THE GOSPEL IN LEVITICUS: The Drink Offering
THE DRINK OFFERING"You must also offer one quart of wine as a drink offering." Leviticus 23:13
What a changed scene would earth become, if every heart yielded its throne to Christ! His smile is life. His lips drop grace. His rule is purity and peace. To realize—I am the Lord's—the Lord is mine—is remedy for every care.
That there is true happiness in piety is among the lessons of the Tabernacle-rites. On most occasions wine is outpoured, within these courts; and a Drink offering completes the worship. This seems intended to express, that gladness thrills throughout the soul, which renders homage to a reconciled God.
Eternal Spirit, grant Your revealing rays, that so the Drink offering may shed enlivening savor round!
Reader, begin by viewing well the offering now brought. There is a cup produced. The contents of this are wine. Can faith hear this, and not fly swiftly to the last Paschal-feast? Oh! wondrous sight! The time is fully come for shadows to recede. The mighty substance brightly shines. He, to whom all types point, at this grand moment, takes a cup full of the juice of vine. Ponder His action—feast upon His words. He uplifts thanks, then gives the vessel to His little flock. "This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matt. 26:28.
At this hallowed feast we safely reach one eminence of truth. Wine is here chosen as a Gospel-sign. It henceforth bears divine inscription. It takes its place among the holiest symbols. "This is my blood." Our hands thus find a key, which opens the mystic treasure-house of the Drink offering. The vessel holds the choicest emblem of redeeming grace. We may no more behold it, without the prominent remembrance of blood.
Reader, mark the Drink offering now, and let deep reverence deepen. Its fluid shows that stream from Calvary, which is exceeding preciousness in heaven and earth. Jesus has blood, or else He is not man. Without it, He is no kinsman to our race. He must be man, if He will be man's surety. He must have blood, if He will verily be man. But He assumes it without ceasing to be God. His blood is man's, and yet divine. His blood is God's, and yet human. Mystery of grace! Angels marvel, while they view it. Saints in heaven record its power. Saints on earth plead it, and are saved. My soul, rejoice in it! Love, praise, and use it more. The wine within the cup touches at once these strings of thought.
Next, what is the offerer's act? More is here seen than a cup brought. It is poured out for a sweet savor unto the Lord. Num. 15:7
We thus advance to see Christ pouring forth the blood, which He adopts. Until it flows, remission is not bought. Heb. 9:22. But His blood is not withheld. See in the garden, how it falls in showers. Behold the sufferer on the cross. His brow—His hands—His feet—His side—His heart, weep as an open torrent. Oh! blessed proof of full atonement made! Without this sight the trembling heart can find no peace. But in these drops we read Salvation finished. The trickling stream sends forth its voice; the Son of God thus dies—a death divine is thus endured—the Lamb from all eternity ordained is thus vicariously slain.
Children of men, none perish, because Jesus bowed not the head. Myriads rush hell-ward trampling on His cross. Take heed. The blood is shed, that souls may live. But its neglect is all despair. The outpoured wine thus preaches the atoning death.
We now approach the peculiar instruction from this offerer's cup. Wine is the sign of gladness. It speaks of lively, happy feeling. It is not an unmeaning word, "Wine, which cheers God and man." Judges 9:13. Thus this one symbol connects blood and joy.
We now are led to the delights, which flow from the redeeming cross. It is expansive joy in heaven and earth.
In heaven—because it clears the way for grace to execute its plans. From all eternity, God willed to people heaven with exulting souls. Before man was, salvation was decreed. But mighty barriers interposed. How can they disappear? Sin sank a fathomless abyss. How can sin-fettered spirits pass to heaven? God's council-chamber heard conflicting claims. While mercy wept; stern justice frowned. Truth closed the door, which love would sincerely expand. But Jesus smooths each hindrance. He brings all attributes to one consent. God now beholds His chosen race complete in Christ, all ready for admission to His throne. His heart desires no more. His banished ones are all brought back. His loved ones are all fully saved. He sits a glorious Father, at a crowded table. Each seat is occupied. The chorus lacks no voice. This is the noble triumph of the cross. God is well pleased. The word is true. The Drink offering of redeeming blood cheers God.
And do not angels find their share of joy? Their tender hearts yearn tenderly for man. When but one sinner turns to God, there is loud swell in the celestial song. Luke 15:10. How must the praise roll on, when, one by one, a countless multitude flocks to the cross? This blessedness comes all through Christ. Without His death—without His work—Satan retains his sway. Angels might pity, but they could not help. If they should all consent to die, their suffering would leave man lost. But where they fail, Christ gloriously prevails. He saves fully—wholly—everlastingly—a world of souls. Deep is the rapture, then, when heaven's bright inhabitants shout, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain." O my soul, it will be sweet to hear that song. It will be sweeter to respond, 'Amen!' Thus Christ is heaven's delight.
