1 CHRONICLES 21:25-30; 22.
David was commanded to go to Ornan, or Araunah, the Jebusite, to rear an altar unto the Lord in his threshingfloor. There had been a terrible plague in Jerusalem, in consequence of David's great sin in numbering the people; and they were falling in thousands by the sword of the angel of vengeance. David went up to the threshingfloor or Ornan on Mount Moriah. Ornan was willing to give it to him, but he determined to buy it. We read in the twenty-fifth verse;
Verses 25-28. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. At that time when David saw that the LORD has answered him in the threshingfloor or Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there.
There was the place for the temple, where the angel sheathed his sword. Christ Jesus, in his great atonement, is the corner-stone of the temple where divine justice sheathes its sword. There let the house of God be built. Every true Church of God is founded on the glorious doctrine of the atoning sacrifice. It was a threshingfloor, too; and God has built his Church on a threshingfloor. Depend upon it, the flail will always be going in every true Church, to fetch out the wheat from the chaff. We must have tribulation if we are in the Church of God. The threshingfloor will always be needed until we are taken up to the heavenly garner above.
29, 30. 22:1. For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at the season in the high places of Gibeon. But David could not go before it to enquire of God; for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD. Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.
Now he knew where the temple was to be built; and of a certainty he had discovered that long-predestined site of which God said, "Here will I dwell." This was the very hill whereon Abraham offered up his son Isaac; a hill, therefore, most sacred by covenant to the living God. He delighted to remember the believing obedience of his servant Abraham, and there he would have his temple built.
2. And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God.
Observe here a very gracious eye to us who are Gentiles. The temple was built on the threshingfloor of a Jebusite; Ornan was not of the seed of Israel, but one of the accursed Jebusites. It was his land that must be bought for the temple; and now David would employ the strangers who lived in the midst of Israel, but were not of the chosen race, to quarry the stones for the house of God. There was a place for Gentiles in the heart of God, and they had a share in the building of his temple.
3, 4. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
Here are the Gentiles again, the Zidonians and the men of Tyre; those that went down to the sea in ships, that had no part nor lot with Israel. There were to bring the cedar wood to David. What an opening of doors of hope there was for poor castaway Gentiles in that fact!
5. And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceedingly magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it.
This was beautiful and thoughtful on David's part. It might be too great a strain upon the young man to collect the materials for the temple as well as to build it; therefore David will take his part, and prepare the materials for the house of the Lord. If we cannot do one thing, let us do another; but, somehow, let us help in the building of the Church of God. The Church to-day seems but a poor thing; but it is to be "exceeding magnifical." The glory of the world is to be the Church of God; and the glory of the Church of God is the Christ of God. Let us do as much as we can to build a spiritual house for our Lord's indwelling.
5-7. So David prepared abundantly before his death. Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God:
And it was well that it was in his mind. God often takes the will for the deed. If you have a large-hearted purpose in your mind, cherish it, and do your best to carry it out: but if for some reason you should never be permitted to carry out your own ideal, it shall be equally acceptable to God, for it was in your heart.
8. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.
In very much of that fighting David had been faultless; for he fought the battles of the people of God. Still, there are some things that men are called to do, for which they are not to be condemned; but they disqualify them for higher work. It was so in David's case; he had been a soldier, and he might help to build the temple by collecting the materials for it, but he must not build it.
9.Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; God's Church is to be a place of rest. God's temple was built by "a man of rest."
9. And I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.
Then the house of the Lord would be built; no stain of blood would be upon it. The only blood therein should be that of holy sacrifices, symbolical of the great Sacrifice of Christ.
10, 11. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee.
May such a blessing come upon every young man here! May the Lord be with thee, my son! May the Lord prosper thee, and may he make thee a builder of his house in years to come!
12. Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God.
How much wisdom will be wanted by the young brethren present who hope to be builders of the house of God! When the Lord says to you, "Ask what I shall give you," ask for divine wisdom, ask to be taught of him, and ask that you may have grace to do his will in all things.
13. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses and concerning Israel: be strong and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.
It is a great thing for a Christian to keep his courage up; and especially for a builde of the Church of God to be always brave, and with a stout heart to do God's will, come what may.
14. Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of Gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.
We are unable to tell exactly the amount of precious metal prepared by David; we have to take into account the value of gold and silver in his day; it was probably not so great as it is now. We know this much; it was an enormous sum which David had gathered for the building of the house of God.
15. Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance.
We must have the workmen; they are more precious than the gold. They cannot be put down at any sum of silver: "there are workmen with thee in abundance."
15. Hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work.
God will find for his Church enough men, and the right sort of men, as long as he has a Church to be built; but he would have us pray him to sent forth labourers. We forget that prayer, and hence we have to lament that there are so few faithful servants of God. Cry to the Lord about the lack of labourers; he can soon supply as many as are needed.
16. Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.
A very nice text for stirring up idle church-members, who are well content with being spiritually fed, but who are doing nothing for the Lord: "Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee!"
17, 18. David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, Is not the LORD your God with you?
What a good reason for working! What an admirable reason for giving! What an excellent reason for helping with the work! "Is not the LORD your God with you?"
18, And hath he not given you rest on every side?
If he gives you rest, you are to take no rest, but to get to his work. He is the best workman for God who enjoys perfect rest. It is always a pity to go out to preach or teach unless you have perfect rest towards God. When your own heart is quiet, and your spirit is still, then you can work for God with good hope of success.
18. For he hath given the inhabitants of the land into mine hand; and the land is subdued before the LORD, and before his people.
The fighting is over; now go ahead with your building.
19. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God;
Do not go to build a house for God, and think that is all that is required. You want spiritual communion with God; and you will not do even the common work of sawing and planing and building aright unless you seek God, and are in fellowship with him.
19. Arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.
May God teach us some lessons by this reading! Amen.
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