Young Christians and Consecration
The prophet Samuel was chosen by God to anoint Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David. When Saul came to Samuel his hands were empty. He had failed to find his father’s lost asses, and he was concerned that he had nothing to give the prophet in exchange for a solution of his problem.
When David met Samuel his hands were full. While his older brothers were at the feast to which Samuel had called them in his search for a new king for Israel. David was busy keeping his father’s sheep. And not one of them had been lost, even though a lion and a bear had attacked the flock. David had protected them at the risk of his own life. His hands were certainly full when Samuel anointed him as the Lord’s chosen to rule over Israel.
David’s hands were full when King Saul sent for him to come from tending his father’s sheep to play the harp at court to quiet Saul’s troubled spirit. While shepherding the flock, he had mastered the harp to accompany his psalms of worship and praise.
David’s hands were full when he visited his older brothers in the army of Israel, drawn up in battle array against the Philistines. Obedient to his father, he had came to bring food for them and for their regiment.
David’s hands were full when he went out to meet Goliath and his armour bearer; full with staff, shephard’s bag and five smooth stones, sling, strength, skill, and confidence in God.
David’s hands were habitually full, not, of course, just with things to carry; but he was always busy with some worthwhile task. And whatever he tackled he did thoroughly, because he looked to God for help, whether it was for physical strength, or for skill, or courage, or wisdom, or a right spirit. In one of his Psalms he sings: “By Thee have I run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.”
Do you know what consecration means? It means: filling the hands, filling the hands for God. This was pictured dramatically when the tabernacle was set up in the wilderness and the Aaronic priesthood was installed. According to the commandment of God, Moses, the leader and prophet of Israel, filled the hands of Aaron and his sons with elements of the consecration offering, to be waved before the Lord. This act, with their anointing and other ceremonial actions which you can read about in Leviticus chapter 8, marked them out as consecrated to God for priestly service perpetually.
That was a type, a picture. The Apostle Paul gives us the reality when he writes to the Romans (12:1): “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (or, intelligent) service.” And to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:58): “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” Again, “Whether therefore Ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31).
How can we live consecrated lives today? By doing what our parents tell us to do, even as David cared for his father’s sheep and ran his father’s errands. We can consecrate our studies to God, our eating and drinking, our waking and sleeping, our work and our recreation. Peter doesn’t use the word consecration, but he talks about it in his first letter, when he encourages servants to serve well their bosses, even when they are cruel and hard to get along with: encourages wives to respect and obey their husbands, even if the husbands are unbelievers; encourages husbands to love and honour their wives, and all of us to honour those in authority. Peter says that such attitudes and actions are true sacrifices, acceptable to God. They are far more pleasing to Him than was Aaron in all his priestly robes and solemn dignity, standing before the altar waving the sacrifice of consecration. Truly, whatever we do for God is worship.
When God saw David faithfully caring for his father’s sheep, his heart full of melody as he thought about the wonders of God’s creation and about His goodness to Israel and to David himself, God said: “There is a young man after My own heart. I want him to be the shepherd for My people Israel.”
If our hands are full for God when we are young, no matter how trivial, or menial, or boresome the work may seem to be, we can be sure that He will have larger work for us to do as we grow older. Doing the little jobs faithfully now prepares us for the big duties later. God is looking for consecrated Christians.