Exhortation – David Bailey 16/2/18

Flour (bread) and wine is the common language for food (Isa 36:17; Luke 7:33). Food and drink is the basic of life. Both wine and bread needed extensive labour to get food on the table. This was determined in the beginning: “In the sweat of thy face…” (Gen 3:19). In order to preserve life, we have to labour.

The grain is prepared for sowing, then it grows, is cut and threshed, winnowed, and the grains need to be ground into flour for the baking process. Then there is mixing, kneading and finally, baking. For the vineyards, the fields need to be terraced with fences and towers for protection. Frames are made to support the growing vines, then pruning, ripening and finally harvest. The grapes are then trodden and the juice extracted and stored in wineskins. There is a lot of labour to provide for you and your family, so bread and wine are the symbols of life. A man can labour as much as he likes, but there is another essential to this process – God’s blessing. In Psalm 104:13 God waters and man works. In v14,15 bread and wine and oil represent the bounty of God.

The Law provided a way in which our labour (service) is given to God on his table. God has given us everything we have, including life itself. Surely we owe Him everything. God wants our service and the fruits of our labours voluntarily given.

The problem is that we tend to be self-centred creatures devoted to serving self. In Lev 2:1 the meal (grain from Hebrew ‘minchah’) is symbolic of giving to God our own life. If God did not provide earth, seed, sun, rain, there would be no harvest. So we give back to God what He gave to us – life.

There were five ways enumerated in which the meal offering could be presented, five ways in which service could be offered. So there are a variety of ways we can contribute. It was up to the taste of the offeror as to how the offering was presented. God gives us flexibility, but there are compulsory features of offering oil. We must also be motivated by frankincense (prayer) so we need to be conscious of God. Salt of the covenant was used – so this indicates the principle of keeping covenant. But there was no leaven (v11) and no honey (which can be sickly, sugary). The essential ingredient is flour. God can accept nothing less.

What are we doing for God? Do you put God on a self along with all the other things we have to do? What do we do within His ecclesia? Think how far God is prepared to go. He will accept variations (five ways). He requires our best. He does not expect everyone to do the same. Leviticus 2 lists no measurements because this is speaking of voluntary offerings, whereas in Exodus 29 there are measurements in the compulsory offerings of fellowship or vow.

The bigger the animal, the greater the measurement of accompanying wine etc (Numbers 15:1-10). So whatever God gives us, if greater, He expects more. Matthew 25:14 demonstrates this. Each was given according to his ability. God is fair, so it is service according to the individual capacity and ability. We do our best with what God has given us, but there is also a warning – don’t bury your talents.

We need to think about our service. What do we do in our homes, work and in the ecclesia? “I’m not capable” – how did others get to be capable? By getting involved! We need to examine or judge ourselves.

God provides the bread and wine together in His own son, body and blood – his life, himself. And we are invited to eat. Under the Law only priests could eat of this. God has invited us to eat of His food and Christ asks us to share his bounty with others.

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Comments (1)

Thank you, David, I learned a lot from that exhortation by looking up the scriptures, and following your thoughts.

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