David understood that preparing to build the temple was not simply a matter of gathering supplies and organizing the workers. It meant preparing people for ongoing worship of the Lord. Worship that honors God comes from obedient and thankful hearts focused on glorifying Him.
We are going to cover several chapters now, beginning in 1 Chronicles chapter 22, where we’re given details about David’s preparation for his son Solomon to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. David had wanted to build this great temple for God’s glory, but he was forbidden to do so back in 2 Samuel 7.
You might remember that the two books of Chronicles repeat much of the material we find in the books of 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. But whenever 1 and 2 Chronicles give us some additional information, well, we want to take note of that in our Wisdom Journey. And that is exactly what’s happening here now in 1 Chronicles 22, as some unique information is given to us in this account.
We read here in verse 6: “Then he [David] called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel.”
Down in verses 9-10 we read God’s promise to David:
“Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest [peace]. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.”
Instead of getting upset and jealous of his son’s opportunity, David does everything he can to encourage his son, as well as prepare materials for his son to use. In fact, David has collected massive amounts of gold and silver—40,000 tons!—along with wood and stone.
Just imagine, that’s one thousand semi-trailer trucks—we call them eighteen-wheelers. Well, it would take one thousand of them filled to capacity to hold all the stuff David has collected for this building project.
Not only that, the workmen are ready and available. So, in verse 16, David urges Solomon, “Arise and work! The Lord be with you!” In other words, “Let’s get these eighteen-wheelers unloaded and the work started.”
Keep in mind that preparing to build the temple is only half the story. Preparing for the worship of God is part of this as well. So, for the next five chapters—1 Chronicles 23 through 26—we are given the details surrounding the Levites and the priests, who will lead the nation in worship. Now at first glance, this is a long list of names you can’t pronounce. But if you look closely, some changes in the duties of the Levites are being given as David divides the Levites into four special groups.
One group is to serve in the temple. We read of them in chapter 23:
Their duty was to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God. (verse 28)
If you look over at chapters 25 and 26, the other three groups of Levites are organized. One group are musicians, who know how to play on the lyres, harps, and cymbals. These are the choir directors and composers and orchestral members in this great music program in Israel’s worship.
Another group serve as gatekeepers, or temple guards. This group apparently includes the treasurers as well. Finally, the Levites in the fourth group serve as magistrates and teachers of the law. So that takes care of organizing the Levites.
Now back in 1 Chronicles 24, the priests are organized. They are descendants of Aaron—and they are placed into twenty-four divisions—twenty-four different shifts, so to speak. They will rotate on and off duty, offering sacrifices and performing much of the labor in the temple.
The obvious question here is why all these details are given to us. Well, they demonstrate how critically important worshiping God is as a community of believers. I know far too many people who say they are Christians but choose a golf game or a child’s sports travel team over worshiping with their church family.
Well, we’re not through with the lists quite yet. Chapter 27 names various civil officials: military leaders (verses 1-15), leaders of Israel’s tribes (verses 16-24), bookkeepers and administrators over the king’s properties (verses 25-31), and finally the king’s cabinet of counselors at the end of the chapter (verses 32-34).
Now here in chapter 28, King David addresses all the leaders of Israel and gives quite a speech on the promise of God to build a temple through Solomon. Then David turns again to Solomon and offers one of the best father-son challenges you will ever hear:
“Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.” (verse 9)
Listen, many fathers will tell their children, “Get good grades, get a good job, marry a nice person, invest in the right stock, and buy a house in a good neighborhood for value.” But how many will tell their children, “What matters most in life is that you follow God with your whole heart and a willing mind”?
That’s the father-son conversation that needs to happen today. Was David saying this because he was perfect? Far from it. But he knew how to confess his sin, and God was his highest priority.
This fantastic father-son challenge continues in verse 20:
“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”
David is assuring Solomon that this great task isn’t just on his shoulders. In fact, in chapter 29 David also encourages the entire nation to consecrate themselves to the Lord (verse 5).
And like most preachers today, when David finishes his message to the nation and this encouragement to his son, he passes the offering plate. He literally invites everyone to give to this great building project.
We are told here in chapter 29 that people were excited to give what they could—gold, silver, bronze, iron, and precious stones—to the temple treasury.
And with that, David now leads his nation in prayer:
“O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. . . . I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. O Lord . . . Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments.” (verses 16-19)
Oh, let this be the prayer we pray for our own lives: “Lord, everything I have is already yours; take me. I offer everything freely and joyously to you, O Lord.”
Wow! What a way to live. Beloved, this is the only way to live.
Lord, give me a heart that is entirely devoted to you.