Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1 Chronicles 28

1 David summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem: the officers over the tribes, the commanders of the divisions in the service of the king, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mighty warriors and all the brave fighting men.
2 King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my fellow Israelites, my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. 3 But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.’
4 “Yet the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever. He chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah he chose my family, and from my father’s sons he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 Of all my sons—and the LORD has given me many—he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 6 He said to me: ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.’
8 “So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.
9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”
11 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. 12 He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things. 13 He gave him instructions for the divisions of the priests and Levites, and for all the work of serving in the temple of the LORD, as well as for all the articles to be used in its service. 14 He designated the weight of gold for all the gold articles to be used in various kinds of service, and the weight of silver for all the silver articles to be used in various kinds of service: 15 the weight of gold for the gold lampstands and their lamps, with the weight for each lampstand and its lamps; and the weight of silver for each silver lampstand and its lamps, according to the use of each lampstand; 16 the weight of gold for each table for consecrated bread; the weight of silver for the silver tables; 17 the weight of pure gold for the forks, sprinkling bowls and pitchers; the weight of gold for each gold dish; the weight of silver for each silver dish; 18 and the weight of the refined gold for the altar of incense. He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and overshadow the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
19 “All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”
20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 21 The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing person skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.”

Points of Interest
  • ‘the footstool of our God’--I like this. David knows that even his grand plans don’t amount to something worthy of being a house for God. At best, it’s an ottoman.
  • ‘he has chosen my son Solomon’--just like David, Solomon has many older brothers, perhaps more qualified than him. But being king in this nation isn’t about being the oldest, or looking the best, or even having the right father. Solomon will be king in the same way David became king: by God’s choice.
  • ‘with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind’--this is a nice combination of David calling his son to follow in his footsteps and David letting Solomon be his own person. Wholehearted devotion is David’s thing, and he wants it to be Solomon’s as well. But Solomon will apply it differently from David. David is a soldier and an artist; Solomon will be a thinker.
  • ‘if you forsake him, he will reject you forever’--David is reminding Solomon not to take God or the kingship for granted. Saul was chosen just as much as David or Solomon, but God wasn’t afraid to take the kingdom away from him. God promised David that the house of David would last forever, but God doesn’t necessarily need Solomon to make that happen; God can find another way to put a descendant of David on the throne.
  • ‘the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts’--David is completely consumed by this temple project. He’s thought of every detail, from the smallest room to the exact weight of gold for all the furnishings.
  • ‘instructions for the divisions of the priests and Levites’--the Levites are the tribe that specializes in religious service, the priests being the Levitical family particularly responsible for conducting religious ceremonies. The temple David has in mind will vastly increase the responsibilities of the Levites. So, having thought through every detail of the building itself, David has also taken a crack at reorganizing their job duties.
  • ‘as a result of the LORD’s hand on me’--the same God who inspired David’s music and empowered him to kill a giant has also made him into an architect.
  • ‘the LORD God, my God, is with you’--this job is far too big for Solomon. But that doesn’t matter. It’s not too big for God, and God will be right there with Solomon all the way.
Taking it Home
  • For you: What’s going on right now in your life that makes you feel afraid or discouraged? David knew that in the face of the daunting project of building the temple--not to mention running a country--Solomon needed a steady stream of encouragement. If David were living now, he’d be sending repeated text messages to Solomon reminding him again and again to be ‘strong and courageous.’ Just as David spoke the words to Solomon, picture God saying those words directly to you: “__________, be strong and courageous”. Take some more time to listen to God, asking God to remind you of any specific ways that he would like encourage you.
  • For your six: Ask God to really know the hearts of your six. Pray that he would give them hearts that are opened and turned toward God. Ask God to bless all the ways, even the most covert, in which your six are actually seeking after God.
  • For our church: I know the saying goes that ‘the devil is in the details,’ but this passage shows us God in the details too. With the temple, God has even the smallest of things, from the serving-ware arrangement to the lampshades, figured out and perfectly arranged. Whether you love details or hate them, in the end you know that they matter, for good or ill. Ask God to take care of all the details of our church’s big dreams and plans. Pray that for every great, big plan that God gives us he would equally take care of the millions of things that need to come together for it to actually happen. For the situations where we find ourselves stuck in the details, ask God to give us a way out. Ask God that to give our church the ability to be impossibly great at the details.
  • For families: Everyone needs encouragement sometimes, and families can be great places to get that encouragement. What feels like a big challenge to you? How can your family encourage you? Let your family know about ways of encouraging that work well for you when you are facing a big challenge. Pray that God would make you a family that is great at seeing opportunities to encourage one other.