True Worship: Leviticus 1:8-13

Leviticus 1:8‑13  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
We notice that in these instructions as to the burnt offering, the head of the bullock is particularly mentioned. This reminds us of how every thought in the mind of Christ was pleasing to God His Father. We have many wrong thoughts, even though we try to keep the old nature in the place of death, but the Lord Jesus was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:2626For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (Hebrews 7:26)). There was nothing but perfection in all His thoughts. The fat always speaks of the excellence of the animal — the best — and then his inwards and his legs washed in water would remind us of how all the Lord Jesus did, even the very inward motives of His heart, were always according to the “water” of the Word. We sometimes do a right thing in a wrong way or from a wrong motive, but it was never so with the Lord. Everything He thought, said, and did was pleasing to God His Father, and never was it more so than when He “offered Himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:1414How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)). The whole bullock was then burned upon the altar as a sweet savor to the Lord; oh what a sweet savor, infinite in its perfection, arose to God when the Lord Jesus glorified Him about the question of sin.
Different Appreciation of Christ’s Work
This burnt offering was not necessarily a bullock, though this is mentioned first because it is the highest aspect of it. The bullock is the largest clean animal. It might, however, be a sheep or a goat, or even turtledoves or young pigeons. This would remind us of the different measures of our appreciation of the worth of Christ. At best it is in a very feeble way that we do so, but God delights to have our worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:2323But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)), even though we do not lay hold of the preciousness of the work of His Son as we should. Perhaps some older brother or sister who has been carefully walking with God for many years may appreciate Christ in a much greater measure than one who has recently been saved, but God accepts the praise of both, as long as it comes from the heart.
True Worship
In a meeting for praise or worship according to the Word of God, there is perfect liberty for each brother, young or old, to take part. It may be by the giving out of a hymn or perhaps the reading of a scripture or in prayer that we present Christ to God, telling of the loveliness we see in His Person and the perfection of His blessed work. This is what true worship is. It is not a sermon, but the heart speaking out in exalting Christ according to the measure it has learned of Him. How this delights the heart of God our Father who sent Him. We need not try to keep up to someone else, any more than an Israelite should think he must offer a bullock simply because his neighbor did so, but let us keep to our own measure. Our worship is not for the ears of others but for the ear of God who knows our hearts. Of course if we walk with God, our knowledge of Himself and of Christ, His blessed Son, will deepen, as will our note of praise. In an assembly of saints, too, we should remember that we are to speak as the mouthpiece of the whole assembly. We should not just give out some favorite hymn or read some favorite scripture, but rather wait upon the Lord to guide us by His Spirit as to that character of worship suited to the purpose of our coming together. “They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me” (Isaiah 49:2323And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. (Isaiah 49:23)).
For Further Meditation
1. What is worship?
2. When we say thank you to someone, we can do it with a casual “Thank You,” or a big warm hug, shining eyes and a warm “Thank You so much,” followed by a written note later in the week. In what ways might the bullock be a good representation of this second expression of a thank you?
3. The general subject of worship is nicely covered in The Throne and the Altar and What Is True Worship? by C. H. Mackintosh.