Wednesday, March 21, 2018

God is worthy of our Best

Read 2 Chronicles 3-5.

The location of the Temple was Mount Moriah.  This is one of the most sacred spots on earth.  It was the very spot that David purchased from Ornan in 1 Chronicles 21 and worshiped there.  A thousand years before, Abraham walked up this same mount to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22.

Today, it is known as the Temple Mount where the Moslem Dome of the Rock stands.  When Israel constructs its future Temple, according to Biblical prophecy, it will be on this site (Daniel 9, Revelation 11).  Obviously, some major events will need to take place first in order for the Jews to regain the use of that property.

The details of the construction and items inside were nothing short of magnificent.   It was ornate with carved woodwork.  The pure gold coverings and burnished bronze furnishings made it glisten.  Expensive?  Yes.  Opulent?  Yes. Many would consider this unnecessary and a waste of money that could have been better used to meet other needs.  But keep in mind that God gave King David these instructions.  God provided the resources to complete what He had ordered.  In chapter 2, Solomon stated that the Temple would be great because God is greater that all gods.  They worshiped the LORD with the best because He is worthy.

When the Ark was in place, the musicians began to praise the LORD: "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."  At that, God filled the place with His visible presence and stopped the service!

Questions for all of us:
1. Do we worship God and live for Him with a "just enough to get by" attitude?  Or, do we worship and live for Him with the best we have to offer?

2. When was the last time the presence of God was so strong you had to stop what you were doing and enjoy the moment?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Two Penetrating Questions about Worship

Read 2 Chronicles 2.

Solomon took up the passion of his father, David, to build the Temple.  He also wanted to construct palace for himself.  Immediately, the new king employed 153,600 men to go to work on the projects.

He had the plans.  He had the vision.  He had some resources.  But he lacked some needed materials, especially the high quality cedar wood found just to the north.  Those belonged to his neighbor, the king of Tyre.  So, Solomon reached out to Hiram for a construction partnership.

Not only was the task great, but the building was to be great.  Why? Because "our God is greater than all gods."  Solomon wanted the architecture to reflect the greatness of God.

Then, he asked two questions:
1. Who is able?
How can any building do justice to the greatness of God?  Who is able to design and construct such a place?  God cannot be contained in a man-made building.  In truth, the most beautiful worship facility in the world is only a box for human gathering space.  No structure can house the God of heaven.  Our best efforts are inadequate.

What makes such a gathering space a center of worship is what takes place within it and, more importantly, within the hearts of the people who participate.  As David wrote in Psalm 22:3, "Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel."  It is a picture of the LORD enjoying the worship of His people and filling that space with His presence.

2. Who am I?
How humbling it is when the creation compares itself to the Creator!  We have nothing to offer except what God has given to us.  What we bring in worship to Him is a heart of love, a life of obedience, and a song of praise.  And, that is not limited to a building.

"Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."  Hebrews 13:15 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Qualifications for answered Prayer

Read 2 Chronicles 1.

Solomon had settled in as king of Israel and already God had made him great.

Though many other events surely took place prior to this, the first recorded act of the new king was to worship God.  He left for Gibeon, the location of the Tabernacle at this time.  Out of his wealth, Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the bronze altar.

Solomon’s heart of worship and acts of giving so pleased the LORD that He personally appeared to the king.  God offered in response to give to Solomon whatever he wished.  The most pressing burden on the king's heart was to lead God's people well.  He prayed for wisdom and knowledge.

Again, Solomon's heart and expressions so pleased the LORD that He granted him his requests.  Then, God gave the king what he did not ask for-wealth, possessions and honor.

What was it about Solomon that pleased the LORD and brought about such results?
1. He made the worship of God was a priority.
2. He gave generously as a major part of his worship.
3. He acknowledged that his responsibilities and everything else had been given to him by the LORD.
4. He cared about meeting the needs of those around him first and foremost.

As a result of this kind of heart and obedience toward God, he experienced a personal encounter with the LORD Himself, received the answer to his prayer, and much more.

"Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24b)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Checking our motives and Integrity

Read 1 Chronicles 29.

David never worshiped in, nor even saw, the Temple he had dreamed about and longed to build.  He did the next best thing.  He made sure that the generations that followed would have a place where God's name would be honored and people could come to make their lives right with Him.

Before all the people the king stood to finish the needed preparation work.
1. He reminded the people of the motive of building this Temple.  It was not going to be a monument to David.  It was for the Lord God.

