Saturday, May 10, 2014

1 Chronicles 28-29 They bowed their heads and payed homage to the LORD

From 1 Chronicles 28-29 and 2 Chronicles 1


1 Chr 28.1-8; David; David’s Charge to Israel
1 Chr 28.9-21; David; David’s Charge to Solomon
1 Chr 29.1-9; David; Offerings for the Temple
1 Chr 29.10-22a; David; David Prays in the Assembly
1 Chr 29.22b-25; David; Solomon Anointed King
1 Chr 29.26-29; David; The Death of David

2 Chr 1.1-6; Solomon; Solomon Worships at Gibeon
2 Chr 1.7-13; Solomon; Solomon Prays for Wisdom
2 Chr 1.14-17; Solomon; Solomon Given Wealth

Passage and Comments

The last few chapters of 1 Chronicles continue to describe the organisation of David’s government. Gatekeepers, treasurers, military leaders and the current leadership of the twelve tribes. At the end of the record, the narrative returns and David gives another address to the people. He tells them he will not rebuild the temple and the LORD has chosen Solomon to sit on his throne.

Solomon will rebuild the temple. He commands the people to remain faithful to the LORD that they may keep the land the LORD gave them. He gives the plans for the temple to Solomon his son  and reassures him everything he needs to build it is around him. He then asks the people to support Solomon by providing financially for the temple. The people give willingly and they rejoice that they did so.

10 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. (1 Chr 29.10-13)

David refers to the LORD as the God of Israel and their father. This is one of several times where the father - son relationship between the LORD son is mentioned (cf. Ex 4.22; Dt 14.1; Hos 11.1). David then launches into prayer glorifying God. As he should he glorified.

The LORD possesses greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty.
All that is in the heavens and the earth is His.
He has authority and ownership over the kingdom.
He is exalted and head (king) above all.
He is the one who blesses people with riches, honour, greatness and strength.
He is worthy of our thanks.

14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. (1 Chr 29.14-16)

David recognises that if all things come from the LORD. If we give him anything, we are only returning what is his in the first place. ‘Of your own we have given you’. Everything we have was given to us by the LORD. We are not doing him any favours or giving him anything he needs by returning anything to him.

David’s statements are appropriate to his context. He and the people are in the process of giving vast amounts of materials, gold, silver and bronze (1 Chr 29.1-9) for the building of the temple and they might feel tempted to think their giving makes the LORD indebted to them. David humbly cuts off this thinking. Everything they have is from the LORD. They are only giving back what he gave them in the first place. When he and the people were being free with their possessions David glorifies the LORD and not himself or the people.

I think the Hebrews have an edge above us in the 21st century in this way of thinking. They were more prone to believe everything they had came from the LORD. Because they believe the LORD is always working in the world. He gives and he takes away. He rewards and he punishes. We are more likely to think God is absent from the LORD and only steps in from time to time. We should change the way we think about God.

17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. 19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.” (1 Chr 29.17-19)

David acknowledges the LORD tests the heart and is pleased by uprightness. Righteous and good behaviour. The LORD loves these things. David tests his own heart and acknowledges he has given freely with integrity. He looks at the giving of the people giving and recognises the same in their actions. If you test your own heart or the actions of others, it’s okay to say and believe positive things.

The sovereign LORD is in control of all people. Especially their hearts. Some he destines for wrath. Others for mercy and kindness (Rom 9.16-18). David petitions the LORD to control the hearts of the people and Solomon. If people follow the LORD with their heart and keep his commands, ultimately it is the LORD who must be glorified because he is the one who directed their hearts, their purposes and their thoughts. Give glory to the LORD.

20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the LORD and to the king. 21 And they offered sacrifices to the LORD, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the LORD, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22 And they ate and drank before the LORD on that day with great gladness. (1 Chr 29.20-22)

They gave to the LORD, they recognised who he is and what he does, and they worshipped him.

Story of Israel

David’s words and actions give us a glimpse of what respecting the LORD can look like. In the good and bad Israel should have given glory to the LORD, but this didn’t always turn out to be the case. The LORD’s name is devalued because of the people who should have been giving him glory had turned away.

Much longer after David’s hopeful beginning, Israel defiled herself with other gods and the LORD judged them. When people do not glorify the LORD and honour his name they sink into a pit of depravity. In Ezekiel the LORD moves to protect his name (Eze 36:16–21). He does this by judging them, sending them into exile and then promising to restore them. To give them a new spirit, to cause them to walk in his statutes and obey his rules (Eze 36:22–28). Then the nations that are all around them will know that He is LORD (Eze 36.36).

You see, the LORD is to be glorified in everything. In their punishment, which demonstrates his justice. In their forgiveness and  restoration, which demonstrates his love. In their walk and obedience, which demonstrates his power.

Story of Jesus

The apostle Peter talks about glorifying God in his first letter. But first he speaks about what God has done for all believers in Jesus.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:9–10)

Through hearing the gospel of Jesus life, death and resurrection these people have come to know Jesus as their Christ and Lord. This new found allegiance signifies that they were once rebels against God, but now have received mercy and become his servants.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Pet 2:11–12)

God’s elect are still involved in warfare against sin. Believers are to abstain from passions of the flesh and in the sight of others and keep their conduct honourable. We know from Daniel and Ezekiel that we should keep asking the LORD to direct our hearts and cause us to obey. When God does this he will glorify his name and be praised for what he has done. He should be glorified.