G Allan Brown
Exodus 16: 14-15; 31
Leviticus 2: 1-3; 6: 14-16
These scriptures refer to two different kinds of food which the Israelites were given to eat as they journeyed through the wilderness. We read these Old Testament scriptures in the light of the New Testament - in the light of Christianity, and we find that these foods speak to us of the Lord Jesus, food for the believer. It has been said often enough that we are what we eat. I was told when I was young that what you eat today becomes you tomorrow - if that is true in material things it is true in spiritual things too. If we feast on the Lord Jesus we shall become like Him. I read these scriptures at the present time since we are in the presence of the body of a beloved brother who is with the Lord, whose life bore features of the Lord Jesus because he had fed upon Him.
So we begin with the manna; that was the daily food: everyone was to gather the manna and to eat it daily. The first feature of the manna was that it was heavenly. It came down from heaven; it did not grow out of the earth; it owed nothing to the earth. How like the Lord Jesus that was: He was a heavenly Man upon the earth! It is a cause of wonderment to consider that the Creator of the worlds - all the worlds, however many there are - actually came down to this earth. It says of the manna that it lay upon the ground. He actually came here and trod the dusty roads of Palestine and walked in the streets of Jerusalem - the city of the great King, yet unrecognised. He was here, a Man among men, outwardly the same yet heavenly, completely different. This, beloved, is your food - daily food for the believer. It was like coriander seed and it tasted like cake with honey: what these features suggest came out in Jesus, but they came out also in our brother, because he fed on that food daily. I do not know about coriander but the idea of seed would suggest that there was something springing out in life that would be transmitted to others. Sometimes we sing,
Lord in Thee we taste the sweetness
Even in the darkest days of the assembly’s history, we have such precious compositions as:
Jesus! the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast;
Nothing can change the sweetness of the love of Jesus to those who know Him
Let us look now at the oblation we read about in Leviticus. This was food for the priests. Now a priest, as I understand it, is one who thinks first for God, and thence for others. That is the character of this offering; firstly, it was offered up to God, speaking of the perfect humanity of Jesus; then what remained was to be eaten by the priests in a holy place. All believers are priests (1 Pet 2: 9), though not all act in a priestly manner. But our brother was a true priest - he thought for God first in every matter, as a result of feeding on this priestly food. The fine flour speaks of evenness - think of the pathway of the Lord Jesus day by day, meeting every circumstance in divine perfection, walking always in the Father’s favour. Oil was poured upon the offering, speaking to us of the Holy Spirit, and frankincense, speaking of the fragrance of that life to God. Our brother fed on that blessed One; therefore he became like Him.
We are not here to magnify our brother - that is the last thing he would have wanted - but I do believe when the Lord takes a person He would direct our attention to what that person’s life has been, so that we ourselves might develop in features seen in it. I knew our brother closely since childhood, from close to eighty years ago. I never knew him to lose his temper, or get agitated; he was always the same. I say this because there are practical results from feeding on this food. Of course, the Lord Jesus was perfect, and we can only grow in measure. None of us can be perfect while we are down here; yet Paul was able to say, “Be my imitators, even as I also am of Christ”, 1 Cor. 11:1. Now, as you see features of Christ develop in a person, such as in our beloved brother whom the Lord has taken, we learn to feed on the food which he fed on, and therefore become more like the blessed Man of whom these foods speak, the Lord Jesus Christ, the One of whom we sang,
The traits of thy face, Lord,
Once marred through Thy grace,
With joy we shall trace at Thy coming again;
What a day it will be when we see Him face to face!
May the Lord bless the word.
4th April 2016
(At the meeting for the burial of David Pye)