and
thirty shekels: one bowl, also of silver, of seventy shekels weight; not
the light shekels of commerce, but the weighty shekels of the Sanctuary.
Nor were these vessels empty: both of them were full--full of flour,
fine flour, and mingled with oil, destined for a meat-offering.

One spoon was the next gift, yet more precious, a spoon of solid gold,
of no less than ten shekels weight. It, too, was full--full of incense.

Next were brought one young bullock, one ram, and one lamb of the first
year--all for a burnt-offering. Any one of these might have been
offered; Nahshon, however, brought them all, and all to be wholly
consumed on the altar, for the enjoyment and satisfaction of GOD alone.

But Nahshon was a sinner, and the tribe he represented were sinful men;
a sin-offering therefore was not neglected; and in the order of
enumeration this is next mentioned, though, as we have said before, it
was offered first--one kid of the goats for a sin-offering.

And, lastly, a princely offering for a sacrifice of peace-offerings; two
oxen, five rams, five he-goats, five lambs of the first year--sacrifices
on which GOD feasted, as it were, together with His people, and in which
the sacrificing priest, the offerer and all his friends had their full
share.

And this, all this, was the offering of Nahshon, Nahshon the son of
Amminadab.

Twelve times is all this detail repeated--a most emphatic evidence that
GOD never wearies in noting the service of each one of His people. But
even this is not all. In the 84th and following verses of this long
chapter we read:--

"This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed,
by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver
bowls, twelve spoons of gold. Each charger of silver weighing a hundred
and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed
two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the
Sanctuary. The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing
twelve shekels apiece, after the shekel of the Sanctuary; all the gold
of the spoons was a hundred and twenty shekels.

"All the oxen for the burnt-offering were twelve bullocks, the rams
twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat-offering;
and the kids of the goats for sin-offering twelve. And all the oxen for
the sacrifice of the peace-offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the
rams sixty, the he-goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty.

"This"--_all this_--"was the dedication of the altar, after that it was
anointed."


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ALTAR.

In this glad summing up of the great aggregate value of the offerings,
we not only get a further view of the Divine complacency in the
love-gifts of His people, and in the persons of the offerers, but the
object of the offerings is also brought into special prominence. As the
list of each prince's offerings was preceded and followed by reference
to the _person_ of the offerer, so the list of totals is preceded and
followed by the thought, This was the dedication of the altar in the day
when it was anointed.

The importance of the brazen altar can scarcely be exaggerated. The
Tabernacle contained many precious things, each typifying most important
truths concerning our LORD and His ministry; the ark on which rested the
Shekinah, which enshrined the tables of the law, and was covered by the
mercy-seat, the table of shew-bread, the candlestick of gold, and the
golden altar were all most precious; but, apart from the brazen altar,
_there was no access to them for guilty man_; without shedding of
blood there is no remission of sin. Hence the recognition by the princes
of the importance of the altar; and hence the Divine emphasis placed
upon those gifts--an emphasis wholly without parallel in the sacred
Records. To the godly Israelite the brazen altar typified that which was
fulfilled at the Cross, and well may we exclaim: "GOD forbid that I
should glory, save in the Cross of our LORD JESUS CHRIST" (Gal. vi. 14).

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking back over the two chapters on which we have been dwelling we see
in them a marvellous revelation of Divine love--even in Mosaic times.
First, an unrestricted invitation to draw near to GOD; woman or man, of
any tribe--whosoever will--may come and be wholly separated unto the
LORD--but only in GOD'S way. We learn, too, that in such consecration
there is no merit on which man may rest, or in which he may boast; we
are at best unprofitable servants, accepted only in the BELOVED,
complete only in Him. Yet such consecration gives joy to GOD, and opens
the way to wonderful revelations of blessing; blessing which when
enjoyed constrains to service, to gift, to recognition of the
preciousness of the Altar, of the Cross--a service in which GOD Himself
finds delight, and on which He never wearies to dwell.

May GOD make our meditations very practical; and may we "thus judge,
that if ONE died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all,
that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but
unto Him which died for them and rose again,"--or, as we may better
read it, "unto Him which died and rose again for them."

Are we really thus living? GOD knows: eternity will show: what answer
does conscience give now? What conclusions do our brothers, sisters,
children, friends draw from our lives? Our true self-denial,
self-emptying, and giving for CHRIST'S cause practically show _our_ real
estimate of the value of the Cross of CHRIST, our real love for the
CHRIST who was crucified for us.


THE END.


    +------------------------------------------------+
    |Transcriber's Note:                             |
    |                                                |
    |Mismatched and inconsistent punctuation has been|
    |retained as it appears in the original book.    |
    +------------------------------------------------+





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