Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1 Chronicles 29

1 Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for human beings but for the LORD God. 2 With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities. 3 Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: 4 three thousand talents of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, 5 for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the skilled workers. Now, who among you is willing to consecrate yourself to the LORD today?”
6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. 7 They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. 8 Anyone who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.
10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
“Praise be to you, LORD,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 18 LORD, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”
20 Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the LORD your God.” So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the LORD and the king.

Points of Interest
  • ‘I now give my personal treasures’--everything David has mentioned up until now has been collected from the state’s resources. Now, David is pitching in what must be a very large portion of his own wealth.
  • ‘gold of Ophir’--Ophir was particularly famous for fine gold.
  • ‘They gave toward the work on the temple’--inspired by David, all the rest of the people throw themselves and their resources into the project as well. Even David can only do so much on his own.
  • ‘Wealth and honor come from you’--even while David and the others are giving so generously toward the building of the temple, David wants to remember that he is not out-giving God. They owe everything they have to God.
  • ‘Our days on earth are like a shadow’--our lives are so short and insubstantial that, like a shadow, they don’t even make an impression in the ground.
  • ‘that you test the heart’--it’s not so much the dollar value of their donations that matters. It’s their faith, their gratitude, their love of God, and their desire to accomplish something great together.
  • ‘the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel’--God promised Abraham--and his son Isaac and grandson Israel--hundreds of years ago that God would make them a great nation, give them the land, and make them an overflowing blessing to the rest of the world. Now, it looks like those promises are finally coming true.
Taking it Home
  • For you: The Israelites are so inspired by the vision of the temple that they are willing to give anything and everything to make it happen. They seem to offer up whatever they have to God. What are things right in front of you that you can offer up to God? It could be money, a degree, a house, a skill or talent. Spend a moment asking if God wants you to give over any of those things to him for a purpose right now. Tell God you want to give that thing, and ask God to use it for his good. If you feel resistant to what God brings up, that’s okay; talk to him about that.
  • For your six: As the Israelites were responsive to God, they found themselves part of a plan much bigger than themselves. Ask God to show your six the big plans he has for them, and pray that they would feel compelled toward it.
  • For our church: I love that David asks God to help the Israelites ‘keep their hearts loyal’ to him. He seems to be aware that humans are prone to forget and to be sort of wishy-washy. Ask God to help keep our church loyal to pursuing God no matter what happens. Just like New England will always want the Celtics to win and always want the Lakers to lose, pray that our church would have the same immediate enthusiasm and commitment to whatever God is doing—that we would always turn to what God wants and always turn away from what he doesn’t want.
  • For families: Spend some time talking as a family about some of the things you give toward financially. For parents, share with your kids why these things are important to you. Often, giving can be of our time and our talents, too. Share about those things as well. Spend some time praying together about whether there are things God would want you to give toward and in what ways.