Numbers 15

* The law of the meat-offering and the drink-offering The

stranger under the same law. (1-21) The sacrifice for the sin of

ignorance. (22-29) The punishment of presumption The

sabbath-breaker stoned. (30-36) The law for fringes on garment.

(37-41)

1-21 Full instructions are given about the meat-offerings and

drink-offerings. The beginning of this law is very encouraging,

When ye come into the land of your habitation which I give unto

you. This was a plain intimation that God would secure the

promised land to their seed. It was requisite, since the

sacrifices of acknowledgment were intended as the food of God's

table, that there should be a constant supply of bread, oil, and

wine, whatever the flesh-meat was. And the intent of this law is

to direct the proportions of the meat-offering and

drink-offering. Natives and strangers are placed on a level in

this as in other like matters. It was a happy forewarning of the

calling of the Gentiles, and of their admission into the church.

If the law made so little difference between Jew and Gentile,

much less would the gospel, which broke down the partition-wall,

and reconciled both to God.
22-29 Though ignorance will in a degree excuse, it will not

justify those who might have known their Lord's will, yet did it

not. David prayed to be cleansed from his secret faults, those

sins which he himself was not aware of. Sins committed

ignorantly, shall be forgiven through Christ the great

Sacrifice, who, when he offered up himself once for all upon the

cross, seemed to explain one part of the intention of his

offering, in that prayer, Father, forgive them, for they know

not what they do. It looked favourably upon the Gentiles, that

this law of atoning for sins of ignorance, is expressly made to

extend to those who were strangers to Israel.
30-36 Those are to be reckoned presumptuous sinners, who sin

designedly against God's will and glory. Sins thus committed are

exceedingly sinful. He that thus breaks the commandment

reproaches the Lord. He also despises the word of the Lord.

Presumptuous sinners despise it, thinking themselves too great,

too good, and too wise, to be ruled by it. A particular instance

of presumption in the sin of sabbath-breaking is related. The

offence was gathering sticks on the sabbath day, to make a fire,

whereas the people were to bake and seethe what they had

occasion for, the day before, #Ex 16:23|. This was done as an

affront both to the law and to the Lawgiver. God is jealous for

the honour of his sabbaths, and will not hold him guiltless who

profanes them, whatever men may do. God intended this punishment

for a warning to all, to make conscience of keeping holy the

sabbath. And we may be assured that no command was ever given

for the punishment of sin, which, at the judgment day, shall not

prove to have come from perfect love and justice. The right of

God to a day of devotion to himself, will be disputed and denied

only by such as listen to the pride and unbelief of their

hearts, rather than to the teaching of the Spirit of truth and

life. Wherein consists the difference between him who was

detected gathering sticks in the wilderness on the day of God,

and the man who turns his back upon the blessings of sabbath

appointments, and the promises of sabbath mercies, to use his

time, his cares, and his soul, in heaping up riches; and waste

his hours, his property, and his strength in sinful pleasure?

Wealth may come by the unhallowed effort, but it will not come

alone; it will have its awful reward. Sinful pursuits lead to

ruin.
37-41 The people are ordered by the Lord to make fringes on the

borders of their garments. The Jews were distinguished from

their neighbours in their dress, as well as in their diet, and

thus taught not to be conformed to the way of the heathen in

other things. They proclaimed themselves Jews wherever they

were, as not ashamed of God and his law. The fringes were not

appointed for trimming and adorning their clothes, but to stir

up their minds by way of remembrance, #2Pe 3:1|. If they were

tempted to sin, the fringe would warn them not to break God's

commandments. We should use every means of refreshing our

memories with the truths and precepts of God's word, to

strengthen and quicken our obedience, and arm our minds against

temptation. Be holy unto your God; cleansed from sin, and

sincerely devoted to his service; and that great reason for all

the commandments is again and again repeated, "I am the Lord

your God."
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