Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 22:6-16
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!"
Sermon: "The LORD Be With You"
David is giving his charge to his son, Solomon. He prepares Solomon for the task that he himself wanted to do but was entrusted to his son to do. Last week, I shared that the mark of greatness in a leader is in the preparation of his or her successor. That is why discipleship is so important in the church. You could have a great preacher or leader but once something happens to that person, the church dwindles. Yet, through discipleship, the training of believers to follow Jesus, the church can persevere and thrive even after a great leader disappears. After I had to move on from a campus ministry where God was doing some really remarkable things, one of the best things I had ever heard from someone was that things were going even better after I left.
2 Timothy 2:2: "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
While I don't want to exalt a human, but I think you can appreciate David in this conversation.
First, he shares about himself. David had been ritually defiled, or considered unclean because of all the blood he shed in battle. Thus, he was ineligible to make the temple, though it was in his heart. There is something to be said about learning from those who went ahead of us. In addition to learning from the successes of our predessors, we can certainly learn from failures. There is a song about a father who is serving time in prison speaking to his son:
Life's like a river and the water is deep.
Cross it with care or you'll end up like me.
Let my mistakes be your stepping-stones,
And walk on the rocks I stumbled on.
But more than sharing about his failures, he shares that it was not meant for him to building the temple. David had a purpose in the history for Israel.
Acts 13:36: "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption."
David had to fight battles so that Israel could enjoy a time of peace. And in this time of peace, the temple could be built by Solomon.
Next, he shares about who Solomon is to be. He communicates to Solomon Solomon's important place in Israel's history.
We have integral places in history. Just as David was called to serve God's purpose in his generation, we have a purpose to fulfill in our generation. In some respects, our purpose remains the same as that of others throughout redemptive history, such as the call to worship, live holy lives, and lead others to Christ. But we face issues and challenges that are peculiar to our generation and in our particular community. Further, we have individual purposes to fulfill. I used to struggle when I saw more talented ministers than myself: "Why can't that guy be here? I'm sure my congregation would rather have him. I would." Yet, for some reason or other, that is not the call of that particular person. And you may see people who seem more spiritual or more talented than you and wonder why you and not that other person is where you are. But God has placed you where you are, and only you can fulfill that purpose in that particular place. It may be in your family or in your workplace or with a friend that needs help. And we need the grace and wisdom of God to fulfill it.
Finally, he points Solomon to the Lord.
David echoes the charge given to Joshua before he was about to lead the Israelites into the promised land:
Joshua 1:8-9: "8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
And it echoes the charge given to Jesus to his disciples, the charge to which we have to this day.
God may call us to God-sized tasks. These tasks seem overwhelming or impossible. It may be the task of going on missions. Or it may be the task of dealing with an habitual sin. Or just simply living a holy life in a less-than-holy environment. Or dealing with relationships that seem impossible. We can be hopeless. Yet, in such circumstances, the promise of God is his presence. In the presence and power of God, we can accomplish those things that are impossible by our own strength.
Jesus says in John 15:5: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
And this is the confession of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
The temple, while glorious, would not be complete nor perfect. That perfect place where God dwells would find its fulfillment in Jesus. He is the one who came to dwell with his people.
John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
In is in Jesus Christ, that he is with us.
The Holy Spirit lives and dwells in us, making us the temple of the living God. He does so with us individually.
In his rebuke against sexual immorality, Paul says to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
He also dwells with his church. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is more than just a reason for exhortation for holy living but a promise of power to fulfill God's purposes.
And upon his return, he will bring his people to the glorious temple in heaven.
May be draw strength from the God who is with us to do that which he calls us to do.