November 7, 2021
Scripture: And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 1 Samuel 16:2-3 ESV
Observation: Today’s Daily Focus begins a four-part series examining Samuel’s anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and how the text applies to each of us regarding our calling to prepare the next generation for service to God. Our story begins with a covert operation to anoint one of the eight sons of Jesse to replace King Saul. Anxiety is running high for Samuel and the townspeople. They knew that they were placing their lives at risk for the charge of treason. Hence, the elders met Samuel outside the town to inquire whether he had come in peace. Having assured them of his good intentions, Samuel commands them to consecrate themselves and proceeds to consecrate Jesse and his sons (verses 4-5).
The accoutrements for such a ceremony required olive oil and an animal sacrifice (verses 1-2). According to Mosaic law, the oil is enhanced with myrrh, cinnamon, cane, and cassia (Exodus 30:23–25) to symbolize the gifts of God to the people and is a sign of election and endowment by the Holy Spirit. Conversely, the animal sacrifice represents the people’s contribution to God (time, energy, and resources) to fulfill their commitment to the Lord’s appointed leader.
Takeaway: The consecration service, as rich in imagery as it was, accomplished nothing in itself. Israel’s succession of kings would repeatedly fail to fulfill their commitments to God’s people (and vice versa). But in Jesus (whose title, Christ, means anointed), all kingly obligations are perfected and complete.
Matthew tells us that Jesus, an heir 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 of 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 prepare them with our strength and intellect, we will fail them. Our part is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, who will prepare us.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your Son, who accomplished what we could never attain in fulfilling the requirements of anointed kingship and by satisfying our failed commitments to him through the Cross. Would you please help us cooperate with your Holy Spirit to consecrate ourselves in service to the next generation? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling