DAVID’S PREPARATIONS 1 Chronicles 22–29
“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” (1 Chron. 22:5).Trusting the promise that his son would construct the temple he had yearned to build, David dedicated his last years to making preparations for a structure he would never see. We too are wise to prepare for a future beyond the span of our years here on earth.
Definition of Key Terms
The descendants of Levi were set aside during the Exodus to serve God. In that age their primary duty was to assist the priests and to take down, set up, and transport the tabernacle and its sacred objects. With a permanent temple about to be built, the Levites’ duties had to be rethought. David gave much time to planning the duties of the Levites and organizing the tribe for temple service.
David made preparations for the temple Solomon was to build (22:1–13). He assembled materials (vv. 14–19), organized tasks for the Levites (23:1–32; 24:20–31) and serving priests (vv. 1–19), trained musicians (25:1–31), assigned guards (“gatekeepers”) (26:1–19), and created other offices (vv. 20–32). David also reorganized the army (27:1–34). Near the end David charged Israel’s officials to accept Solomon as king, and presented Solomon with detailed plans for the temple (28:1–21). David and others gave generously to the temple project, and David dedicated the gifts (29:1–20). David placed Solomon on his throne (vv. 21–25) and died (vv. 26–30).
Understanding the Text
“Devote your heart and your soul to seeking the Lord your God” 1 Chron. 22:1–19. David reminded Solomon of the promises God made to him, and exhorted his son to build the temple. But David was most concerned about Solomon’s personal rather than public commitment to God. Solomon had to be devoted to the Lord and obedient, or his accomplishments would be meaningless. The splendor of the temple Solomon was to construct, the activity of the Levites and priests carrying out their duties there, would all be empty if not motivated by love for the Lord. “David separated them into divisions” 1 Chron. 24:1–19. Each division of priests served for two weeks at the temple, then returned to their home cities. This plan was in use in Jesus’ time (see Luke 1:8). “David . . . set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals” 1 Chron. 25:1–31. One of David’s important contributions was to formally establish the role of music in worship. The “prophesying, accompanied” most probably indicates psalms set to music for public worship. Many of the psalms have musical notations in their superscriptions. “The divisions of the gatekeepers” 1 Chron. 26:1–19. The “gatekeepers” were armed Levites who occupied guard posts on the temple grounds. They not only were to keep order but also to protect the vast wealth to be assembled in temple treasure rooms. A variety of musical instruments were used in David’s time. These were played at feasts and celebrations. They also made a vital contribution to public worship, which in Israel often was infused with a vibrant sense of joyous excitment. Harps, lyres, cymbals, and different kinds of horns provided accompaniment for recitation of many of the Bible’s psalms. “The army divisions” 1 Chron. 27:1–24. Israel, like other states, relied on citizen armies. Farmers and artisans became soldiers in time of national emergency, and then returned to their homes. David’s innovation was to divide the citizen army into a dozen divisions of 24,000 men, each of which was on duty 1 month and off duty 11. The training provided during the duty month would keep Israel militarily strong and ready. David’s innovation was effective, and illustrates the modern doctrine of “peace through strength.” Not once during Solomon’s 40-year reign did Israel have to go to war. The military was ready—and unused. “He has chosen” 1 Chron. 28:1–21. For a third time, the writer of Chronicles refers to the Davidic Covenant (cf. also 17:1–15; 22:1–19). God had chosen David and lifted him up to be king. God also chose Solomon to succeed David and to build His temple. All that had happened was rooted in God’s sovereign choice. But God’s sovereign will does not rule out the exercise of man’s free will. It is the responsibility of those God has chosen to acknowledge the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly. David’s words to Solomon might well be addressed to you and me. God has chosen us in Christ, and through Christ granted us forgiveness and new life. So we are to acknowledge God “and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (v. 9). As David promised, if we seek God we will find Him. But if we reject God, we will never experience His blessing.
Our Personal Treasures (1 Chron. 28–29)
David’s vision saw well beyond his time. David devoted his last years to planning a temple he knew he would not live to see. Then David took yet another step. He reported to an assembly of government officials, “I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God” (29:3). David’s example moved others to give as freely and wholeheartedly. He offered a prayer of dedication (vv. 10–13), and then explained his philosophy of giving. That explanation, taken to heart, can make our own giving joyous and spontaneous. What, then, did David understand about giving? David realized that “everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” God is the greatest Giver of all. We take no risk in giving His own back to Him. David realized that “our days on earth are like a shadow.” The person who piles up treasures on earth is foolish. The only way to keep our personal treasures forever is to give them away, for then we will have reward in heaven. David knew that God tests the heart and is pleased with integrity. God does not value the amount we give, but our intention. David gave “willingly and with honest intent.” His giving was an expression of the reality of his love for the Lord. If you and I adopt David’s viewpoint on material wealth, it will make a difference in our giving. But most important of all, trust in God’s ability to provide for us, and a perspective that values eternity more than time, will free us to experience giving as a joy and a true expression of our love for the Lord.
Giving is not a duty but a privilege.