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Filling the Hand

By F.W. Grant


      "And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands, and waved them for a wave-offering before the Lord. And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt-offering; they were consecrations for a sweet savour; it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord" (Lev. 8: 27, 28).

      It has been often remarked that "consecration" in this passage is filling the hand. Aaron and his sons are practically consecrated to God by the putting into their hands the fat and shoulder of the ram, with cakes and wafer of the meat- (or meal-) offering, and waving them for a wave-offering before the Lord. Then they are taken and burnt upon the altar as a sweet savour.

      Before this, and in order to it, we must remember that these priests have been washed in water, and sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice; which has also been put upon the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot. Even so must we, if we are to be priests to God, be washed with the "washing of regeneration," and have our "hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" (Heb. 10: 22), being set apart to Him as His by the power of the same cleansing blood which has bought us, that we should be no more our own. Thus cleansed from sin, and become the servants of God, we have our fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life.

      As priests, our occupation is with the holy things; and this practical consecration is just occupation. All Christians are priests to God, and it is our business to attend to these things. The ear is that by which we receive instruction; the foot speaks of our individual walk before God; but the hand is that by which we lay hold of things around, and mold and transform them. By the hand, man shows himself the natural vicegerent {representative}of God upon earth; and thus, while the ear and foot have been equally set apart to Him by the blood of atonement, the hand it is now that is to be filled for consecration: we are to be taught our business. Blessed be God, it is indeed true that:

      "With Him is all our business now."

      Someone may object, indeed, that in saying this we go much too far. Our circumstances in the world will not allow of anything like this; indeed, it is our mere secular employment that we habitually call our "business." And it is true that as Christians, alas! we not only pick up the language of the world, but sanction its thoughts. Nevertheless, it is also plainly true, and easily to be proved from Scripture, that the Christian's business is with Christ. Our motto, no less than Paul's, is to be, "To me to live is Christ" (Phil 1: 21); and what does that mean, except that all that makes up our life -- the whole business of our life -- is Christ?

      By this it is not denied at all, as it would be absurd and impossible to deny, that each one of us has his earthly calling, duties to fulfill which carry us into the world, and require a large part of our time to be spent in their discharge. We have families to provide for, and that is often a work of much toil--"he that provideth not for his own, specially for those of his own house, has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5: 8). Christianity loses sight of none of these claims, but enforces them all upon us: they are as many as our links of con-nection with other men; every link is a responsibility; every responsibility toward man is a responsibility to God also.

      This is sufficiently solemn; and it is nothing but a misuse of grace to make it lessen for us its solemnity. Life is full of seriousness; the more serious our sense of it the better.

      Yet while "all things are full of labour," as the preacher says (Eccl. 1: 8), and the Christian does not escape from this; yet "labor not for the meat that perisheth" (John 6: 27) is the Lord's own Word to us; a word of simpler meaning than we may have apprehended in it. For, in truth, we are never to labour for the perishing food, but are privileged rather to labor for Him who has appointed our path, and to whom our duty is. Our duty thus becomes to us that yoke of Christ which is easy, and in which we find rest. Our business is with Him: its recompense from Himself; and if we had to toil ten or more hours a day for Him, would it be a spiritual weight to drag us down from communion with Him, or rather a service in which for all our need and in all our weakness His power and fullness should be more than sufficiency?

      Alas! for these Christless businesses in which self-will is rampant, and the "gain to me" is not "loss for Christ!" When shall we learn that there is no spot on earth in which there is not a battle between two forces? no course that we can take which is merely neu-tral between Christ and the world, between God and mammon? Here is a spiritual leprosy which pollutes the whole life and secularizes it: for if the business be secular, no part of the life can be kept sacred.

      How significant a thing, then, is this priestly conse-cration, in which our hands are filled with Christ. Our hands are to wave before God the fat and the shoulder and the cakes of the meal-offering. We are to keep Christ thus before God, presenting Him in the energy of His devotedness (the fat), in the burden-sustaining, "shoulder," in the perfection of His life of holy balance and consistency in the power of the Holy Spirit. God is to see in us this memorial of His beloved Son, whatever we put our hand to; not merely an imitation of Him, but a devotedness derived from the apprehension of His de-votedness, a power which is His strength made perfect in weakness - a life, in short, which is but the life of Christ, developed by the power of the Spirit in us. "For of His fullness we all have received, and grace upon grace" (John 1: 16).

      Is it not of our priestly consecration we are reminded, when, from week to week, on the first day of the week, before its toil begins, we, as His disciples, come together to break bread? Is He not for faith put afresh into our hands, that we may receive Him in the place He has taken for us, and in occupation with Him begin again and again the "henceforth" of our lives? He thus claims pos-session of us every way, fills our eyes, our hands, makes Himself ours that we may be His, that henceforth whatever we look at, it may be Christ we see; whatever we handle, we may touch Christ in it. How sweet to be reminded! How solemn the need of being thus reminded!

      Christian reader, have you so learnt Christ? To see Him in everything, find Him everywhere, have your whole business with Him, take no other yoke than His yoke? This is rest, liberty, power. To come short of it is distraction and confusion. "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1: 8).

      F. W. G. ("Help and Food," 1888)

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