Numbers 15* The law of the meat-offering and the drink-offering Thestranger under the same law. (1-21) The sacrifice for the sin ofignorance. (22-29) The punishment of presumption Thesabbath-breaker stoned. (30-36) The law for fringes on garment.(37-41)1-21 Full instructions are given about the meat-offerings anddrink-offerings. The beginning of this law is very encouraging,When ye come into the land of your habitation which I give untoyou. This was a plain intimation that God would secure thepromised land to their seed. It was requisite, since thesacrifices of acknowledgment were intended as the food of God'stable, that there should be a constant supply of bread, oil, andwine, whatever the flesh-meat was. And the intent of this law isto direct the proportions of the meat-offering anddrink-offering. Natives and strangers are placed on a level inthis as in other like matters. It was a happy forewarning of thecalling 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 notjustify those who might have known their Lord's will, yet did itnot. David prayed to be cleansed from his secret faults, thosesins which he himself was not aware of. Sins committedignorantly, shall be forgiven through Christ the greatSacrifice, who, when he offered up himself once for all upon thecross, seemed to explain one part of the intention of hisoffering, in that prayer, Father, forgive them, for they knownot what they do. It looked favourably upon the Gentiles, thatthis law of atoning for sins of ignorance, is expressly made toextend to those who were strangers to Israel. 30-36 Those are to be reckoned presumptuous sinners, who sindesignedly against God's will and glory. Sins thus committed areexceedingly sinful. He that thus breaks the commandmentreproaches 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 instanceof presumption in the sin of sabbath-breaking is related. Theoffence was gathering sticks on the sabbath day, to make a fire,whereas the people were to bake and seethe what they hadoccasion for, the day before, #Ex 16:23|. This was done as anaffront both to the law and to the Lawgiver. God is jealous forthe honour of his sabbaths, and will not hold him guiltless whoprofanes them, whatever men may do. God intended this punishmentfor a warning to all, to make conscience of keeping holy thesabbath. And we may be assured that no command was ever givenfor the punishment of sin, which, at the judgment day, shall notprove to have come from perfect love and justice. The right ofGod to a day of devotion to himself, will be disputed and deniedonly by such as listen to the pride and unbelief of theirhearts, rather than to the teaching of the Spirit of truth andlife. Wherein consists the difference between him who wasdetected gathering sticks in the wilderness on the day of God,and the man who turns his back upon the blessings of sabbathappointments, and the promises of sabbath mercies, to use histime, his cares, and his soul, in heaping up riches; and wastehis hours, his property, and his strength in sinful pleasure?Wealth may come by the unhallowed effort, but it will not comealone; it will have its awful reward. Sinful pursuits lead toruin. 37-41 The people are ordered by the Lord to make fringes on theborders of their garments. The Jews were distinguished fromtheir neighbours in their dress, as well as in their diet, andthus taught not to be conformed to the way of the heathen inother things. They proclaimed themselves Jews wherever theywere, as not ashamed of God and his law. The fringes were notappointed for trimming and adorning their clothes, but to stirup their minds by way of remembrance, #2Pe 3:1|. If they weretempted to sin, the fringe would warn them not to break God'scommandments. We should use every means of refreshing ourmemories with the truths and precepts of God's word, tostrengthen and quicken our obedience, and arm our minds againsttemptation. Be holy unto your God; cleansed from sin, andsincerely devoted to his service; and that great reason for allthe commandments is again and again repeated, "I am the Lordyour God."
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