Temple Preparations, Peaceful Organization; David’s Death

Read: 1 Chronicles 22-29

Today we read the unique account of preparations for building the temple, unique in that these details are only included here in 1 Chronicles, not in 2 Samuel. This is a quick read that includes details and lists of many who were called by name for this great work.

  • Chapter 22 – Preparations for Solomon
  • Chapter 23 – New duties for those previously tasked to carry the things of the temple
  • Chapter 24 – Division of Priests, quite orderly
  • Chapter 25 – Musicians — God loves music!
  • Chapter 26 – Gatekeepers, treasurers and others
  • Chapter 27 – Army divisions, Leaders of the tribes and the King’s overseers
  • Chapter 28 – David’s plans for the temple
  • Chapter 29 – The closing of 1 Chronicles and David’s death

Although David knows he is not allowed to build the temple himself, he makes extensive preparations to enable Solomon to create a magnificent temple, The Temple in Jerusalem.

“I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron—craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.” 1 Chronicles 22:14-16

That is an incredible amount of raw materials! I am really amazed every time I read about vast amounts of iron and bronze. I remember many years ago watching the process of creating steel when my brother worked at US Steel in Birmingham or aluminum during a visit to Alcoa in Baton Rouge. Even in this modern world, it is a huge effort to create steel and aluminum. Gold mines with ground penetrating radar and sophisticated systems are employed to mine precious metals. Some 3,000 years ago this was not the case, but somehow the creative genius in the minds of people were able to find and mine enormous quantities of metals from rocks.

Chapters 23 through 27 provide very little narrative, mostly just lists of names, positions and duties. The significance should not be dismissed–these are real people that lived, had families, served and trusted God as part of the millions of people that made up the descendants of Abraham and Sarah. Individuals honored with their names included in the Bible. I don’t know them, but like walking through a cemetery and looking at gravestones, these are our ancestors.

Another observation is just this: the Israelites under David were very orderly. I don’t know about the neighboring countries or kingdoms, but having clear lines of authority and responsibility creates a solid structure that is formidable.

It’s also important to note that all are aligned to serve the Lord, to honor God by each doing their part. The sense I get from reading the details is this was a peaceful process. Many jobs were determined by casting lots and it appears that everyone agreed with the process and did their part, at least at this point! One enormous family, united and serving God. Crazy! Talk about your megachurch!

With all of that in place, Chapter 28 formally announces Solomon as David’s successor. The picture is perfect and a peaceful transition of power is set in motion–significant considering this was a time when kingdoms were overturned by insurrection quite often.

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. The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing person 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

I love this: “Be strong and courageous and do the work.” This is not a job for the faint of heart. I think we should make a small plaque for every senior minister’s desk with these words for their job requires all three elements: strength, courage and work. Not that this is limited to pastors, just that their job in particular is challenging because their direct report is none other than God himself. No pressure!

It is significant that we read this was all a cooperative effort, at least at this point:

Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. 1 Chronicles 29:6

They willingly did the work. This was a seriously happy time in history, “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.” (1 Chronicles 29:9). The story begins to change in 2 Chronicles, but lets enjoy the moment here, don’t get ahead of the story!

The unity displayed at this point in the history of Israel is one we long to see in our modern churches, mere drops in the sea compared to the size and expanse of Israel at this point. What would it look like if we as the church were this united, all giving the glory to God? The writer of Chronicles paints a wonderful portrait of Israel at its finest.

Solomon formally takes the throne and David dies a peaceful death.

He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. 1 Chronicles 29:28

And so we come to the end of 1st Chronicles, we witness an orderly and well kept union of people with well-defined responsibilities and people willingly serving the Lord. Like a glorious sunset with light dazzling the horizon and shooting colors across the sky while the music builds and then fades, we close the chapter on King David’s life. Nice. Peace. Done.

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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