God’s People, part 55: King’s Will

Read 1 Chronicles 28

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David.” (‭1 Kings‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬)‬‬‬

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

  Part 55: King’s Will. God, through the prophet Nathan had specifically told David that he was not the one to build a Temple for God to “live” in. First, God questioned David’s motives and thinking by asking, “Did I, who brought Israel up out of slavery in Egypt, ever ask for such home? Do I require a temple of cedar, or a home to be boxed into? No, you will not build me such a home; rather, I will build a home, a dynasty, for you! I will raise up your seed following you and will establish his throne forever” (2 Samuel 7:11-13, paraphrased).

What’s more, in 1 Chronicles 28:3, the author has David reveal that God said he had too much blood on his hands and was not fit for building God’s Temple. What is important to note here is that both of these texts (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles) were written after the time of David and Solomon and so these texts are recording the history of these two EPIC characters as remembered by the people of a time long after David and Solomon had passed.

Thus, it is fair to ask this question. Was the “seed” that God spoke of referring to Solomon, or someone else. Was Solomon the one to whom God gave the honor to build the Temple? Was Solomon the one who’s rule would last forever? Or, was seed referring to one of David’s descendants…down the line…someone, shall we say, such as Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the son of God? That certainly could easily be read into this text, coming from a Christian perspective, as Jesus was of the line of David.

The word “seed” can mean both immediate offspring, or it can mean descendant and different English translations come down differently in translating that word. On top of that, we know that Solomon’s rule did not last forever and, following Solomon’s death, the Kingdom of Israel divided and broke up, with the Kingdom of Israel in the North and the Kingdom of Judah in the South. These two Kingdoms would war against each other throughout the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures and the animosity they had toward each other lasted right up until the Assyrian Infiltration of the Northern Kingdom and the Babylonian exile of Judah. Even beyond that, the animosity still existed in Jesus’ day (e.g. the Samaritans).

So, it is debatable as to whether or not God ever intended David, or Solomon, to build God’s temple. In fact, it is debatable as to whether God, who is imageless and demands that no images (and houses are an “image” of sorts) be built for worship, ever wanted a temple built in the first place. Perhaps, the temple God that God says David’s seed will build is the same temple that Jesus refers to in various places…the temple of the human heart, where God most wishes to have a home.

Yet, King David ends up asserting his own will over and above God’s. In 1 Chronicles 28, David instructed his son Solomon on how to construct the Temple. In other words, even if David was not be the one to see the building to completion, he still had his imprint on how it was to look. God said, “No” to David’s request to build a Temple, but David found a loophole and ensured his will, NOT God’s, was carried out. While the Temple is a debatable disobedience of God, there are other sins David committed (e.g. taking a census of God’s people in 2 Samuel 24) that are explicitly shown to be sinful.

We, like David, are prone to put our will above God’s. We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done”, but often are actions are reflecting the opposite of that prayer, “My kingdom come, my will be done.” The question for us is this, will we go on making idols of ourselves? Will we carry on in our sinful self-worship, or will we finally open our hearts as holy Temples for the living God? The choice is ours.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“You are believing not in your god but in yourself if your god knows no better than you do…and yet, in this alone, I am afraid, you have already been fooling yourself.” – Criss Jami

PRAYER

Lord, you are God. I am not. Remind me that to worship you I must submit to your will for my life and trust that your ways are better than my own. Amen.

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