Once again, we are winding down the account of King David. We have seen the polished version of King David in 1 Chronicles and now we see the importance of worship, not only in David’s time but on into the future even until today. You will be tempted to skim the lists of names in today’s reading and move right to the reign of King Solomon in 2 Chronicles. But don’t do it! Think of all these names this way. The Jewish remnant who was returning from 70 years of exile in Babylon would read these words and these lists of names. These were people, faithful people who had gone before them, serving the Lord in His temple. The returning exiles faced a monumental challenge. The city of Jerusalem lay in ruins as did the temple. The courageous people would rebuild the city, the city walls, and the temple of the Lord. All these names would remind them they along with many who had come before were in fact doing the Lord’s work. God gave every minute detail to King David who then passed those instructions on to his son Solomon. Those lists of names also helped Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest examine the credentials of those who wanted to serve in the temple, and refuse those who were not qualified.
These chapters encouraged the Jews centuries before in their labors and now they would once again serve as encouragement for those who were rebuilding. When you read 1 Chronicles 22, 28, 29 and compare those verses with 1 Corinthians 3:3-29 you will see parallels that serve as encouragement for us as we build the church the way God’s Word demands. King David knew the Lord’s temple needed to be built with gold, silver, and precious stones and Paul took these materials and applied them spiritually to the local church. They stand for the wisdom of God as found in the Word of God. Wood, hay, and straw can be pickled up easily on the surface. But if you want gold, silver, and jewels you have to dig for them. We do not build the local church on clever human ideas or by imitating the world. We build by teaching and obeying the precious truths of the Word of God.
Solomon did not have to draw his own plans for the temple of the Lord because the Lord had already given the plans to David. And as we read and pray, the Lord shows us His plans for each local church. God has a different plan for each church. We are not called to blindly imitate other churches. God has a plan for each of us. It takes time in the Word and in prayer to discover what that might be. The temple was built to display the glory of God. Our task is to glorify God in all we do. When Solomon dedicated the temple the glory of the Lord moved in. And when Israel sinned, God’s glory moved out. How many churches today simply go through the motions of worship without any evidence of God’s glory? And think about this. We read in Isaiah 56:7 that the temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations, but in Jesus’ day the religious leaders had turned it into a den of thieves. How many churches today may be houses of music, education, and even social activities, but are they houses of prayer?
King David made careful preparation for the plans of the temple. Solomon was young and had never undertaken a project of this magnitude. The Lord had given David the plans for the temple just as He had given Moses the plans for the tabernacle. At the tail end of chapter 21 we watched as David gave offerings to the Lord to atone for his sin of ordering a census out of pride. The Lord made it known that place of offering was the place where He wanted His temple to be built. It is quite possible that David wrote Psalm 30 at this time in his life. King David enlisted both Jews and resident aliens to help with the building of the temple. There were 30,000 Jewish workers who were in Lebanon cutting timber and
150,000 resident aliens who cut and delivered massive stones from the hills, supervised by Jewish foremen. However, these resident aliens were not slaves. The law of Moses clearly prohibited such practices. (See Exodus 22:21; 23:9, and Leviticus 19:33.) It is interesting that both Jews and Gentiles worked on the construction of the temple for the Lord. It is an indication that the temple was indeed a house for all nations. Not only was King David the keeper of the temple plans, but he was a cheerleader for his son Solomon. For years David had been amassing materials for the building of the temple. He encouraged the leaders of the Israelites to help Solomon in this huge endeavor and David kept encouraging Solomon to be sure to complete the work needed for the temple. He made sure Solomon knew that this was the will of the Lord, and as such the Lord would help him finish it. We even see David encourage Solomon with the same words Moses encouraged Joshua with…” Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid.”
When we say that King David had been amassing large quantities of materials, we are serious. King David had amassed 3,750 TONS of gold and 37,500 TONS of silver and there was so much bronze and iron it could not be weighed. It is also clear that the organization of the temple ministers and ministries was important to David. King David was a gifted administrator, and we see that in some of the last chapters of 1 Chronicles. In chapter 23 David organized the Levites. Chapter 24 gives us the organization of the priests. Chapter 25 organizes the temple singers and chapter 26 the temple officers. It is clear King David wanted to ensure that everything in God’s house would be done properly and in order. To make the decisions David and his two priests drew lots. This was the same process Joshua used when he gave the twelve tribes their inheritance in the promised land. But know this: the priests and Levites were not being organized just to be organized. They were being organized and set aside for service in the house of the Lord.
The Levites assisted the priests in the sanctuary ministry, and they were required to be at least 30 years old. Later that number was lowered to 20. And what we see here the apostle Paul wrote about centuries later. There was one temple, one high priest, one divine law and one Lord to serve, but there was also a diversity of gifts, talents, and ministries. Just like the church today…one body and many members. The fact that the Levites took care of the sanctuary while the priests served at the altar didn’t mean their work was any more or less important to the ministry or to the Lord. The same is true today. However we are gifted and called to serve, that glorifies the Lord. And we are called to serve to the best of our abilities. David also organized the temple musicians and provided them with the necessary instruments so that they too could praise the Lord. Nothing that the priests and Levites did was left to chance or human intervention. It was all ordained by the Lord. It was necessary for the priests to be descendants of Aaron. David had two high priests. Zadok was a descendant of Aaron through Eleazar, and Ahimelech was a descendant of Aaron through the son of Abiathar who came from the line of Ithamar. Abiathar was David’s friend and priest during his days of exile from Saul.
Finally, for Solomon to be able to build the temple, Israel had to remain a strong nation, and at peace with the neighbors. Young Solomon was not a military genius like his father. So, David organized the army as well. David’s army was made up of 288,000 men. It was not a large army. It was comprised by twelve divisions, each made up of 24,000 men. This represented all twelve of the tribes of Israel. Each division served for one month under the command of one of David’s mighty men. If a military emergency arose David could call all 288,000 at the same time. Each of the tribes had a tribal leader and the tribes were then broken down into smaller units. So, the king could summon 12 men and through them eventually reach all the people.
We also see that there was no tax structure under King David like there was under Saul and there would be under Solomon. It seems David’s tastes were not as expensive as Solomons. We read about David’s managers, his counselors (every leader needs an inner circle of people who will advise them). My favorite of all however, is this one sentence. It comes in 1 Chronicles 27:33. After a long list of names of David’s overseers we read “And Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend”! Imagine your one responsibility in the kingdom was being the king’s friend. It would be a trusted confidant sort of a position. And Hushai the Arkite is listed in scripture. How cool is that anyway?!
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W