Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
As I mentioned in my last post, this is the first of a four part series that examines Samuel’s anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and how the text applies to each of us regarding our calling to anoint the next generation for service to God. Our story begins with a clandestine operation to anoint one of Jessie’s sons to replace Saul as King. Anxiety is running high for Samuel and the townspeople. They know if Saul discovers what is about to happen, they all could be executed for treason. We pick up with verses 4-5: “Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.”
Two key components of the ceremony were anointing oil and an animal sacrifice (verses 1-2). The olive oil was spiced with myrrh, cinnamon, cane, and cassia (Exodus 30:23–25). It symbolized the gifts of God to the people and was a sign of election and endowment by the Holy Spirit. Conversely, the animal sacrifice symbolized the gifts of the people to God (our time, energy, and resources) in order to fulfill our commitment to the anointed person. Nevertheless, consecration services, as rich in imagery as they are, accomplish nothing in themselves. They merely point us to the One who was consecrated for service to us, the One who can and will fulfill commitments to the next generation through us.
Matthew tells us that Jesus, the Son of David, came into the world conceived and endowed by the Holy Spirit. As an infant, he received the anointing gifts of gold (kingship), frankincense (priesthood), and myrrh (sacrifice) from the Magi (Matthew 2:11). As an adult, he consecrated himself to sacrificially serve us through baptism and forty days of fasting and testing in the wilderness (Matt 3:13-4:11). Then, at the climax to his ministry, Jesus offered two vital gifts to God’s people. First, he offered his very life to reconcile us to the Father (Luke 23:24). Secondly, with the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit into the world to consecrate us for sacrificial service (John 16:7-14). Why? Because Christ and the Holy Spirit are our only means by which we can sustain sacrificial service to the next generation (John 14:5). If we try to serve them by our own strength and intellect, we will fail them—and they us. So take the first step and consecrate yourself to serve God and those whom he brings across your path!