David and Solomon, Part 5

David, a great leader but deeply flawed man, loved God with his whole heart. That was David’s saving grace. Had he not been devoted to his God, and had he not lived in a state of continuous repentance, history wouldn’t have been nearly as kind to him. For all his faults and failings, King David did get this right:

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalms 51:10c-12 | NIV84)

That’s what David prayed after his great sin involving Bathsheba had been found out. He was a weak, but he knew God wasn’t. We could probably say that David knew God better than most people. Because of that, we, like Solomon, should pay attention to what David said to his son:

“I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go…” (1 Kings 2:2-3 | NIV84)

David knew his words were true because he experienced them firsthand. When he played by God’s rules, things went well for him and Israel. But when David strayed, things turned bad fast.

His son, Solomon, was about 20 years old when King David gave him this fatherly advice. He was confident that his son would take what he had accomplished and go even further with God’s help. Israel was at peace and Israel was prosperous and it would be up to Solomon to build on that enviable foundation.

Godly legacy

King David wasn’t long for this world when he spoke these words to the people:

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 man but for the Lord God. (1 Chronicles 29:1 | NIV84)

Not once, not twice, but three times in Chronicles, Ezra the Chronicler makes it clear to the reader that God had made specific promises to David: that one of his descendants would rule Israel and build a House for the Lord.

The first time the promise is given, it is given to David himself in 1 Chronicles 17. That same promise is given to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 22. And here in 1 Chronicles 29, David is telling all Israel what God had told him. Solomon would be king because he was David’s son, and he will build a House for God because, unlike his father, Solomon would be a man of peace.

David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. (1 Chronicles 22:7-9 | NIV84)

From the perspective of David, the promises made to him by God were about to be fulfilled by Solomon. In fact, this was said this of his son’s kingdom:

I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time. (1 Chronicles 28:7 | NIV84)

David firmly believed that obedience was linked to success; it would be the qualifying factor in Solomon’s kingdom enduring “forever.” But the Chronicler, unlike David, didn’t have the same confidence in Solomon as David did. Solomon certainly was a son of David and he did build a temple, but he was not the promised Son of David, and the Chronicler understood that a future temple would be built.

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “ ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.’ ” (2 Chronicles 36:23 | NIV84)

David clung to God’s promises so much so that he believed they would be fulfilled in his day, by his own son. But things wouldn’t work out that way. David’s hope should characterize believers of every generation, and we ought to be on the lookout for the appearing of the final Son of David. He did, after all, say this:

If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ” (Mark 13:36, 37 | NIV84)

Obedience, David understood, was essential. But not just any kind of obedience; it had to be whole hearted obedience:

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. (1 Chronicles 28:9 | NIV84)

It’s one thing to outwardly proclaim your support of God’s will and fidelity to it, but it’s another thing to be inwardly sincere. Truth is, this very thing was not only Solomon’s downfall but caused Israel’s covenant relationship with God to fall apart:

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13 | NIV84)

Public worship is vitally important for the people of God, but that can never take the place of a genuine, wholehearted relationship with God.

Building of the Temple

Even though God would not allow David to build His temple, God did give David the plans for it:

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.” (1 Chronicles 28:19 | NIV84)

Ezra made sure that the readers of his Chronicles knew that even though David didn’t build the temple, David did play an important role. He received the plans from God and he encouraged and admonished his son Solomon to get to work on this expansive project. In fact, when you read what David said to Solomon and all the people, his words sounded much like the words of Haggai, the prophet after the exile, as he encouraged and admonished the hearts of the people and leaders to rebuild the temple that had lain in ruins for two generations.

But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ (Haggai 2:4, 5 | NIV)

In David’s day, a massive freewill offering was offered by king and people:

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, a stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities. (1 Chronicles 29:2 – 9, vs. 2 cited | NIV84)

The king led by example and the people followed suit. God’s House would serve as a visible representation of God’s glory and majesty and so no expense would be spared. It would also serve as a sign of the riches that come from Him:

Yours, O 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, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 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. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. “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. (1 Chronicles 29:11 – 14 | NIV84)

There’s a lesson here for the modern believer. As God has given generously to us, so we should give generously to Him. All too often we are stingy with our resources, yet God is never stingy with His. What does it say about us when we hold back from giving to our church? This was something that loomed large on Paul’s horizon:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6 – 8 | NIV)

The word Paul used is “whoever,” meaning rich or poor should give generously to the work of the Lord, and in the context of 2 Corinthians 9, that means giving to the local church. “God loves a cheerful giver,” not a wealthy one or a poor one. Generous giving is relative to how the Lord has blessed the individual.

David and the people rejoiced at the offering that had been given, but Haggai, writing centuries later under similar but slightly different circumstances, expected something even greater:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” (Haggai 2:6 – 9 | NIV84)

Both David and Ezra, living centuries apart, had similar expectations as far as the temple was concerned. But Haggai, prophesying during the rebuilding of the temple in his day, understood that as glorious as “the former temple” was, the splendor and glory of the new temple built by the final Son of David would be greater. It would be quite unimaginable. As Ezra wrote about the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s temple, he wrote the about tragic end with a tinge of hope.

He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the LORD’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah. (2 Chronicles 36:18 – 21 | NIV84)

God moved on the heart of Cyrus of Persia, so that he sent out a royal decree:

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “ ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all
the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.’ ” (2 Chronicles 36:23 | NIV)

This is the same hope David had for Solomon’s temple, the same hope Ezra and Haggai had for the second temple, and you and I as believers in Christ’s eventual return to earth as the King of Kings, should have the same hope. Neither Cyrus’ temple nor Harod’s temple would be the final temple in Jerusalem. A new and magnificent Temple lies just ahead, and it will be built just as Haggai predicted so long ago:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty.’ (Haggai 2:6, 7 | NIV84)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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