Celebrating God’s Provision
1 Chronicles 29:1-20
September 30, 2001 | Brian Bill
As you turn in your Bibles to 1 Chronicles 28, let me set the framework for our study of God’s Word. David is nearing the end of his reign and is realizing that he does not have much longer to live. King David would have loved to build the Temple but 1 Chronicles 28:3 tells us that because he was a warrior and had shed blood, God wanted Solomon, David’s son, to build it instead. Even though David was not allowed to construct God’s house, he accomplished two very important tasks.
1. He launched the project.
David had made plans to construct the temple in verse 2 but he told Solomon in verse 10 to “be strong and complete the project.” These plans and specifications, according to verses 11-12, which were put into His mind by the Spirit of God, were handed to Solomon. David was given an extraordinary ability to read these divine blueprints in verse 19: “All this I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and He gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”
2. He challenged the people to be fully committed to God.
David recognized that while the Temple building was essential, if believers were not completely committed to God, their whole community would implode. The key in any building campaign must be spiritual growth, not just more bricks and mortar. David raises the spiritual bar for the people in 1 Chronicles 28:8: “…Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God…” He then charges Solomon in verse 9 to “acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind…”
In verse 20, David tells his son to be strong and courageous and to do the work. This word “work” can mean “to bring forth” or “to bruise,” and carries with it the idea of bringing something to completion. The work would not be easy but it needed to be done. Solomon would wear the scars that come from a building program. 1 Kings 6:38 tells us that it took seven years to finish. The last part of verse 20 provides Solomon with a promise: “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 for the temple of the Lord is finished.”
With that as background, turn now to 1 Chronicles 29. The outline that I’m going to use is not original with me. I’m borrowing it from Mike Andrus, pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church in St. Louis
The Purpose of the House of God
The purpose of the building project is found in verse 1: “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.’” Solomon is young and he’s green. The implication is that he’s not as strong as David was. But, since God had chosen him for the job, he could certainly do it. The task was great, which means that it was huge, or noble, because it was not being built for the people, but for God Himself.
The temple was not a man-centered project but a God-centered one. The primary purpose was to bring glory to God. It was to be a place where people could come and be reminded of His awesomeness and majesty. In short, it was a place where they could worship Him in the splendor of His holiness.
Our church facilities should have the same purpose. While God doesn’t dwell in physical buildings today, a building can help us draw our attention to Him. Buildings don’t change lives, but what happens inside them does. We should always ask this question when we embark on any expansion plan, “Will this building exalt God and serve as a tool to produce disciples?” It will not be an end in itself, but a means to accomplishing our six-fold IMPACT purpose statement from Acts 2:42-47
- Instructing in God’s Word
- Mobilizing for ministry
- Praying with faith
- Adoring God in worship
- Caring for one another
- Telling others the gospel
The Payment for the House of God
This building project had a pretty hefty price tag. Are you ready for this? Scholars figure that the cost of the Temple in today’s economy was somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 billion dollars! That’s a lot of shekels.
Now that would be a complicated construction project! Actually, David’s building campaign was pretty simple and extremely effective. He first declared his own commitment and sacrifice. Then the leaders communicated their decision. Finally, the people followed joyfully and willingly.
1. David’s commitment (2-5a).
In verses 2-5a, David says, “With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God…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: three thousand talents of gold and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen.”
Because of all that God had done for him, he gave much
The resources in verse 2 were probably funds gained through taxation because in verse 3, David says that he gave out of his “personal treasures.” I want you to notice two things about his giving. First, his giving came out of his devotion to God. Second, he gave over and above what was expected of him. Because of all that God had done for him, he gave much like the Macedonians did in 2 Corinthians 8:3: “They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.”
David contributed about 110 tons of gold and 260 tons of silver! That’s about $2 billion in our currency today. Then using his own example as a basis of encouragement, David poses a question at the end of verse 5: “Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord?” The word, “consecrate” means to “fill one’s hand.” It’s the idea of coming to God with those things that we value in our hands. It was also used when someone was “set apart” or ordained for the priesthood. David is posing the question, “How many of you are willing to engage yourselves fully in the service of the Lord by bringing to Him that which you treasure?” David is not asking his people to do anything that he isn’t willing to do first.
2. The Commitment of the Leaders (5b-8).
Following David’s example, the leaders then gave generously. The phrase, “willingly” in verse 6 literally means, “to volunteer, as a soldier.” They were reporting for duty as they voluntarily gave 190 tons of gold, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3,750 tons of iron. They came with full hands and willing hearts. Verse 8 reveals that they basically gave what they had: “Any who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the Lord…” They willingly offered their precious possessions. David gave over $2 billion and the leaders about $4 billion.
3. The people follow joyfully (9).
Verse 9 tells us that that the people were filled with joy because of the willing response of their leaders. This word, “rejoice” means “to brighten up.” Verse 17 reveals that because they brightened up with joy, they became givers as well. That’s what we learned last Sunday. People don’t give when they have more money; people give when they have more joy! 2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us to give cheerfully, or hilariously.
Praise for the God of the House
The last phrase of verse 9 says, “David the king also rejoiced greatly.” He was filled with joy because people were giving hilariously but he didn’t praise the people, or the leaders, or even himself. According to verse 10, he praised God in prayer and in the presence of the whole assembly. His response to all the willingness and generosity and joyful giving is to give praise to God. God had revealed Himself in a tangible way. John Piper, when commenting on this passage, puts it well when he says: “The giving of money for the house of God was the work of God in order to reveal God so that we would stand in awe of God. It’s all about God, not about us.” In other words, it’s all about His majesty, not our money. It’s not our gifts that matter, but His glory.
