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1 Chronicles 29:1
There is a sense in which we might without irreverence almost invert these words, and yet gain rather than lose their true significance. "The palace is not for God," we might even say, as a literal resting-place. It is for man as the worshipper, as the servant, as the conscious and devout adorer, of Him Who created him after His own image; for man as a place for a worship which may reclaim, and purify, and uplift his fallen nature, which may bring him into communion with his Father and his God.
I. We also may echo the words which the chronicler places in the mouth of David, and say that the work he planned was great great in itself, greater in results achieved, outliving its own ruin and the destruction of its successor. Yet, like all human works, it contained elements of imperfection, germs of decay. The very existence of the Temple was made the plea for establishing rival sanctuaries, dedicated to another worship than that of Jehovah.
II. The second and the newer Temple found no rival, stood supreme in the nation's heart. But a sevenfold darker spirit entered into the empty house of the Jewish Church. The material altar received their superstitious reverence. He who sanctified the altar was forgotten. In the name of, and as defenders of, that Temple, the Temple's guardians condemned to death One greater than the Temple -One who taught His people to look forward to a worship that should be confined to no temple's walls, whose disciple breathed his Master's spirit when he saw in vision a city of Jerusalem of which he could say, "I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
G. G. Bradley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 289.
References: 1 Chronicles 29:5 . Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 11, and vol. xx., p. 350; T. Kelly, Pulpit Trees, p. 306; F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. ii., p. 254. 1 Chronicles 29:9-29 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 349. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 . C. Wordsworth, Occasional Sermons, 3rd series, p. 17.
1 Chronicles 29:11-12
The conclusion of the Lord's Prayer is not to be considered altogether as an act of thanksgiving or an expression of God's praise and glory; it is rather intended to imply on our part the reasons for our assurance that God will grant our petitions. It is attributing to God the power to aid us, and our grounds for confidence that He will do so.
I. To be allowed to give praise and glory to God is indeed a great privilege and blessing, and most becoming in us when God answers our prayers, but a full persuasion of His power is most essentially necessary in us, in order that our prayers may be answered. It may be observed throughout the Gospels how much our Lord required this faith and assurance of His power before He wrought any miracle of His power especially, more than even a sense of His mercy and goodness. Where there was no belief in His power He worked no miracles.
II. In these words it is not a kingdom, power, and glory which we ascribe unto God, but the kingdom, the power, and the glory. There is very much in this. The kingdom means the one and only kingdom, or such a kingdom as that there is no other of the kind, or to be compared with it. The kingdoms of this world are but weak and poor shadows of the true kingdom; they are but as reflections of the sun in impure pools of water compared to the real sun itself in strength and brightness.
III. Although we are ready in words to assent to this that the kingdom is God's, and the power, and the glory yet we are very slow to believe it as it must be received. We are inclined to think that it is something which is to be hereafter rather than that it is the case even now, that there is no kingdom and power but in the Cross of Christ, that sceptre of His kingdom by which He reigns in the hearts of His faithful subjects. To behold even now the glory of Christ in His humiliation and to be by beholding it conformed unto the same image this is the best gift of the Spirit, for which we have always need to pray.
I. Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, p. 122.
1 Chronicles 29:14
These words plainly express a truth which rises high above the occasion to which they immediately refer. All the blessings of this life, they tell us, are God's gifts; and here is a motive for generous gifts, namely, that, give God what we may, it is already His own. "All things come of Thee."
I. This is true, first of all, of that which was in David's mind of material possessions, of property. Property is both originally, and as long as we hold it, the gift of God.
II. So it is with the powers of the mind. God gives them, and we hold them, so long as He pleases, and no longer. There are days when we feel that the higher and more original powers of the mind are just as little within our control as the weather, and the sense of this may well suggest from whom indeed we hold them, and how precariously.
III. "All things come of Thee." Need it be said that this especially applies to those powers by which our souls are raised to a higher level than unassisted nature knows of, and are enabled to hold communion with the Being who made us? Grace, which proceeds, as the word implies, from God's bounty, is itself much more than mere favour, such as results in no form of active assistance. Grace is an operative, impelling, controlling force; it is a Divine presence in the regenerate man.
IV. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." This great truth should express itself in the spirit of sacrifice, resting on the conviction that whatever we give to God is already His. And the spirit of sacrifice is engaged constantly in twofold activity: it is either consenting with humble resignation, if not with glad acquiescence, to that which God exacts, or it is making some effort of its own to acknowledge the debt of which it is never unconscious.
H. P. Liddon, Penny Pulpit, No. 1101.
Reference: 1 Chronicles 29:14 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ix., p. 91.
1 Chronicles 29:15
The shadow is a fit emblem of human life. From the hour it falls on the dial it moves round the little circle until the sun sinks, when in a moment it is gone. A few hours past, and its work is done. The shadow thrown by the brightest sunshine must vanish when the night comes. Thus it is with life.
I. God does not speak to us through nature without a purpose. We are not to ponder in our hearts on the analogy between human life and nature in its various phases for the pleasure of indulging in sentimental feelings. When Moses mused on the shortness of life, his prayer was, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Life is short, so we must seek for wisdom to make the most of it. No more is required than that every man should do his best with the hours entrusted to his care.
II. The thought of life's shortness should lead us to value time more highly. Our short life on earth should be a life of work, for we shall have all eternity to rest in. Learn to value time, first, because you have the work your "hand finds" to accomplish, and, secondly, because you have to "work out your own salvation." The great lesson which the frailty and shortness of life should teach us is the importance of preparing for the eternity beyond.
W. S. Randall, " Literary Churchman " Sermons, 1883, p. 174.
References: 1 Chronicles 29:15 . J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Christmas and Epiphany, p. 202; W. M. Taylor, Old Testament Outlines, p. 88.
1 Chronicles 29:18
I. David knew the transcendent importance to a human society of having always before them in good times and in bad, in darkness and in light, in trouble and in joy some memorial, imperishable and beautiful, of their fathers and of their God. This he held the Temple would be. But he was far too wise a man to think that the noblest monument was power of itself. He does not pray that the Temple may keep God in people's hearts, but knowing well the uses of the Temple, he prays that God will keep it and the building of it in their hearts, and he proceeds, "and prepare their heart unto Thee."
II. The Temple can do nothing by itself. But God can make His people with the Temple to be far greater and nobler than ever they could be without it, and that is why God uses temples and all such things for lifting man from the dust to the heavens. It is not God's way to effect anything for souls or for societies by external means, not even of a Divine nature. It is not God's way to put down some glorious work, powerful in operation, upon the ground for men to gather round it, and be affected by it, and go away and be different men. The men must bring something there too. They must communicate something to each other. In all things, great and small, living men must live with and for men, in the assurance that life is the aim of God, not merely order.
Archbishop Benson, Boy Life: Sundays in Wellington College, p. 148.
References: 1 Chronicles 29:20 . S. Minton, Church Sermons, vol. i., p. 119. 1 Chronicles 29:21 . Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 40. 1 Chronicles 29:28 . J. Edmunds, Fifteen Sermons, p. 151. 1 Chronicles 29:29 , 1 Chronicles 29:30 . Christian World Pulpit, yo. win., p. 193. 32 E. H. Plumptre, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 437.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 29". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26