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     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 man skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.” 1 Chronicles 28:20-21 (NIV)

Solomon was young when he became King of Israel. Not only was he a new king, but he had laid out before him an enormous task – to build the temple of the Lord. He had a set of plans that would have been mind-boggling to any building contractor. It would be easy to imagine Solomon feeling overwhelmed with it all.

But David spoke words of encouragement to his son, reminding him that God was with him and would see him through the building of the temple. David had also prepared the priests, Levites, and skilled craftsmen who would help him with the task.

How did David encourage Solomon? Did he say things like “Hold your head up high,” or “Keep a stiff upper lip,” or “Look for the strength you need within yourself?” Not according to this record. David first pointed Solomon to God assuring his son of God’s strength and help. He also supplied people to help support him through the task.

I remember a very difficult day at work when I felt so defeated that I shared through my tears with my co-worker that I thought I would go home early. She immediately built me up by sharing bits of wisdom from her Christian faith. I can’t specifically remember the difficulty that brought on my despair, but I’ll never forget the warmth of her encouragement. She also took care of some of my responsibilities while I regained my composure to face the afternoon.

Almighty God, help us to remember just how mighty and powerful you are on those days when we feel the need for encouragement. And open our eyes to see the opportunities that are always around us to offer Christian encouragement and assistance to others who are overwhelmed or discouraged.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 28:11-19 (click to view passage)

David had written out very elaborate plans that the Spirit had placed in his mind for the temple, its rooms, courts, everything including numerous named articles and the weight of refined gold or silver for each article to be used in the service of the temple. There were also instructions for the priests and Levites who would do the work in the temple.  Verse 18 even refers to the cherubim of gold that sheltered the ark of the covenant with their wings, so it appears the plans included an upgrade in the ark.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”

(Verse 19, NIV)

In a recent post (1 Chronicles 17:1-6 No house for God?) I discussed the importance of honoring God by the way we care for our churches and places of worship. This is yet one more example of God prescribing excellence in creating places to worship him.

Heavenly Father, open our eyes to see where we fall short in honoring you by the way we care for things that belong to you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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     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 motive behind the thoughts. 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 temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”

1 Chronicles 28:9-10  (NIV)

As King David passes the responsibility of the throne to his young son, Solomon, he challenges him to acknowledge God in everything and to serve him with his whole heart. He reminds him of the importance of seeking God in order to find him. He assures him that to reject God is to be rejected by God. David then reminds Solomon of the one thing that is most dear to David’s heart – that the LORD himself had chosen Solomon to build a temple for God’s sanctuary. David challenges him to be strong and to carry out the task set before him.

King David knew he was nearing the end of his life; and as part of the inaugural ceremonies for King Solomon, David shared from the depths of his heart what he knew was the most important aspect of a successful reign as King over God’s people. What would you consider to be the most important advice you would want to pass on to the next generation? Would your deepest concern for your descendants be for them to seek the Lord with all their hearts (as you have/should have done), or would you be giving them advice on how to get ahead in life (as you might have done)? What are you telling the next generation through your everyday example?

Compare King David’s advice to Solomon with the kinds of advice our national leaders seem to pass on one to another. Consider what the most important traits are for our leaders to possess today. Are King David’s words still good advice for our leaders today?

Father God, we need your wisdom today more than ever. Increase our hunger and thirst to know you. Help us to seek you with all our hearts so that we will know without a doubt that we have truly found you. And then, dear God, enable us to serve you with such sincere and total devotion that our enriched lives will serve as a legacy that will inspire our descendants to trust you fully.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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 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. 
 1 Chronicles 28:6-8  (NIV)

     David continues to address all the officials and the warriors of Israel. He again affirms to the people that God had chosen his son Solomon to be the next king, and Solomon would be the one who would build God’s house and courts. He tells them that God also promised to establish his kingdom forever provided he followed God’s commands and laws.

     Who was Solomon? He was the son of Bathsheba, the woman David had stolen from Uriah getting her pregnant. David eventually arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle as an attempt to cover his guilt. After this child was born he became sick and died. Solomon was the second son Bathsheba bore for David. (See 2 Samuel 11 & 12:1-25)

     I find in this passage a great example of how God is able to redeem our mistakes. David was not perfect, but when he did sin, he became convicted of the sin and repented. The repentance was real, and consequently, God was still able to use David in a mighty way.     Lord, bless our understanding of these verses. Help us to appreciate the importance of following you wholeheartedly if we are to expect your blessings.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 28:1-5  (Click to view passage)

David is now old, and he has been getting his house in order and is now ready to pass the kingdom on to Solomon, his heir to the throne.  In these verses David addresses all of the officials of Israel from the greatest to the least as well as all of the warriors who defend their people. Many years have passed since he first had the desire to build a house for the Lord, a place for the ark of the covenant; but he again tells the people of this desire that was so precious to his heart. He also tells them that God said for him to not build it because he was a warrior who had shed blood. He tells them that God had chosen his family to be king over Israel forever, and that his son Solomon would sit on the throne after him.

In verse 3 the reason is given as to why God would not allow David to build the temple. He had been a warrior who had shed blood. God does not want his people to be known as warriors.

Many pacifists would hold up this verse as evidence that God never approves of war; however, we need to be reminded that God commanded the Israelites to kill off all people when they first entered the Promised Land. God was also leading David through one military victory after another.

