Monday, April 2, 2012

1 Chronicles 22

1 Then David said, “The house of the LORD God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
2 So David gave orders to assemble the foreigners residing in Israel, and from among them he appointed stonecutters to prepare dressed stone for building the house of God. 3 He provided a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings, and more bronze than could be weighed. 4 He also provided more cedar logs than could be counted, for the Sidonians and Tyrians had brought large numbers of them to David.
5 David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.
6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. 7 David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the LORD my God. 8 But this word of the LORD came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. 9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
11 “Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would. 12 May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
14 “I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. 15 You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work 16 in gold and silver, bronze and iron—skilled workers beyond number. Now begin the work, and the LORD be with you.”
17 Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. 18 He said to them, “Is not the LORD your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the LORD and to his people. 19 Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.”

Points of Interest
  • ‘The house of the LORD God is to be here’--you may remember that ever since David built his own palace, he’s had building a house for God on his mind (Monday, April 4th, 2 Samuel 7). Ever since the wanderings in the desert in the time of Moses (about 400 years earlier), God’s ‘dwelling’ has been a tent. David wants to give God a more permanent address in Jerusalem. When they first discussed it, God’s response to David, ‘No, thanks. I like my tent just fine.’ At the time, God told David that the real priority was for God to build David a house--that is, a royal dynasty--not for David to build God one. I think David feels that that job is now complete. He has no more enemies, and there is peace on every side. All of his external enemies have been quelled or conquered, and all of the conflict within his family and within Israel has also been resolved. So, David turns once again to the idea of building God a house. I get the sense that David is still much more excited about this project than God is, but this time around God doesn’t stop him. Perhaps God senses from David a positive change in attitude. It’s not so much that David thinks he can help God out here, but that David is so grateful for all of the ways God has helped him. The temple is like a great, big thank you card from David to God.
  • ‘gave orders to assemble the foreigners’--I don’t think this means that every single foreigner will be put to work on the temple. After all, much of David’s family and many of his most important warriors are foreigners; it’s hard to imagine a bunch of generals, queens, and princesses picking up chisels and cutting stones. The foreigners referred to here are probably the prisoners of war from David’s various battles; they’ll be made into a work detail for this huge public work detail David has in mind.
  • ‘more cedar logs than could be counted’--it might sound funny for the king to bother himself with such small things as nails and two by fours, but actually in David’s time and place wood and iron were quite hard-to-get commodities. It would take a lot of time, money, and diplomacy to gather enough of them for the building David has in mind.
  • ‘So David made extensive preparations’--God had said quite explicitly that David would never build God a house. David is technically abiding by their agreement, but he can’t help himself: he has to play a role in this temple. So, while he doesn’t actually break ground on the building site, he puts everything in place for the future.
  • ‘because you have shed much blood’--at least in the story we read, that’s not exactly what God said. The earlier story we read was from the Samuel version of David’s story, and this passage is from the Chronicles version. So, maybe the Chronicler is introducing a different conversation between God and David on the same subject, or maybe Chronicles and Samuel have a different interpretation of the same conversation. There is some commonality between the two; in both versions, God is saying that David will be too busy fighting wars (with God’s help) to spend time building a temple. However, there seems to be a moral edge in Chronicles that’s missing in Samuel; the intimation here seems to be that David’s hands are too bloody with which to build a temple. Maybe God did, in fact, say this to David at another time. Or maybe David misunderstood God’s reasoning.
  • ‘He is the one who will build a house’--again, this isn’t precisely what God said, at least in Samuel. God did indeed say that a descendant of David would build God’s house, but he didn’t say it would be David’s immediate heir. In fact, many people, including Jesus himself, think that the ‘Son of David’ God had in mind was Jesus, not Solomon. In that line of thinking, God never had a temple in mind. He was essentially telling David, ‘Look, I don’t care so much about palaces and temples; I care about people. So, I’m going to build your family up; and then someday a son of yours will build my family up.’ Nonetheless, Solomon may be a little foreshadowing of Jesus; and Solomon’s temple may be like a metaphorical architectural model for the ‘house’ Jesus will someday build.
  • ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged’--David isn’t an easy act to follow. And David wants Solomon not only to take over from him, but to exceed him, accomplishing something he never did. That could be daunting.
  • ‘ordered all the leaders of Israel to help’--this isn’t something Solomon can do on his own. He’ll need everyone’s help to pull it off. David is calling on them to back Solomon as solidly as they did him--in fact, even more.
  • ‘Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God’--I’m not sure exactly how excited God is about this temple idea. But I bet that God is entirely pleased by this encouragement from David. The truly great thing about David is that he has almost always thrown everything he has--heart, soul, body, slingshot, cedar planks, and iron nails--into seeking and following God. Even more than the temple, that’s the legacy worth Solomon and these other leaders continuing.
Taking it Home
  • For you: It took David awhile but he eventually accepted the reality that it wasn’t his job to build the temple. He didn’t give up on his dream, but he learned to check in with God to see what his part in it all was. What are the all the roles that you are currently trying to fulfill in your life? My guess is that there are lot. Ask God to show you specifically what role he wants you to play. Pray that he would make it clear what things are yours to do and what things are somebody else’s to look after. Pray some of David’s word from Psalm 16:
5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
  • For your six: David is able to see and encourage Solomon’s gifts and talents before Solomon has even had the chance to show them. Take some time today to listen to God for your six. Ask God if there is anything he wants to show you about your six’s gifts, skills, and direction in life. Find a way to share those things with your six.
  • For our church: David has big dreams in mind. He thinks beyond himself and his own lifetime, and instead aims at leaving a lasting legacy on God’s behalf. Pray that our church would just as audaciously dream beyond ourselves and 2011, and that we would leave a godly legacy in New Haven, New England and, why not the entire world for centuries to come? Pray that God would use our church in remarkable ways to connect more people with God’s love and goodness than can even be imagined.
  • For families: Take some time to bless the members of your family today. Pray for each other, lay hands on one another, and practice just blessing each other with good things from God. If you see specific gifts or talents in your family members, call those talents out and bless your family members to use them for God’s purposes. Prayers of blessing can take different formats, but are often simple. For example, “I bless you with health, I bless you with the ability to love others well, etc...”