Preparing for Life’s Final Transition (1 Kings 2, 1 Chronicles 22)

There is nothing wrong with caring about leaving a legacy. In fact, there is everything right about doing it in a way that continues your voice beyond your own generation and time and life to speak to future generations about your values regarding things eternal.

As much as David could be rightly criticized for his failures as a father to control his children and manage his family well, he really cared deeply about the issue of Solomon’s role in building an appropriate temple for the centralized presence of God in the nation. And David cared deeply that Solomon himself be consecrated in his heart to have the opportunity for such success.

Though David was not to be the one to build a magnificent temple for the Lord, rather than sulk about God not allowing such a wonderful desire to find fruition, David gets involved in the project by making practical preparations of materials. That is having a vision beyond one’s own life – a vision and passion for the Kingdom of God.

The two passages today speak about David’s preparations and also of his encouragement and words of wisdom to his son Solomon.

1 Chronicles 22:5-10

5 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 death.

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 blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood 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.’

David’s Charge to Solomon – 1 Kings 2:1-12

2:1  When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.

2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

5 “Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6 Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.

7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

8 “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ 9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”

10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.

As I shared this past Sunday, I would challenge everyone to write their own autobiographical memoir. Think of it as a long letter – a book even – for the benefit of your immediately-surviving AND future generations. Speak of the events of your life that were so meaningful to you. Trace the hand of God through your varied experiences. Share your successes and failures, and write timeless truths and words of encouragement – your vision – for the legacy and generations of your family.

I was running so late on time this past Sunday that I did not share with you that I have begun this work, though actually I’ve not worked on it lately. But I had a lot of the early years of my life previously written about in a first draft form in my computer. I mentioned it to the portion of my family when we were on the long drive home from a summer vacation to Boston this year. The boys wanted to hear it, so I pulled it out and read from it – much of it written maybe even 8-10 years ago.  And they loved it and I could tell it meant a lot to them and was something they would like to have and pass on.

So, think generationally. That’s how we roll at TSF.

I hope our brief time on the life of David was beneficial to all of you. Some of it will appear again in coming weeks for our brief Christmas season series on Christ’s ancestry – The Roots of Faith. Our next devotional will appear just in advance of that series that begins on Sunday, December 7th.

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David’s Legacy (1 Chronicles 22)

I realize this illustration has been overdone, but it’s worth repeating at least one more time.  How many of you can remember the name of your grandfather?  Chances are, you have no trouble coming up with exactly who it is.  What about your great-grandfather?  Less of you, to be sure, but I suspect I could still see a few hands waving?  What about your great-great-grandfather?  Maybe—and I mean maybe—you know a few details, though these have become the oft-repeated stories of family tradition.  The lesson?  Each of us is forever on the cusp of insignificance.  We are merely a few generations away from being forgotten by all but the most determined of genealogists.  The legacy we pass on is greater than the person who passed it on.  David understood this—that’s why he passed his legacy on to Solomon.

Today we look at the story contained in 1 Chronicles 22.  The original Hebrew name for the books of Chronicles was “The Things Left Behind.”  If the books of Samuel and Kings contained the facts of history, the books of Chronicles contained the meaning of history—sort of a theological commentary on the reign of the kings.

Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” 2 David commanded to gather together the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. 3 David also provided great quantities of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing, 4 and cedar timbers without number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David. 5 For David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.  (1 Chronicles 22:1-5)

David took great care to ensure that the Temple would be created with excellence and magnificence attendant to its purpose: a physical structure through which heaven and earth would intersect.  The people would worship God in and through the Temple.

DAVID’S LEGACY TO SOLOMON

David now passed this task on to his son.  It seems probable that Samuel’s timeline is the most accurate one: David received God’s promise from God in 2 Samuel 7.  Then later he would sin with Bathsheeba, later producing a rightful heir, Solomon.  Now, later in life, David here repeats God’s promise for Solomon’s benefit.  The scene might easily conjure up other images of great men passing on God’s mission to the next in line (Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha):

6 Then he called for Solomon his son 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 to the name of the Lord my God. 8 But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. 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. 10 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.’

11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. 12 Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. 14 With great pains I have provided for the house of the Lord 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. 15 You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working 16 gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and work! The Lord be with you!”

17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, 18 “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not given you peace on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and his people. 19 Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 22:6-19)

David saw to it that his son would have every available opportunity for success in building God’s temple.

A TRUE AND BETTER TEMPLE

In today’s world, we may be tempted to think of faith as something like the family photograph album.  We value it, treasure it, long for the day when we can pass it on to our kids—though for now it rests in a box in the back of the closet, growing yellow and brittle with disuse.

Yet we fear a world that has no more room for a “temple.”  What good is a temple when we have a laboratory?  What good is a kingdom when we have social welfare programs?  The modern world has crushed the need for religion beneath the wheels of human progress.  Why would we expect our kids to assemble the pieces again?  But according to Economist editors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, American Christianity will never suffer the same demise as its European counterpart.  Why?  Because, they argue, the decline in organized religion has only opened a free market of religious ideas.  We’re not destined for less spirituality, they insist, but more—albeit of a more personal, individualized variety.

Therefore, we need a new generation that connects with God like never before.  We need a generation that understands the gospel, a generation for whom the gospel penetrates to the core.  When Jesus came to earth, He became the true and better temple—a body through whom we connect to God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).  The greatest legacy we can leave for our kids isn’t financial or even academic success.  It isn’t the trophies we win on the athletic field.  It’s not even morality.  It’s Jesus—or, more specifically, a closer walk with him.  That doesn’t mean that all the other stuff is insignificant.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Now, sports practice takes on new purpose and meaning.  Academics find a new focus.   Why?  Because now these are no longer opportunities for personal advancement, but chances to share the love of Christ with the world.

Let that be our legacy, as men and women who love the gospel.