But when the Israelites went off to war without first asking God, they lost their battles. There has to be a very serious reason for going to war, something bigger that getting one’s own way.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word, for the history of how you led your people, and for the lessons we can learn from them. Give us the desire to read it faithfully, and the openness to hear your voice speak to our hearts, and the willingness to obey your teachings.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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    23 “And now, LORD, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, 24 so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, ‘The LORD Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you. 1 Chronicles 17:23-24 (NIV)

David ends his prayer with his acceptance of God’s blessings. I suppose many would respond to this by saying, “Of course he accepted them! Who wouldn’t?” But if you truly want to understand David’s heart in this, look closely at this passage beginning with the end of verse 23 where David prays “Do as you promised, so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, ‘The LORD Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ “ David is not saying “bless me so I will be famous and it will be wonderful for me and my descendants.” In his heart he is still desiring that God’s name would be great and acknowledged by all men.

In 1 Chronicles 25-27 David continues to go over again in his prayer the awesomeness of what God has promised to him. In verse 25 he indicates that he needed to find courage to even pray to God after this great revelation was made to him through the prophet Nathan.

Do we feel David’s sense of awe when we are in the presence of God Almighty? Do we need to find the courage to approach God with our petitions, or do we simply jump in as if we were sending a letter to Santa Claus? If we want a powerful God to answer our prayers, we may need to learn to address him as the awesome God that he is.

Most holy God, we confess that our prayers are often so small and self-centered. Give us a right heart before you. Help us to truly align our wills with yours that we may know how to pray to you and to present our own petitions with reverence and respect.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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     20 “There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 21 And who is like your people Israel–the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 22  You made your people Israel your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God. 1 Chronicles 17:20-22 (NIV)

After giving God all the honor and praise for taking him from a lowly shepherd to a king, and for the blessings God promised to his descendants in the years to come, David continues to exalt the name of God. He continues his discussion with God with his thoughts concerning the Israelite people. He acknowledges that it was God who redeemed them as his own people, and it was God’s mighty deeds that made them great. It was God who made them his people, and they made him their God.

Here in the United States we have a history that is closely tied in with God. The first successful settlement was by the Pilgrims who left their homes so they could worship God as they pleased. Other Europeans had tried to establish colonies and failed. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights include references to God. The Christian influence in the early development of our country was strong in many areas.

Today a new breed of historians is trying to erase all evidence of God and Christianity from our history books. We also get bombarded daily with biased news on television and in our newspapers and other media. Movies and TV sitcoms systematically make Christians out to be bumbling idiots. I tremble for the day when God may remove his hand of protection from our country. If we could only, like David, openly acknowledge the hand of God in making our nation great, we might find answers to the issues that are tearing away at the foundations of our nation today.

Father God, help us to continually acknowledge your hand at work in everything we do, and to openly give you the praise. We praise you for your hand in making our country great, and beg you to work in mighty ways to restore the honor and dignity to our government that once made it strong. Work in the hearts and minds of our citizens to recognize the candidates that are able to serve our country best because they look to you for guidance.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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     16 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:      “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God.     18 “What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, 19 O LORD. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.

1 Chronicles 17:16-19 (NIV)

What kind of impact did Nathan’s words (prophesy from God) have on David? Did he exalt himself and rejoice in his good fortune like we might be tempted to do if we were to win some great sweepstakes? These verses make it clear that David’s response was just the opposite. He began his prayer with “Who am I, O LORD God…” He was overwhelmed with his own smallness, and asked God why he was chosen to be so exalted. Nothing in David’s words reflect even a hint of his seeking recognition or power; he can only express words of wonder that God should bless him.

How unlike David I am. I want to serve God, yet I crave seeing his blessings on my work. I enjoy recognition to the point that sometimes it seems to become an idol. But even God described David as a man after God’s heart. It was his ability to humble himself that made it possible for God to use him in such a mighty way.

Lord, help us to see ourselves for who we really are. May we, like David, recognize your hand at work in every good thing we do; and may we be willing to give you all the praise, honor and glory when we are able to accomplish good works in your strength. Be with our leaders and help them to aspire to be like David, seeking to please you and serve those you have placed under their influence.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'” 

    15 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

1 Chronicles 17:11-15 (NIV)

God promised to bless David, but his blessings weren’t to stop there. One of his sons would build the house that David wanted to build. This refers to Solomon who would build the glorious Solomon’s Temple that is often spoken of in Scripture. Yet the blessings still didn’t stop there as this prophesy wasn’t only speaking of Solomon and his temple, but of Jesus who was also a descendent of David. Jesus is the Son whose throne would be established forever. Jesus is the one who God set over his house and kingdom forever.

How blessed we are to have the whole story today. David heard these words as Nathan spoke them to him and could only wonder what they all meant.

Father God, thank you for the gift of your Word which reveals your Son to us, even through the words of the prophets who couldn’t fully understand them at the time they spoke them. We thank you for their faithfulness to you in speaking words given to them by your divine guidance. Continue to bless us through your Holy Spirit that we may receive the messages you hold for us in your Word, the Holy Bible.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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     7“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be ruler over my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 9 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies.      “‘I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you:1 Chronicles 17:7-10 (NIV)David wanted to build a house for God, but God let David know of his plans to bless and to protect David. God also had plans for the people of Israel, to give them a home of their own. He would protect them from wicked people and subdue all their enemies.

Isn’t this an interesting sequence of events. David wanted to bless God, and God in turn blessed David. Isn’t that just like God? If we would only remember who holds the keys to the storehouses of blessings for us all.

David was so different from many other kings who set out to make a name for themselves, and attempted to reign for as long as possible, even if it meant killing their own sons to prevent having an heir who might challenge the throne.

David wasn’t a perfect king; only Jesus could live up to that expectation. David made many mistakes which were recorded in the Bible. But he did have a servant’s heart, and he kept the good of his people in mind as opposed to using his subjects to build a kingdom for his own glory.

Father God, help us to see how it pleases you for us to have a servant’s heart. Help us to put others’ needs ahead of our own. Help us to serve you by serving others.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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