June 29, 2010 David Balzer

1 Chronicles 17, 22-29: Building a House

At the end of last year, we stopped Night Church. And it was a bit heart-wrenching when we stopped it. Admittedly, part of the problem was a “pride” thing. Night church was going fine when I arrived. And now I’d managed to kill it off in 2 years.

But lots of OTHER things changed as well. Lots of people from that service had moved on to other churches. And it had dwindled down to about 6 regulars. And it was wearing them out. We’d struggled along for most of last year. Tried a few different things. And none of them had really made much difference.

I guess another part of my problem was that Night Church is a good thing to do. It’s a GREAT IDEA to meet with God’s people – to sing and pray and learn and be encouraged. Just what God would WANT us to be doing on a Sunday night. Noone was going to argue that it WASN’T a good thing to do.

But I came to realise that sometimes it’s a case of “Great idea! Bad timing!” At this stage of our church life, with the people we’ve got, it seemed that there were WISER ways of using our time and our resources. At least for the moment, let’s concentrate on doing THEM better.

Perhaps, a of years down the track, things will change. And we’ll be able to start up Night church again. We might even decide that a better option is to start another MORNING service at Parklea, or Acacia Gardens, or Quakers Hill. 9 am. A brand new congregation! That’s one idea I’m thinking about! Let me know what you think!

And it’s just this sort of thing that happened to King David. Great idea! Bad timing! And his great idea/ was to build a temple for God. Look at Ch 17 v1.

(1 Chr 17:1 NIV)  After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.”

David looks around at his wonderful palace. And he thinks “How ridiculous that I’M living in a mansion, but God’s living in a tent?!” God deserves something MUCH BETTER.

Who can argue with that! Certainly not Nathan. V2. He says

(1 Chr 17:2 NIV)  … “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”

But God has DIFFERENT ideas. “Great idea, bad timing!” is what he says. I’ve got someone ELSE in line for THAT job.

And then he tells David was HIS job is. Look at v7 – halfway through.

(1 Chr 17:7-9 NIV)  “… I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be RULER over my people Israel. {8} I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I HAVE CUT OFF ALL YOUR ENEMIES FROM BEFORE YOU. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men of the earth. {9} And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore…

David’s job was to rule, and to bring peace and stability. And that’s what David does best. Better than anyone. And the job did’t include building projects.

And then God turns the tables. Because rather than David building GOD a house. God’s got something ELSE in mind. HE’S going to build DAVID a house. A dynasty. A family line. Look at v10. The end of the verse.

(1 Chr 17:10-12 NIV)  …”‘I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: {11} When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. {12} HE is the one who will build a house for me,”

And as it turns out, it’s SOLOMON who God’s got in mind. Solomon’s the start of the David family dynasty. And he’s the one who’ll build the temple.

But it’s NOT ONLY Solomon who God’s thinking about. He’s also got someone else in mind. But we’ll come back to that.

And when David gets the message, You’d think he might sulk a little bit – “Well I was only trying to do something NICE. No need for God to be so ungrateful!” That’s what WE might do.

But not David. What’s HIS attitude! Complete and utter GRATEFULNESS. The ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE. He can’t believe it! Who is HE that God should build HIM a house. He thought he was on a good thing with what he’s got SO FAR. But God’s giving him EVEN MORE. Look down to v16.

(1 Chr 17:16-17 NIV)  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.

Getting things ready

And so how does David respond to this goodness and grace of God? God might have said No to him BUILDING the temple. But he didn’t say anything about GETTING EVERYTHING READY. And so that’s what David does. He doesn’t exactly BUILD the temple. He just does EVERYTHING, BUT.

We seem to play tag-team a lot in our house. I get home just as Caron’s about to go out. Or Caron gets home, just as I need to go out again.

And sometimes Caron gets dinner READY for me to cook. She doesn’t actually cook dinner. But she does everything BUT. She’ll cut up the chicken, wash and peel the veges. Put the rice in the rice cooker.

And as I walk in the door, Caron will pick up her car keys, and say on her way out the door, “Chicken’s cut up in the fridge, veges are in the microwave – they need three more minutes. Turn the rice cooker on in about 30 minutes. Stir-fry. Kids can have ice cream for dessert. … And don’t leave the kitchen a mess when you finish”

And it makes it a lot EASIER for me to organise dinner, apart from the tidying-up,. Caron hasn’t actually cooked dinner because the timing’s not right. But she’s done EVERYTHING BUT.

And it’s the same with David and the temple. Even though God’s said No. David’s so committed to the idea that he goes ahead and organises EVERYTHING. He does everything BUT build the temple. And all his son Solomon has to do/ is walk in at the last moment, and throw everything into the pot. And out comes the temple. (Well, not quite. But you get the idea!)

Let’s scan through some of these chapters. And look at David’s preparations.

Most importantly, he knows Solomon’s the key. Everything hinges on HIM. If Solomon can’t see it through, then it won’t happen. So he needs to make sure Solomon’s up for it. Flip over to Ch 22 v5.

(1 Chr 22:5-11 NIV)  David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his . {6} Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. {7} David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the LORD my God. {8} But this word of the LORD came to me: ‘You have shed much and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much on the earth in my sight. {9} 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. {10} He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ {11} “Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would.

And then, at the start of Ch 23 David does something that’s unheard of. Something no other king would have DREAMED of doing. He actually lets Solomon become king BEFORE HE DIES.

He’s SO concerned that the temple gets built, he’s even prepared to step out of the limelight. He wants to make sure Solomon gets things right. And so he’s going to be looking over his shoulder for as long as he can. That’s how much building the temple means to David.

