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Play to your strengths

Scripture Union

Text: Prepare

If time permits, read the intervening chapters (18-21) to get a different perspective on David, the man of war, suddenly giving way to an act of disobedience.
Bible passage: Bible passage: 1 Chronicles 22:1-19
22 David announced, "The house of the Lord God will be built here. Israel's altar for burnt offerings will also be here."
David Makes Plans for Building the Temple

2 David gave orders to bring together the outsiders who were living in Israel. He appointed some of them to cut stones. He wanted them to prepare blocks of stone for building the house of God.
3 David provided a large amount of iron to make nails. They were for the doors of the gates and for the fittings. He provided more bronze than anyone could weigh. 4 He also provided more cedar logs than anyone could count. The people of Sidon and Tyre brought large numbers of logs to David.
5 David said, "My son Solomon is young. He's never done anything like this before. The house that will be built for the Lord should be very grand and wonderful. It should be famous and beautiful in the eyes of all of the nations. I'll get things ready for it." So David got many things ready before he died.
6 Then he sent for his son Solomon. He told him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 David said to Solomon, "My son, with all my heart I wanted to build a house for the Lord my God. That's where his Name will be. 8 But a message from the Lord came to me. It said, 'You have spilled the blood of many people. You have fought many wars. You are not the one who will build a house for my Name. That is because I have seen you spill the blood of many people on the earth.
9 "'But you are going to have a son. He will be a man of peace. And I will give him peace and rest from all of his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon. I will give Israel peace and quiet while he is king. 10 He will build a house for my Name. He will be my son. And I will be his father. I will make his kingdom secure over Israel. It will last forever.'
11 "My son, may the Lord be with you. May you have success. May you build the house of the Lord your God, just as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you good sense. May he give you understanding when he makes you king over Israel. Then you will keep the law of the Lord your God.
13 "Be careful to obey the rules and laws the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Then you will have success. Be strong and brave. Don't be afraid. Don't lose hope.
14 "I've tried very hard to provide for the Lord's temple. I've provided 3,750 tons of gold and 37,500 tons of silver. I've provided more bronze and iron than anyone can weigh. I've also given plenty of wood and stone. You can add to it.
15 "You have a lot of workers. You have people who can cut stones and people who can lay the stones. You have people who can work with wood. You also have people who are skilled in every other kind of work. 16 Some of them can work with gold and silver. Others can work with bronze and iron. There are more workers than anyone can count. So begin the work. May the Lord be with you."
17 Then David ordered all of Israel's leaders to help his son Solomon. 18 He said to them, "The Lord your God is with you. He's given you peace and rest on every side. He's handed the people who are living in the land over to me. The land has been brought under the control of the Lord and his people.
19 "So look to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Start building the temple of the Lord God. Then bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord into it. Also bring in the sacred articles that belong to God. The temple will be built for the Name of the Lord."
Text: Explore the Bible

Nothing left to chance
So - back to the theme of the Temple. Restless David, he never lets up. It's not for him to build the Temple, but he's going to keep his hand on the project!
So he supervises the materials. Stone, iron and wood are provided in abundance, with no expense spared because this will be a building like no other. Then, more importantly, he supervises his son, giving him wise advice. Finally he supervises a team of leaders to support Solomon in the work. Once again, we witness David's leadership qualities, a determination that nothing be left to chance in the conduct of an important project.
Solomon's strength
Question: 'Is David's involvement a humble desire to help or a bit of meddling when he should have moved on?' Verse 5 seems to hint at the latter, yet his motives are honourable as he urges his son to be discerning and obedient. But the question is one that leaders do well to ask from time to time.
The whole episode has helped David to understand that God wants him to play to his strengths. He is a man of war with blood on his hands (v 8) and the Temple building is a peace-time project. That will be Solomon's strength.

Text: Respond

As you serve God today, do what you can, not what you can't.
David Bracewell
Text: Deeper Bible study

Maybe you have been involved in churches undertaking building programs - with countless meetings dealing with vision and needs, architecture and budget, personnel and resources. It can be a daunting, detailed and time-consuming task. Although the actual task of building the Temple would be left to his son, David was keen to help him along - especially as Solomon was 'young and inexperienced' (v 5)! David realised that God had not said 'no' to the Temple project altogether: just a 'not you' and a 'not yet'.1 As he embarks on his preliminary role, we'll observe what a persuasive entrepreneur and spiritual leader he was. He'd be an asset to any church-building committee!
The site for the proposed building came into David's possession in an unexpected way.
After significant conquests early in his monarchy, he foolishly ordered a census to calculate his population gains. His arrogance displeased God and, following an angelic encounter at a Jebusite threshing-floor, he offered sacrifices there to avert the Lord's wrath against the nation. As evidence of contrition, he purchased the property (1 Chronicles 21:22-26), which became the authenticated 'here' (v 1) for the future Temple and sacrificial system - a perpetual sign of God's grace and forgiveness.
David had access to stone, timber, iron, bronze, silver and gold, some from surrounding allies, some from booty of war (1 Chronicles 18-20). He initially conscripted resident non-Israelites to help prepare materials for later building and decorating by local skilled craftsmen. He had a serious discussion with the son nominated for the task - Solomon, the man of peace - explaining the seriousness of the assignment and why it was being passed on to him. He spelled out the spiritual nature of the project, first to Solomon and then to Israel's leaders, encouraging them to devote themselves to completing the task for the sake of the Lord. Together they could do it!
Grace Thomlinson
1 LC Allen, 1,2 Chronicles, PC; Word, 1987, p112
Text: Bible in a year
Read the Bible in a year. Today's readings are:

Ecclesiastes 8,9

1 Timothy 1

Text: Podcast

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