Consecration Series: Chosen (Exodus 19:5-6)
Hi guys, I am starting a series on Consecration to mark the 10th anniversary of my blog. I trust that this blog post and the many others that will follow will be a blessing to you. - Eli Sabblah
The simple dictionary definition of consecration is “the action of making or declaring something, typically a church, sacred”. To declare something sacred is to enshrine it as a hallowed thing. Anything sacred isn’t common or ordinary. A sacred temple isn’t a place you can walk into without obtaining permission and/or observing the proper protocols. All throughout scripture, we see God command his children to consecrate themselves or consecrate certain things to him. These are always people or things that he claims ownership of. They belong to the supreme being of the whole universe therefore they cannot be ordinary or like every other created thing.
The theme of consecration can be broken down into so many sub-themes that come together to give a good picture and understanding of what the concept truly means. In this series, I am going to explain these sub-themes and how we can apply them to our lives. The first sub-theme of consecration to be discussed borders on being chosen by God from the lot. To be consecrated is to be chosen. This idea is evident in both the Old and the New Testaments as shown below:
|Old Testament verse: Exodus 13:1-2||New Testament verse: John 15:16|
|The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”||You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.|
From both verses, we see God selecting a certain group of people among the lot. It is very important that we realize that consecration is initiated at the command of God. No man out of his own volition can consecrate himself or declare himself sacred to God without God giving him express instructions as to how to go about it. In the words of Jesus, “you did not choose me, but I chose you…”. In the scriptures, we see two kinds of consecration. I have loosely termed them as Group Consecration and Individual Consecration.
There are special groups of people that God consecrated to himself in both the Old and the New Testaments of the bible. In the Old Testament, we see God ask Moses to consecrate firstborns, the priests, the Levites and in some cases the entire congregation of Israel. Sometimes it is a lifelong commitment, other times it is momentary for a specific activity or event (Numbers 6:5). Take for example the consecration of the Levite tribe of Israel, God told Moses specifically to “take the Levites from among the Israelites and ceremonially cleanse them” (Numbers 8:5). Prior to this, God had consecrated to himself all firstborns of Israel. He did this on the day that he struck the firstborns of Egypt in the last plague. But later on, he consecrated the Levites to himself as a replacement for the firstborns of Israel.
The nation of Israel was consecrated to God among all the nations of the earth as well. God consecrates groups of people. He claims ownership of them by choosing them from among the lot.
In the New Testament, we see groups of people being consecrated to God as well. The apostles were chosen by Jesus and he affirmed this in John 15:16 (posted above). Salvation is a form of consecration as well. On this side of the cross, I believe that salvation is the first experience of consecration that anybody can have. Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”. No one becomes a Christian unless God draws the person. The entire family of believers around the globe has been specially handpicked by God to be conformed to the image of his dear son.
All throughout scripture, God works with and through individuals. He chooses them among a great number of people and uses them to achieve some amazing feats. We will take a look at two such individuals who were chosen even before their birth.
- The first personality we will talk about in this write-up is Samson. Samson’s parents, before his birth, had no child; his mother was barren before his birth. The angel of the LORD appeared to them on two occasions to inform them about the child they were about to have and his assignment on this earth. This is recorded in Judges 13:5, “for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines”. The terms of the Nazirite vow are recorded in detail in Numbers 6:5. It is a vow taken by some individuals who are consecrated to God. Outwardly, one of the major characteristics of such individuals is the locks of their hair: Nazirites do not cut their hair.
- The second bible personality to be discussed is Jeremiah. Similar to Samson’s story, Jeremiah was also chosen by God even before his birth. I intentionally highlighted this fact to emphasize this point, in consecration, God often chooses men who have done nothing to deserve being chosen by him. That is why it is important we understand this through the stories of people God chose before they were born. In Jeremiah 1:5, it says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations”. In the world, people are appointed based on merits: educational qualification, experience etc. But when it comes to God, he chooses his servants in the womb and appoints them for specific assignments. Jeremiah lived the rest of his life as a Prophet to the nations to fulfill this word.
To be consecrated, you are chosen first among the lot, set apart, then told what to do and/or what to desist from. You don’t ‘do’ to become, you are first chosen before you can act on the terms of your specific consecration. You will see that the terms of the consecration of different groups and individuals in scripture are not the same. Compare the consecration of the priests to that of the Nazirites, they are completely different. That is why it is always important to walk closely with God and find out what he expects you, as a believer, to do or desist from to fulfill the terms of your consecration. We have been chosen by God as consecrated individuals, appointed to perform specific tasks on this earth. We must endeavor to fulfill our part of this gracious experience by following the instructions given to us by God, and he will also honor his part.
Feature image by @frankfmx on IG