Leviticus 2:14 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
GREEN EARS OF CORN TO BE OFFERED
Lev 2:14-16. If thou offer a meat-offering of thy first-fruits unto the Lord, thou shalt offer for the meat-offering of thy first-fruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears. And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon. It is a meat-offering. And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof. It is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
AS there was a great variety of offerings under the Law, such as burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, trespass-offerings, sin-offerings, meat-offerings, so was there a variety of those which I have last mentioned—the meat-offerings. Some of these were constantly offered with and upon the burnt-offerings: some of them were offered separately by themselves: and these also were of two different kinds; some of them being ordinary, and appointed on particular occasions; and others of them extraordinary, and altogether optional, and presented only when persons particularly desired to “honour God with their substance.” The ordinary and appointed meat-offerings are spoken of in the beginning of this chapter [Note: Compare –3 with chap. 23:9–14.]: the extraordinary and optional are spoken of in my text. It is to the latter that I would draw your attention at this time. And for the purpose of bringing the ordinance before you in the simplest and most intelligible manner, I will set before you,
Its distinguishing peculiarities—
In some respects this meat-offering agreed with those which were common—
[It consisted of corn: it was accompanied with oil: frankincense also was put upon it. A part of it and of the oil were burnt upon the altar, together with all the frankincense, as a memorial to the Lord: and the remainder of the corn and oil was given to the priests, for their subsistence.
Thus far it was an expression of gratitude to God for the mercies he had begun to impart, and of affiance in him for a complete and final bestowment of the blessings so conferred.]
In other respects it differed from those which were common—
[In the common meat-offerings the corn used was ripe, and ground into flour: but in this the corn was unripe, and incapable of being ground into flour, till a certain process had been used in relation to it. “The ears of corn were” cut when “green:” they were then to be “dried with fire:” and then were they to be offered in the way appointed for common meat-offerings [Note: Compare, 3 with the text.].]
Contenting myself with barely specifying the peculiarities under my first head, I proceed to explain them under my second head; and to mark, in relation to this ordinance,
Its special import—
As far as its observances accorded with those of the common meat-offering, its import was the same—
[Burnt-offerings referred entirely to Christ, and shadowed forth him as dying for the sins of men. But the meat-offerings represented rather the people of Christ gathered out from the world, anointed with the Holy Spirit, and offered up upon God’s altar, as consecrated to his service, and inflamed with holy zeal and love, for the advancement of his glory in the world. In this view the Prophet Isaiah speaks of the whole Gentile world, who shall be consecrated to the Lord in the last day: “They shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord [Note: Isa 66:20.].” (The Mincha, or meat-offering, is that which is here particularly referred to.) To the same effect St. Paul also speaks in the New Testament of this very conversion as actually begun under his ministry: “I am,” says he, “the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost [Note: Rom 15:16.].” Here is not only the same mention of the meat-offering as we observed in the Prophet Isaiah, but a more distinct reference to it as accompanied with oil, and as denoting the sanctification of believers by the gift of the Holy Ghost. This, then, may be considered as marking the import of this ordinance, so far as it agreed with the common meat-offerings.]
But so far as this meat-offering was peculiar, its import was peculiar also—
[We cannot, indeed, speak with the same confidence on this part of our subject as respecting the meat-offerings in general; because the inspired writers of the Old and New Testament are silent respecting it: yet I cannot but feel assured in my own mind, that “the green ears” are intended to denote the younger converts, who by reason of their tender age seem almost incapable of being so dedicated to the Lord. God would have such to be presented to him: and, that their supposed incapacity to serve him might be no discouragement either to them or us, they are ordered to be gathered in, that so they may be prepared for the honour that is to be conferred upon them. Additional pains are to be taken with them, in order to supply by artificial means, as it were, what nature has not yet done for them; and to God are they to be presented, without waiting for that maturity which others at a more advanced period of life have attained. They are not to be desponding in themselves, as though it were not possible for them to find acceptance with God; nor are they to be overlooked by others, as though it were in vain to hope that any converts should be gathered from amongst them. God would have it known, that he is alike willing to receive all; and that he will be glorified in all, “the least as well as the greatest [Note: Jer 31:34.],” in “little children, as well as in young men and fathers [Note: 1Jn 2:12-14.].”]
Having elsewhere explained the different parts of the meat-offering, I forbear to dwell on them [Note: See the Discourse on Lev 2:1-3.], having no intention to speak of that ordinance any further than it is peculiar, and appropriate to the present occasion [Note: Confirmation, or Sunday Schools.]. But, as in that view it is very interesting,
I proceed to point out,
The instruction to be derived from it—
Assuredly it is highly instructive,
[Does it not shew you, that you should present your children to the Lord in early life? Yes; you should dedicate them to him even from the womb. See the examples of Hannah [Note: 1Sa 1:22; 1Sa 1:24; 1Sa 1:28.], and Elizabeth [Note: Luk 1:15.], and Lois, and Eunice [Note: 2Ti 1:5.]: are not these sufficient to guide and encourage you in this important duty? And is it no encouragement to you to be assured by God himself, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it [Note: Pro 22:6.] ?” I say, then, labour with all diligence to promote the spiritual edification of your offspring; and whilst they are yet so green and young as to appear incapable of serving God with intelligence and acceptance, devote them to him, in the hope that, with the oil and frankincense put upon them, they may prove an offering well pleasing to God, and may come up with a sweet savour before him.]
