And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat,
in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water:
and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice,
an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
~ Leviticus 1:8-9
The burnt offering was a sweet savor offering. It was not an offering for sin to appease just wrath. It was rather an offering of worship to please God. God also had offerings that were for sin. We see from this that man has a two-fold problem. He owes divine justice for his transgression of the holy law. He also owes the holiness of God to fulfill all righteousness. There is a negative and a positive side. Now the offerings prefigure Christ, the one that was to come. We read in Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Christ did satisfy divine justice, suffering for sin. He also pleased the Father, walking in righteousness.
In particular now, the burnt offering is the object of our attention. And in this offering, certain aspects of the service of Jehovah’s servant can be seen. Let us now note how some of the particulars here are related to service. We are considering the highest grade of the offering, which was a bullock. The ox was a laboring beast and very strong. The picture is of Christ as an untiring servant always working the works of the Father that sent Him. Peter spoke of Christ, saying He “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” He was always busy doing the work. Oftentimes He was so involved in service that He had “no leisure so much as to eat.”
God gave directions for every part of the animal to be used. He mentions the head, the fat, the legs, and the inwards. We see from this that our whole man is to be involved in this service. The head speaks of the intelligence. We must learn and grow if we are to serve God acceptably. The fat speaks of strength, vigor, and vitality. We must put forth an effort and expend our energy. How often was Christ weary and when involved in the work, virtue would go out of Him? The legs speak of our physical body and our walk. Christ went about doing good works. The inwards speak of our heart and soul. Nothing is to be kept back. We must employ all our faculties in God’s service. We read that the entire animal was to be burnt. We are to be consumed in God’s service. It was said of Christ in Psalms 69:9, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” Oh, to spend and be spent should be our aim.
The bullock was also the highest grade of the offering. The ox was much more valuable than a lamb or turtledoves. The ox was a very valuable animal indeed to the owner. Solomon said, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox” (Pr 14:4). To own such an animal was very profitable. In making this offering to God, it wasn’t just a bullock that was required, but the male without blemish. It was the best of the herd. We ought to serve God with the very best that we have. We should spare ourselves no expense in His blessed employment. We should be as the woman that came bearing an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard. It was very precious and she poured it out upon the Savior. Christian, what are you keeping back? What is just too precious to let go? Pour it out upon the Lord. Solomon said, “There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt” (Ec 5:13). Take the best that you have and offer it to God. He deserves no less, and a great deal more.
Lastly, we see that the offering was burnt with fire. The fire is the holiness of God. The service meets with God’s holiness and finds His approval. Our text says, “it is a sweet savour unto the LORD.” Note that it pleases the “Lord.” If you serve the Lord in this manner, giving your all, don’t expect your service to be accepted of men. Sometimes even our brethren will question, “To what purpose is this waste?” The Lord’s own family thought that He was beside himself and tried to take Him home. You may be a fanatic to some. But, never mind that, just keep endeavoring to “do always those things that please him.” He is the righteous judge and is able to keep that which we have committed to Him against that day. Great blessings await those that serve in this manner. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” As the hymn writer said,
But we never can prove, The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.