The setting is 1 Chronicles 22. David is nearing the end of his life and charges Solomon with building a house for the Lord. David lays out for his son the plans he had made in anticipation, the materials he’s gathered, and the type of laborers Solomon will need. The king then spends five chapters (that get a bit thick with detail) going over the division of labor concerning officials, judges, gate keepers, musicians, treasurers, those in the army, and overseers that will be needed for the temple.
Next (or at least next in the text), David gathers the officials of Israel to fill them in on the plan and then pulls Solomon aside for more instructions. This time he adds some details about the utensils to be made from gold and silver; things like gold lampstands, lamps, tables for the bread, gold meat hooks, sprinkling bowls, pitchers, and a gold table for incense.
Wait. Gold meat hooks.
Excuse me? Did I read that right? Was it gold or God? (Neither of which I’ve heard of before.) Now you’ve got my attention!
“David also designated the amount of gold for the solid gold meat hooks to be used to handle the sacrificial meat.” (27:18, NLT)
Gold meat hooks!
And just like that, my work, your work, was given the golden touch and I almost missed it.
I have now read, reread, googled, and become mildly obsessed with this passage and meat hooks. They are referenced six times in the Old Testament and are most commonly translated at “forks.” But what stopped me cold was the position in the list. All of the other instruments seem to be more suitable for grand temple use. Gold lamps and lampstands, of course. Gold tables for bread and incense, yes, yes!
It was not an after-thought to have the meat hook made of gold; you don’t put an afterthought in the middle of a list. It was not as if Solomon was to see if there was enough gold to make the meat hooks. No, everything used in the temple played a role and was important, even (especially?) the meat hook.
I am a meat hook. You are a meat hook. The work of a meat hook isn’t glamorous (I doubt the phrase “what a lovely meat hook” will ever be said with the awe of “what a beautiful lampstand”), but it is important.
When we step into messy situations and help offer it up as a living sacrifice, that is being a meat hook for Jesus.
Meat hooks do the mundane work of holding meat. Modern day meat hooks might look like car repairs, shoveled snow, helping with taxes and budgets, babysitting, working at a food bank, cooking a meal, reading a book, replying to an email, grading papers, doing laundry, playing with a child or listening beyond the mere words. They are easy to overlook. So easy that David ends, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.” Yes, he was talking to Solomon about building the temple, but it can get old being a meat hook. Take heart! God is with you.
He could have made us just regular metal colored meat hooks. But that’s not how he sees us. This week I am calling myself and the work I do, that of a gold meat hook.
Care to join me? If so, say “Yes!” in the comment section and pass the word on.