[”The pastor after God’s own heart” will “feed the lambs,” as well as the sheep, of Christ’s flock. And we rejoice in the increased attention that has of late years been paid to the rising generation. But, after all, there is abundant occasion for augmented efforts in their behalf. Even the Apostles themselves had but very inadequate views of their duty in reference to persons in early life. When parents brought their children to Christ that he might bless them, the Apostles, judging that this was an unprofitable wasting of their Master’s time, forbade them. But our blessed Lord was much displeased with them, and said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them [Note: Mar 10:13-16.].” And who can tell what a blessing may attend the efforts of ministers, in reference to young people, even whilst the older and more intelligent reject their word? Certainly the appointment of the ordinance which we have been considering proclaims loudly the duty of ministers, and affords them all the encouragement that their hearts can desire.]
To young people—
[Persons in early life, though taken to God’s house that they may serve the Lord in his instituted ordinances, rarely imagine that they have any personal interest in any part of the service. They think that religion is proper for those only who have attained a certain age; and that it will be time enough for them to serve the Lord, when their understandings are more matured. But the corn cannot be too green, provided only “the ears be full [Note: 4.].” There must be integrity, whatever be the age: for an hypocrite can never find acceptance with God. But as to intellectual capacity, God both can and will supply that to the youngest child in the universe that has a desire to surrender himself up to him: yea, “the things which are hid from the wise and prudent, he will reveal to babes; for so it seemeth good in his sight [Note: Mat 11:25-26.].” Nay more, to those in early life God has given an express promise, a promise made exclusively to them: “They that seek me early shall find me [Note: Pro 8:17.].” Why, then, should young people despond, as though they were incapable of serving God? I have no hesitation in saying, that they are as acceptable an offering as can possibly be presented to the Lord: yea, in some respects God is more glorified in them than in persons at a more adult age; because the power of divine grace is more conspicuous in proportion as it is seen to be independent of man. Nor am I sure that such early monuments of divine grace do not render peculiar service to the Church; because their exhortations and examples are preeminently calculated to affect both the old and young: the old, as putting them to shame; and the young, as shewing them the practicability of God’s service even at their tender age. I say, then, that this ordinance is particularly instructive to the young, and should inspire them with a holy zeal to surrender up themselves to God at the earliest period of their lives.]
[Methinks I see you with your heads erect, and yourselves in all the greenness of early life; and I hear you saying, ‘Leave me to myself; at least leave me till many more suns and showers have brought me to a maturity better suited to your use.’ But no, my young Brethren; I would not leave you another day. God has appointed that the green ears be dried by the fire, and so be fitted for his use: and gladly would I use all possible means to qualify you for the honour to which he calls you: nor can I doubt but that, if you be willing, you shall be accepted of him. And think, I pray you, of the advantage of being consecrated to the Lord in early life: think how many sins you will avoid: think what an advance you may hope to have made in the divine life, whilst others are only beginning their Christian course. Above all, think what an honour it will be to serve the Lord; and what happiness to be regarded by him as his peculiar people. O, let me not speak in vain: but now vie, as it were, with each other, who shall be foremost in this blessed race, and who shall consecrate himself to God at the earliest period of his life. Happy am I to assure you, that the oil and frankincense are ready, and that the fire is already kindled on God’s altar. Only be willing to be the Lord’s, and this very hour shall your offering come up with acceptance before him.]
Those who are more advanced in life—
[If the green ears be sought for the Lord, surely you can have no doubt respecting the proper destination of those that are more matured. Affect, then, the honour which is now offered you, of being the Lord’s. And remember, that, as a part only of the offering was consumed upon the altar, and the rest was given to the priests for their subsistence, so must ye gladly give yourselves to the Lord for the advancement of his glory, and the establishment of his kingdom in the world. It is for this that so many suns have shone upon you, and so many showers have been vouchsafed: and know, that in giving to God, ye give only what ye have received from him; and that, instead of conferring any obligation upon him, the more you do for him, the more you are indebted to him. Yes, know, that if the honour to which we call you were duly appreciated, there is not an ear in the whole field of nature that would not be anxious to attain it. May the meat-offerings, then, this day be multiplied on God’s altar; and his name be increasingly glorified amongst us, for Christ’s sake! Amen and Amen.]
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Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
Charles Simeon (1759 - 1836) was an English evangelical Anglican cleric.
Horae Homileticae reflects the rich source of Biblical understanding of Simeon, a towering figure in the history of evangelical theology.