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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

1 Chronicles 22

Verse 5

PREPARATION FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE

‘David prepared abundantly for it before his death.’

1 Chronicles 22:5

I. The great distinction of David’s work of preparation for the Temple is its unselfishness.—David did not think of the Temple as having to be built either for his own glory or Solomon’s glory, but for the glory of God. If it was to be built for God’s glory, the important thing was that it should be built when and as it could be built; it did not matter much by whom, if only it should be built for God’s glory. To have had a hand in building it, however small, was a privilege and a joy which carried with it its own reward.

II. The details of David’s contribution to the future Temple are not recorded in the Bible.—They point to a great truth: the preciousness of work unrecognised by man, unrewarded here: they suggest that in his life of shadows labour and the credit for labour do not always go hand in hand. (1) David’s example at the close of his life suggests to all of us the duty of preparing, so far as we may, for the building up of the House of God in the world after we ourselves have gone. (2) David’s example should encourage all those who are tempted to think that life is a failure because they can only prepare for a work which will be completed by some one else. The Divine Son of David never forgets those who have laboured to promote His cause and His kingdom.

Canon Liddon.

Illustration

‘A fine and delicate sense of the becoming hindered David from building the Temple. A voice within him had whispered, “No: however right and praiseworthy the idea, you are hardly the man to carry it out. Your hands are too stained with blood.” When the Divine word came, simply interdicting, it awoke in him at once a Divine perception of the reason and reasonableness of it; and the God-taught, God-chastened spirit within him made him see at once why the work of enshrining the ark, the ark of the holy and awful Presence, must not be his.’

Verses 7-8

TO EVERY MAN HIS WORK

‘It was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, … Thou shalt not build an house unto My name.’

1 Chronicles 22:7-8

One of the great disappointments of David’s life was his desire to build a house unto the Lord, and God forbade the same. Why was it? Because he was a shedder of blood. Was it because he had made war? No. There was a shedding of blood in David’s life which was worse than war. The man after God’s own heart had gone astray in the matter of heart and the passions of life, which led the brave warrior to become a cowardly murderer. This was the sin on David’s soul, and when he wanted to change the sword for the trowel God forbade him. When the man who has lost purity, and given up simplicity of life for the more complex life of the king-warrior, wants to build a Temple to the Lord God in Heaven, no, he is not fit. The man after God’s own heart, the poet, the king, the warrior against God’s enemies, is not fit to build the Temple for God. He can only want to, and must stop short. It is very sad; it is very pitiful.

I. But we find it so in everyday life.—What has gone before counts for so much. A man comes to you and wants some appointment. You know him to be now a good fellow, straight of purpose, honest, true, but you know what his past is.

II. It is so in spiritual matters.—God sets us a high aim, and we have to prepare for a life that is a continual rising, step above step, to the very Heaven of God; and as we rise one step above another there is ever a power beckoning us on higher still; something nobler, something better for you to do. But when the calls come, they come just according to our power to meet them, and our power to meet these calls depends upon the way in which we have responded to other calls. It depends upon the way in which we have lived in the past how we shall be able to live for God in the future. By our past we may fit ourselves for high work; or we may not only have missed opportunities, but the power to be and do what in after life our soul longs to be able to do. We know it by experience. We know we may not do what we should like to do now, not merely because there has not been given us the power to do it, but because we did not use the powers we had in the past, and so made ourselves fit for the highest work in the present. A power within you bids you aid that man or that woman, and you force yourself to say and do what you feel it is your Christian duty to do, and yet you have a feeling it will fail, it is useless, it will not serve the purpose you have in view. And you know it is you yourself who are at fault, that your words won’t ring true, that the very man will find you out. You say, ‘I do not touch the heart and soul of those I come in contact with,’ and you know it is because your heart and soul are not quite what, by the grace of God, they might have been.

David had lost power, and when he wanted to do that thing which was the consummation of his whole life on earth he was forbidden. All he might do was to gather up the gold, and the iron, and the silver, and the timber, and say to another, ‘Do what I cannot do. I can touch a harp as you never touched it, I can bring peace into the land which in your days will only become starvation, but I cannot gather up my life in this supreme offering to my God, for He forbids me. My righteous indignation against God’s enemies has passed into passion; my love—pure and holy once was my love for Jonathan—has become impure; my hands that had only touched the hilt of the sword that shed the blood of those who sinned against God, have become red with the blood of the innocent whose wife I coveted. I have not conquered self, and now I cannot give to God that which is the fulfilment of my whole heart’s desire.’

It may come to you and me some day, this. If it comes some day it will be because we are not this day what we might and ought to be.

III. What is the lesson?—Conquer self, and if you conquer self the calls will come from God and you can respond. Conquer anger, conquer your passions, and you may build temples to God made of your own souls and the souls of others you have brought to Christ.

—Rev. C. N. Kelly.

Illustrations

(1) ‘To each one God gives a work of his own. It was David’s part to conquer the land and get the country into a good settled condition. He wanted to build a Temple, but that was not his work. It belonged instead to one who was not yet born. We should learn that God gives to each his own particular work. We need never jostle each other, nor try to do work which it belongs to others to do. If we do all our own work, we shall have enough to fill our hands.’

(2) ‘No one need ever talk about doing his allotted work in this world who is not keeping God’s moral law. The first thing God wants of us is to be good; after that he will accept the good we do. Holiness must come before service, and holiness is obedience to the commandments.’

Verse 11

WORK AND PROSPERITY

‘My son, the Lord be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the Lord thy God.’

1 Chronicles 22:11

The course which the aged king took with his young son, Solomon, was marked by great wisdom and consideration. He inspired his mind with a high conception of his future life-work, and, at the same time, led him to cherish a pious dependence upon the Divine power and guidance as essential to true prosperity. The good counsel and the good wishes contained in this verse are applicable to all servants of God in every station of life.

I. Divine Providence appoints for all of us a great and solemn work in life.—The young king was destined to build the house of the Lord. It was a high and sacred function. Yet, rightly regarded, the life of every Christian is consecrated to an honourable and responsible work. There is danger lest this should be under-estimated.

II. Our life-work is a work for God.—This was perhaps obvious in the case of Solomon, and it may not be so obvious in our case. Yet, the rearing of a Temple was secular service, holy because of the spirit in which it was undertaken, and of the aim to which it was directed. Whatever be our vocation, we, as Christians, are called upon to ‘serve the Lord Christ.’

III. In order to true prosperity in our efforts, we need the presence and the aid of the Lord our God.—It was because David’s prayer, ‘The Lord be with thee,’ was heard and answered, that the young king enjoyed wisdom to build the Temple, and to rule the nation, and that he prospered in his way. Self-confidence is the sure road to destruction and misery. But they who acknowledge, seek, and serve their God, shall be upheld and guided, and when they put the topstone to the edifice of life, it shall be with rejoicing, gratitude, and praise!

Illustration

‘We never can find out our part in this world by our own wisdom, or by following our own way. We must recognise our ignorance, and ask God at each step. “And what now?” If God has a plan for our life, it is very clear that we must not be for ever making our own plans and taking our own way. That He will show us our duty and give us wisdom and grace to do it, if we ask Him, is very clear. Very likely this is not the usual view of life even among Christians, yet there is no doubt that it is the true view. It may set aside many human ambitions, but if we take God’s way rather than our own we shall never regret it. Every human plan or ambition should be brought to God; then if it accords with His it should be carried out; if it does not, His should always be taken instead.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 22". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/1-chronicles-22.html. 1876.