Reader: “Learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately.”
Response: “Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind.”
Scripture: I Chronicles 28:1-10
David summoned all the officials of Israel to Jerusalem—the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of the army divisions, the other generals and captains, the overseers of the royal property and livestock, the palace officials, the mighty men, and all the other brave warriors in the kingdom. David rose to his feet and said: “My brothers and my people! It was my desire to build a Temple where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, God’s footstool, could rest permanently. I made the necessary preparations for building it, but God said to me, ‘You must not build a Temple to honor my name, for you are a warrior and have shed much blood.’
“Yet the Lord, the God of Israel, has chosen me from among all my father’s family to be king over Israel forever. For he has chosen the tribe of Judah to rule, and from among the families of Judah he chose my father’s family. And from among my father’s sons the Lord was pleased to make me king over all Israel. And from among my sons—for the Lord has given me many—he chose Solomon to succeed me on the throne of Israel and to rule over the Lord’s kingdom. He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will build my Temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him as my son, and I will be his father. And if he continues to obey my commands and regulations as he does now, I will make his kingdom last forever.’
“So now, with God as our witness, and in the sight of all Israel—the Lord’s assembly—I give you this charge. Be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, so that you may continue to possess this good land and leave it to your children as a permanent inheritance.
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.”
As you read this simple narration it is important to grasp a deeper understanding of what is happening as King David speaks to his leaders and his people. David was Israel’s greatest king. During his rule he conquered the land God had given to Israel. There was peace and prosperity throughout the territory. The Ark of the Covenant had travelled from place to place. David’s heart’s desire was to build a Temple, a permanent place for the Ark, a resting place for the presence of God. As you know, because David had shed much blood in his life as a warrior, God designated his son, Solomon, as the one to build the Temple. David provided the materials and plans God had given him to Solomon.
I want you to notice the care of God’s hand in David’s life. The unfolding began hundreds of years before David was even born. When old Jacob died in Egypt some 400 years earlier, he gave each of his twelve sons a blessing. His blessing to Judah was that a scepter would “not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.” (Gen.49:9-10) The ultimate Ruler would be from the tribe of Judah. God picked the family of Jesse out of thousands of descendants. Of all of Jesse’s sons, he picked David to be king over all of Israel. What is more, of all of David’s many sons, God chose Solomon to succeed David as king and also the one to build the Temple. There was the stipulation that if Solomon followed the Lord, his kingdom would last forever. He didn’t and it didn’t! (Note our earlier discussion about Matthew’s genealogical record.)
David gave him (and us) this wise admonition. Learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Learning is a process, something you work at. It doesn’t just come through osmosis! The second part has to do with intimacy. Be intimate with God. Be transparent, honest. Worship and serve him whole-heartedly. Be serious about it. Don’t play at worship. It’s not entertainment. It’s interaction with God. He knows your thoughts and your plans. You don’t have to tell him, he already knows even as you think them! If you seek him, you will find him. Interestingly, this is exactly what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount! (Matt. 7:7-8) David’s final words to Solomon, “Be strong and do it!”
What does it mean to “seek him?” If you seek someone, you try to get together with them. You seek a playing partner to play tennis. To seek God is to get together with God. Your attention is undivided. You are most likely reading the Scriptures and listening for his voice at the same time―the purpose for these daily devotionals. The bottom line is to have an intimate conversation with the Lord. In David’s words, “Be strong and do it.”
Music: “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks at Night” Atlanta Master Chorale
O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with the visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy Presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ’s sake. Amen. ―A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p.72