1 Chronicles 28 (NIV)✞: David’s Plans for the Temple
Chronicles is continuing to look at King David’s preparations for the building of the Temple. We might recall that God told David he wouldn’t be the one to build it, his son Solomon will, but David has been making a lot of preparations in advance of Solomon’s work.
This passage starts with David gathering together all of the nation’s leaders and telling them what he’s already told Solomon: that, because David is a “warrior” and has shed blood, God isn’t going to have him build the Temple, He’s going to have Solomon do it.
However, he says, God has still chosen David, and his descendents, to be His kings over the nation:
4 “Yet the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever. He chose Judah as leader, and from the tribe of Judah he chose my family, and from my father’s sons he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 Of all my sons—and the LORD has given me many—he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 6 He said to me: ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.’
I might be reading into it a bit too much, but I wonder if it rankled with anyone when David specifically talks about God calling someone from the tribe of Judah. The kingdom hasn’t split into Judah and Israel, yet—that won’t be until after Solomon’s reign—but there were sometimes hints in the book of Kings, even before that point, that there were divisions.
He then charges Solomon, in front of all of these witnesses, to serve God wholeheartedly in verses 8–10✞.
After this, he hands over to Solomon all of the material he has for the Temple itself; the plans, the lists of people, the lists of materials, everything – “all that the Spirit had put in his mind” (v. 12✞).
“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”
And finally, after all this, David gives Solomon direction about the building of the Temple itself:
20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 21 The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing person skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.”
I probably don’t need to say this over and over, but Chronicles is devoting a lot of time to these Temple preparations! However, after all the preparations David has made, after all of the material he’s gathered to be used for the building of the Temple, after assigning all of the Levites who will be doing all of the work, when he gets Solomon in front of him, his initial instructions have nothing to do with the Temple:
8 “So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.
9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”
I’m actually not sure if verse 8 is intended for Solomon or if it’s for the rest of the nation’s leaders (with David turning his attention to Solomon starting at verse 9), but the point stands regardless: after all of the attention Chronicles has paid to the preparations for the Temple, when David finally speaks to the nation’s leaders we’d expect him to talk about it, but he doesn’t, he focuses on serving God.
Which, of course, is supposed to go hand-in-hand with the Temple! The Temple is for worship of the LORD; it’s not a monument to Israel’s strength, or to the strength of the line of David, it’s for God. So of course David’s admonitions would be for the nation’s leaders to follow Him wholeheartedly. If they do that, then the work on the Temple, and the worship therein, will also be done right.