And he organises the labour force. Ch 22 v2 says he rounds up all the aliens living in Israel. (That’s non-Israelites, not Extra-terrestrials. Think “Snowy River hydroelectricity scheme”, rather than “Men in Black”)

And he orders all the building materials. Ch 22 v3 describes the nails and the fittings. More bronze than could be weighed. And more cedar logs than could be counted.

And not just your every-day materials either. Look down to v14. David’s talking to Solomon.

(1 Chr 22:14 NIV)  “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.

And he gets together all the Levites. That’s Ch 23. 38,000 SUPERVISORS. There must have been a HUGE workforce if there were that many supervisors.

Now, flip over to Ch 28 v11. David hands over the plans. You see, David’s not just the Clerk of Works – organising all the materials. Or the Human Resources manager – hiring all the staff. But he’s also the Architect. Look at v11.

(1 Chr 28:11-12 NIV)  Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. {12} He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things.

And if you look down to v14. He’s also the INTERIOR DESIGNER. Because he specifies the weight and design of every single utensil and bowl and lamp and lampstand and table.

But it was more than just a JOB to David. He was prepared to sacrifice EVERYTHING to see the temple built. Look down to Ch 29 v3. David even chips in with his PERSONAL fortune.

(1 Chr 29:3-4 NIV)  Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my PERSONAL TREASURES of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: {4} three thousand talents of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings,

And he gives the challenge to the people. How much does the temple mean to YOU? Will you match me? And they do. From v6 we see they nearly DOUBLE David’s efforts.

And so everything’s set for Solomon to start work. And we’ll see next week how he builds it.

3. Building a House

But remember back in Ch 17? God promises David a son who’ll BUILD A HOUSE for God. And although we assume he’s talking just Solomon, he’s got to be talking about SOMEONE ELSE as well. Listen to what he says about this person. V11

(1 Chr 17:11 NIV)  When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.

That’s fine so far. Solomon fits the bill.

(1 Chr 17:12-13 NIV)  He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne … FOREVER. {13} I will be his father, and he will be MY SON. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor.

Well, that COULD be Solomon. Although that FOREVER’s a bit of a worry. (Let’s keep going)

(1 Chr 17:14 NIV)  I will set him over my house and my kingdom FOREVER; his throne will be established FOREVER.'”

There’s that pesky “forever’ word again. The problem with it/ is that one day Solomon DID die. And although his sons succeeded him for a while. Eventually the Jews were defeated. And the throne was empty. And it’s been empty ever since. Hardly a throne that was established FOREVER.

And the Jews are still looking for someone to be crowned king. To sit on the throne that God’s established forever. But they missed it. It’s already happened. Listen to Lk Ch1 v31. (p723) It’s the angel talking to Mary.

(Luke 1:31-33 NIV)  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. {32} He will be great and will be called the SON OF THE MOST HIGH. The Lord God will give him THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID, {33} and he will reign over the house of Jacob FOREVER; his kingdom will never end.”

JESUS is the One God was telling David about. One of his sons. A King who’ll reign FOREVER.

But what about the house for God? That’s part of the promise too.

Yes, Solomon built the EARTHLY house for God – the temple. But Jesus built a much GREATER house for God. Flick over to Eph Ch2 v19. (p828) And Paul’s talking to THE CHURCH. He’s talking to YOU.

(Eph 2:19-22 NIV)  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s HOUSEHOLD, {20} (A house that’s) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF AS THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE. {21} IN HIM THE WHOLE BUILDING IS JOINED TOGETHER and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. {22} AND IN HIM YOU TOO ARE BEING BUILT TOGETHER to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

What’s the temple he’s talking about? Us! The Church! And who’s built the church? It’s Jesus. He’s the cornerstone. It’s joined together and rises because of Jesus.

But it’s got nothing to do with stone and wood and gold and silver. Jesus has built the church through his and resurrection. He’s paid the ransom, and been crowned king. And whenever someone recognises who Jesus is. And bows the knee to serve him. That’s another brick built onto the church.

And while God lived in Solomon’s temple. Represented by the Ark of the Covenant. V22 tells us that God lives in US, his holy temple, through his Holy Spirit. How much better is that?!

So what can we learn from David? David was so amazed at what God had done for him/ that he HAD to make sure the temple was built. God deserved everything he had. Every possession. Every scrap of energy he could muster. His heart and soul and mind and strength. God deserved it all.

And God still deserves everything WE can offer him. Because his grace to us is JUST as wonderful. Just as special. We mightn’t be kings. But God LIVES in US. He calls us his children. And promises us an inheritance.

And so we can build his house. His temple. His CHURCH. And may we have HALF the enthusiasm of David. Flip over to Ch 4 of Ephesians v11 (p828)

King Jesus, the builder of God’s house, the church, calls us to join with him in building the church. Using the gifts he’s given us. Look at v11.

(Eph 4:11-16 NIV)  It was Jesus who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, {12} to prepare God’s people for works of service, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP

That’s the work of building the temple. What’s YOUR gift? Teaching? Evangelising? Pastoring? How are you using it? Do you have the enthusiasm of David? The undivided 100% commitment to the task? Or have you slipped off the pace lately?

Who are you ENCOURAGING?

Who are you TEACHING?

Who are you SHARING Jesus with?

Who are you PREPARING for service?

Are you PRAYING that God would build his church?

May we do it all because we share David’s motivation. Sheer amazement that God would be interested in choosing us. And using us to build his temple. And giving us an inheritance.

(1 Chr 17:16-22 NIV)  …”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. …{20} “There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you, …

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