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2 Chronicles 6:12-17  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

In front of the entire assembly, King Solomon knelt down and with lifted hands prayed to God Almighty praising him for keeping his promise to his father, David. He also petitioned God to continue to keep his promise to keep one of David’s sons on the throne if they would walk according to God’s law.

King Solomon had made an awesome statement before he ever opened his mouth on that day. The kings’ subjects were supposed to bow down to the king; kings were not known to bow down to anyone. But King Solomon acknowledged to all the people on that day that Almighty God was the highest authority, and that he as king must be in submission to him.

What a different world it would be if all leaders would acknowledge God as their highest authority. One day this will happen. On that day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that righteousness and strength are found in God alone. (see Isaiah 45:23-24)

Father God, we acknowledge you as the one true God Almighty. May our daily lives also serve as a witness to our faithful submission to you. We pray for our leaders at every level, that they will recognize you as the only “Higher Power” worth serving, and that they will in turn serve their peoples accordingly.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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13 For the LORD has chosen Zion,
     
he has desired it for his dwelling:
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
     
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it–
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
     
her poor will I satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
     
and her saints will ever sing for joy.

17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
     
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
     
but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”

Psalm 132:13-18 (NIV)  

OK, now. This selection starts off with the LORD having chosen “Zion” as his dwelling place. I’ll have to admit that I’ve sung songs like “We’re Marching to Zion” and I’ve always had this warm fuzzy feeling when I heard the name, but today I had to look it up. Zion is often used as another name for Jerusalem which has also been called the City of David. More specifically it refers to a hill in Jerusalem, the highest point, which is considered to be the most holy place in Jerusalem. Zion is also referred to as heaven by many.

God has pronounced his blessings on Zion, declaring her (he uses feminine pronouns for Zion) to be his resting place forever. He has promised to bless and provide for her and her priests and saints forever.

God promises a “horn” which will grow for David. Fortunately for me, I read the footnotes on the word horn long ago and learned that whenever it is used it is referring to strength. These verses are referring not only to David’s son, Solomon, but they refer to Jesus Christ as well, the Most Holy descendent of David.

We mustn’t read these verses without recognizing the validity of the hand of God. Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish faith from the time of King David. It was the center of the Jewish religion when Jesus walked this earth. It was the location where Jesus’ crucifiction, death, burial, and resurrection took place. Even though the Jewish nation hasn’t always held possession of Jerusalem, they have succeeded in regaining control of it. The whole world is focused on Jerusalem and the Middle East today causing many to read or re-read the book of Revelation.

Father God, may these verses increase our faith as we recognize your hands at work in the time of David, the time of Christ, and in our present and future. Give us the confidence and courage to continually put our faith and trust in you alone.

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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Psalm 132:1-12  (click to view passage)

In this Psalm, King David re-states the oath he had made, the oath that God would not allow him to carry out. The ark of the covenant had been returned to Jerusalem; and David had it in his heart to build a permanent dwelling to house the ark. But to David’s great disappointment, it was not to be.

Yet David continued to praise his God, to “worship at his footstool.” (verse 7)

David continues his Psalm by recounting the oath the LORD swore to David, that he would put one of David’s descendants on the throne; and that if they keep God’s covenant they would reign on the throne forever. (verse 12)

Later scriptures reveal that David’s descendants did not keep the covenant. The Jewish nation suffered division and eventually was conquered and carried off into Babylon. But even though David’s descendants did not remain faithful, God did. Jesus Christ, who was one of David’s descendants, sits not on a human throne, but on the heavenly throne, where he will reign throughout eternity.

Lord God, help us to focus our eyes on you when we face disappointments. May we, like David, continue to put our hope in you as we continue to praise your name.

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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