The Drink offering next shows, that here is man's unfathomable flood of bliss. But where are words to testify the joy of faith? The Spirit pauses, and exclaims, "Unspeakable." 1 Pet. 1:8. What lips, then, will essay to speak it? It is far easier to count earth's flowers, than the rich jewel of this diadem. But gratitude will strive, where power must fail. God Himself is the believer's overflowing cup. The great Creator—the sovereign Lord of all—becomes the portion of the family of faith. At all times there is access to His smile. The weary head may always rest upon a loving breast. When the lips plead, My Father and my God—my God and Father—then the full heart can throb no happier throb.
Jesus is in this cup. He invites us to read all His heart. It is a volume of firm love. He loved before the worlds were made. He loves, when worlds have ceased to be. He loves so largely, that He gladly gives Himself. He loves so fervently, that heaven seems vacant, until the redeemed sit enthroned beside Him. The soul, assured of a saving interest in this love, is on a solid pedestal of joy.
The Holy Spirit is not absent. He is sent forth to bless. He finds the heart dead, cold, vile, profuse with nature's weeds. The eyes now open to discern self's filth, and to adore the beauties of the Lord. Faith springs to being, and bounds rapidly to Christ. It nestles in the willing arms. It washes in the streaming side. Each day now dawns a grand reality of bliss. Life is not life, unless thus Spirit-born, and Spirit-taught, and Spirit-led, and Spirit-fed.
Angels hover round. They count it honor to subserve God's blood-bought flock. They shelter with their ministering wings. They cease not guardian-service, until they escort the liberated spirit in its upward flight. Let them exult, who are surrounded by this host of God.
Heaven super-adds its prospects of delight. It is a purchased home. From all eternity it was prepared. Jesus still works to make each mansion suitable. As flesh and blood cannot inherit: so mortal mind cannot conceive the awaiting bliss. But there are thrones, and crowns, and robes of white, and palms of victory, and songs of triumph. There is the tree of life, and living fountains, and hidden manna, and no more going out. Faith holds the keys of glory's palace. Shall it not pour out the Drink offering of joy?
Providence contributes daily peace. To many eyes this is a misty whirl. All seems confusion, without aim, or cause, or significance. Such thought is vanity's fond dream. No sparrow falls without our Father's hand. Each incident acts out a wise decree. Prosperity awakens praise, and brings God nearer to the view. Adversity shows earth's poor emptiness, and self's dependence, and so deepens filial trust. Wealth gives ability to glorify the Giver. Constricted means endear the heavenly prize. Life is the season to gain grace. Death lands on the eternal shore. Thus all events sow seed of good. Such is faith's Drink offering cup. It holds all this—and more—much more.
Believer, your Gospel-right is joy like this. God opens wide the gate, and calls you to your heritage. No, He commands you to partake. Hark! it is His voice, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." Phil. 4:4. If then your head sinks down, when thus enjoined to lift it up, you scorn the Word, and wrong your soul.
The Drink offering was duly brought by Israel's sons. To have refused, would have been bold rebellion. Is it less evil to go mourning, when God invites to gladness? Would not the angels raise triumphant songs, if Gospel-hopes were placed within their reach? Would they be sad, if called to your estate?
But may not cases be, when joy hangs withered in the Christian hand? It is so, when erring steps stray from the Gospel-path. Joys are luxuriant flowers beside the way of life. But if forbidden ground is sought, the feet are pierced by thorns, and gathering clouds obscure the cheering light. If Satan gain advantage, through prayer checked, or means of grace forsaken, or evil thoughts retained, then gloom and darkness follow.
But there may be return. Child of God, if you have entered evil climate, marvel not, that flowers fade. But still give thanks, that yet you live to mourn. Utter the prayer—which never can go forth in vain—"Restore unto me, the joy of Your Salvation, and uphold me with Your free Spirit." Ps. 51:12.
Reader, you thus see the truth, that joys walk closely by the side of Christ. But they walk only there. We cannot breathe without the air. We cannot see without the light. Fruits ripen not without the sun. The soul is joyless, if it deserts joy's only home.
We see much misery, and hear sad moans. The cause is evident. Christ dwells not in the heart, and therefore sorrow holds it as his own. Learn, that all search for happiness is vain, except in Christ. Apart from Him, God gives it not. He then is a consuming fire. Heaven cannot grant it, for out of Christ there is no channel of conveyance. Some dig for it in the LAW'S mine. Nothing but curse can thence be brought. So, also, SELF is a stream, whence bitter waters flow. The WORLD allures to disappoint. Riches bring cares, and often stretch departing wings. Health, friends, and honors, drop the mask, and show a mocking skeleton.
Who can read this, and turn again to vain pursuits? You, who know Christ, and long to drive distress and anguish from our earth, the means are ready. Use them—use them. Diffuse the knowledge of Christ's saving name. Open a door, that God's word may have freer course. Enlarge the Missionary-band. Convey glad tidings to the lost at home—abroad. Let your one effort be to expel sorrow by admitting Christ.
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