DIFFERENT SIZES OF THE BURNT OFFERING
The second point is that the burnt offering is in different sizes. There is the bullock which is quite large, the sheep and the goats which are smaller, and then eventually the turtledove or young pigeon which is the smallest. Christ in Himself is always the same. He is unlimitedly great, but He differs in our experience. Sometimes in our experience He is a bullock, and sometimes He is just a little pigeon. Then sometimes He is a sheep—something of medium size. In Himself He is always the same, but in our experiences He differs.
What size Christ have you experienced today? Did you experience Him as a bullock or as a pigeon? We must check to see what is the size of the Christ we have experienced and have brought to present to God in the tent of meeting. Deep within we all know just how large the Christ is whom we have experienced. So we need to pray, “Lord, be gracious to us that we may enlarge our experience of Christ and always have a bullock to present to You.”
FOUR MAIN THINGS FOR PRESENTING THE BURNT OFFERING
Third, we must see that to present the burnt offering or even to present all the other offerings, we need four things. We need these four things in order to present the Christ whom we have experienced to God in a proper way. Without them it would be rather difficult for us to present any offerings.
The Unique Place of God’s Choice
The first of the four things is the unique place of God’s choice. In Deuteronomy 12:8-14, Moses told the people of Israel about the place of God’s choice. “Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord: and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: but in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.”
Moses told the people of Israel that when they entered the good land, they should not do things which were right in their own eyes, but not right in the eyes of God. In the wilderness they did whatever was right in their own eyes. That was lawlessness; it was something which could never please God. He tolerated it in the wilderness, but He would not tolerate it in the good land. Then Moses told them that when they entered into the good land, they must present their burnt offerings in the very place of God’s choice. If it was according to their choice, it would again be something which was right in their own eyes. But in the good land, they must do what is right in the eyes of God. The first thing they must do is to bring their offerings to the place of God’s choice.
This means that when we are not living in Christ, not resting in Christ, and not inheriting our portion in Christ, we may act in a loose way according to our choice. But once we are resting in Christ, inheriting Him as our portion, we should not do things according to our eyes, but according to the choice of God. Praise the Lord that we are now in Christ! We are in the good land! Therefore, we should not do anything according to our choice, but according to God’s choice. Thus, for the presenting of the offerings there is the need of a proper place, a place which will keep the unity of the people of God. If the people of Israel had the liberty to choose a place for their worship to God when they went into the good land, it would not be long before they would be divided. Through all the centuries the people of Israel have been kept as one as far as their worship to God is concerned. The unity has been kept by this unique place of worship. The only choice was God’s choice, and God’s choice was their choice.
Today, Christians are too free; they have too many choices. Almost everybody has a certain kind of church according to his or her choice. People say, “I don’t like that kind of meeting,” or “I prefer this kind of meeting.” What is this? This is their choice. We all need to say, “Lord, what is Your choice? Where is the place You have chosen? I do not like my choice. I do not like to do anything that is right in my own eyes, but everything that is right in Your eyes. I do not like to meet according to my taste; I want to meet in the place of Your choice.”
The choices today are too many. You have your taste and I have mine. We all have our own taste; eventually, many tastes cause many divisions. But there is only one proper taste and one proper choice; that is God’s choice of the one unique ground of unity. Do not think that this is a small matter. You may see the enjoyment in our meetings and even taste something of that enjoyment, but do not try to go to your place to copy the same thing. You may have the enjoyment here, but if you go to other places to copy these things, you will immediately lose the enjoyment. This is because you are not in the one unique place chosen by God, that is, the genuine ground of unity. We all need to be on the unique ground of unity. Do not meet with the local church because it suits your taste. Whether you like it or not does not matter. What matters is whether or not God likes it. While you say that you like it tonight, tomorrow you may not like it. We must say that this is God’s choice, and God’s choice is our destiny. It is not a small thing to be in the place of God’s choice on the ground of unity. Hundreds of us can testify that as long as we are on the ground of unity, we are home. We are home because this is God’s choice.
(Christ as the Reality, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)