Let’s look at some of the attributes that David celebrates in this prayer of praise in verses 11-12: “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory 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.”
- God is faithful (10). Verse 10: “Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” He has a history of faithfulness because He is God from everlasting to everlasting. Just as He was faithful to Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, He will be faithful to us today.
- God is great (11). He is expansive and larger than anything in the universe. Psalm 77:13: “Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?”
- God is powerful (11). He is not only big; He is omnipotent. The word “Almighty,” which occurs 345 times in the Bible, is never used of anyone but God. He alone is all-powerful as Psalm 89:8 says, “O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.”
- God is glorious (11). This word implies beauty and splendor. His greatness and His power are beautiful. In 1 Chronicles 16:29, after bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city, David sang a song that contains these words in the King James Version: “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” True beauty comes only through holiness.
- God is majestic (11). This means that He has the marks of royalty. When we enter His presence, we don’t come lightly. Instead, we stand in awe and tremble with joy.
- God is filled with splendor (11). This word literally means, “a precious thing” and implies rarity. God is of great value. There is nothing else like Him.
- God owns all things (11). “Everything in heaven and earth is yours.” God owns the world and everything in it. He owns my house, my car, and my family. Nothing I have actually belongs to me. It all belongs to Him. I am but a trustee of God’s possessions.
- God is the ruler of everything (12). He owns everything and governs all that He owns. He has ruling authority as king over all.
- God is the source of riches, honor, and strength (12). Friends, everything you have and everything you are has its source in God.
In Verse 13 David breaks into praise much like the way he began in verse 10: “Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
Priorities for God’s People
David continues his prayer in verses 14-20 by spelling out some priorities for God’s people.
1. Generosity (14-16).
Verse 14 may be the clearest theological statement about giving in the entire Bible: “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.” As we’ve said throughout this series, everything that we have is His in the first place. It remains His even when He loans it to us. When we are generous we are doing nothing more than opening our hands and allowing God to use and multiply what belongs to Him.
Since we’re pilgrims here on earth it makes sense for us to invest our treasures in heaven
David understands that it’s all about God and not about us. Look at verse 15: “We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.” This is really a humble statement for David to make. He was the King and yet he knew that he was just an alien, or a stranger, passing through this earth. We’re all just dust piled high and held in place by God. We’re dependent upon Him for every ounce of strength, every breath of life, every beat of our heart. Since we’re pilgrims here on earth it makes sense for us to invest our treasures in heaven.
In verse 16, the Holy Spirit through His Word, drives home the point that even our giving is a gift from God: “O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.” It goes from His hand to our hands. When we give, instead of clenching our fists around that which we think is ours, we’re simply opening our hands, and giving back to Him.
2. Integrity (17).
Verse 17 tells us that God is pleased when we give with integrity. God sees our heart when we give. If we’re giving grudgingly, God would rather that we don’t give at all. If we’re giving in order to gain favor with Him, God wants us to keep our wallets in our pockets until we understand that He’s done everything for us through Jesus. There are really three kinds of giving.
- Grudge giving is when I say, “I hate to”
- Duty giving is when I feel “I have to”
- Thanksgiving means that “I want to”
David gave willingly and he’s filled with joy because he sees that same sense of readiness to respond in the people. Six times in this chapter David speaks about the people’s eagerness to give. He recognizes that this response can only come from the grace of God.
3. Loyalty (18).
In verse 18, David recognizes that many of us tend to drift, or as the hymn writer says, we’re prone to wander. As a result, He calls on God to “keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.” There are so many things that distract us from God, aren’t there? It can be a bad thing, or a neutral thing, or even a good thing. David is saying, “God, keep this spirit of cheerful and willing generosity in the hearts of your people and keep their hearts connected with you.”
4. Commitment to a vision (19).
“Give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.” Time has a way of dulling anyone’s vision. It’s important for leadership to stay focused on that which is paramount – the supremacy of God in all things and the necessity of being sold out to Him so that we can hear His heart and respond to His leading. We must pray that the Lord would keep His vision alive for our church and that we would have the courage to follow Him no matter what.
5. Worship (20).
When David was done praying, he called the people to praise and worship in verse 20: “So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers, they bowed low and fell prostrate before the Lord and the king.” To “bow down” means to “shrivel up or bend the body in deference.”
A number of words are translated “worship” in the Bible. The one used most frequently means to bow down and do homage. We want to offer reverence and respect for God – that’s how He made us. But, sometimes our pride gets in the way and we end up worshipping the created instead of the Creator. It’s way too easy for us to worship what we’ve been given instead of bowing down to the Giver.
In worship, God is asking us to do something that we were uniquely designed to do but at the same time, what our sinful nature rebels against. The key is to develop such a high view of God that we are overwhelmed by His awesomeness and catapulted into worship.
Partying in the Presence of God
The final step is celebration. In verse 21, the people made sacrifices to the Lord and in verse 22, “They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day.” Notice that they are not celebrating the completion of the building project, but rather its commencement. Actually, they’re celebrating because they had the privilege of participating in providing the resources for it.
We’ve been reminded of God’s purposes. We’ve learned about how God’s people responded in paying for those things that matter to Him. We understand more of what it means to praise God and we’re refocused on His priorities for us as a church. Because of all that, we can party in His presence!