2. He stood with integrity and spoke of his own financial commitment.  A true leader never asks the people do something they are not willing to do.

3. He modeled generosity in announcing that now he would give "over and above" or "in addition to" all that he had already given.  All projects in the Bible were funded with generosity giving, not with tithe money.

His charge to everyone else was a spiritual one, not financial.  "Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?" (v.5)  The first lesson of stewardship is that God is the Owner of everything.  If I give myself to God, then giving generously is simply being a faithful steward.

The leaders went first.  That's what leaders do.  When the people heard David and saw their leaders give willingly and wholeheartedly they followed.  Many have commented that this was the largest offering in history.

Don't miss David's response of thanksgiving.  It is one of the finest prayers in the Bible.
"Oh, LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own." (v.16)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

6 timeless principles for every Leader

Read 1 Chronicles 28.

Once the organization was in place and the leaders had been appointed, King David called for a meeting with his community of leaders.  The purpose was to cast vision for the succession plan and what that would mean in regards to the Temple construction.  The building preparations he mentions in verse 2 are found in verses 11-19.

Being the great leader he was David provides us with six timeless leadership insights.

1. He had it in his heart.  He could no longer stand the fact that God was being worshiped in a tent.  He dreamed of a beautiful, world-class, permanent facility worthy of the living God.  All great plans begin in the heart of a leader.
2. He made the preparations.  Such a massive project would have never happened without all the materials, manpower and money being organized and ready for use.  No great plan was every achieved without prepared resources.

3. He delegated the responsibility.  It is always difficult to let go of one's personal dreams and entrust them to someone else.  Egotistical leaders selfishly cannot let go.  Insecure leaders fearfully will not do it.  A secure leader who understands God's bigger picture will.

4. He communicated the transition publicly.  Everyone in the larger organization heard firsthand what was happening and who would be leading.  Honest and transparent communications build trust. 

5. He reminded everyone why they were doing it.  In obeying the Lord, not only would there be an immediate benefit of enjoying the blessing of the land, but they would establish the worship of God for future generations (v.8).  They would be leaving a spiritual legacy.

6. He charged the next leader directly and spiritually.
"...know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.  If you seek him, he will be found by you." (v.9)
"He will not leave you or forsake you." (v.20b)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Let's Go to Work

Read 1 Chronicles 23-27.

King David organized the ministry.  First, he charged 38,000 Levites with specific assignments to care for worshiping God.  Imagine 4,000 of them were assigned as musicians to praise the LORD!  With the Temple being built in Jerusalem, worship of God would have a permanent home.  There would be no more need to move the Tabernacle around as had been done for 500 years.

The priests received their appointments to serve.  Next, the musicians were "set apart" to take care of writing, singing and playing instruments.  Asaph's family, among others, served as music directors.  The book of Psalms contains some of his songs.  288 had been exceptionally trained and skilled in music.  Gatekeepers for the Temple, those with financial responsibilities, and others were given specific oversight of the house of the LORD.

Then, David organized the military into 12 divisions of 24,000 each.  In addition, each of the 12 family tribes was maintained and leadership appointed for each one.  The king's own affairs required those to be in charge.  He appointed what we would call Secretaries of Treasury, Agriculture, etc., along with personal, trusted advisers.

No one can do an influential work alone.  The bigger the job, the more people will be needed to accomplish the tasks. 

One of the key purposes of the church is organize itself and put everyone in the congregation to work.  It is an employment agency for God.  Church was never meant to be a spectator sport.

The Apostle Paul stated that God gave each of us spiritual gifts to serve the LORD and leadership in the church "to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:12)

Monday, March 12, 2018

5 Things for a Christian parent to Communicate

Read 1 Chronicles 22.

It was in David's heart to build a magnificent Temple for God.  But God made it clear that Solomon would be the one to oversee the construction.  Solomon was young and inexperienced.  So, David took care of the needed preparations.

He set in motion all the preparations of needed materials, manpower, and money.  More importantly, he prepared Solomon for the necessary leadership.

David's counsel to his son:
  1. He was not a biological accident.  He was there at that time by the will of God.

  1. God had a plan for his life that only he could fulfill.  It was his destiny.  That future included a personal, family relationship with God.

  1. He would need "discretion and understanding" in order to obey God's word.  Indeed, this was Solomon’s request of the LORD in 1 Kings 3.

  1. He would prosper as a result of obedience to the LORD.

5. Therefore, he would have no need to neither fear nor be discouraged.  Indeed, he could be strong and courageous.