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The contents of this chapter may be said to form one scene with those of the next up to verse 25. They represent David in the presence of a magnificent company of witnesses, the flower of the Church, the military and the civil elements of his kingdom, devolving upon his son both the building of the temple and the throne itself.
1 Chronicles 28:1
One Hebrew word (שׂרֵי) stands for the princes (twice), captains (three times), and stewards (once) of this verse. The classification of the verso speaks for itself. There are the princes of Israel; i.q. the princes of the tribes (1 Chronicles 27:16, 1 Chronicles 27:22). Otherwise the former of these expressions may be of an entirely generic kind, and apply to all that succeeds. There are, secondly, the princes of the twelve military companies… by course of the months (1 Chronicles 27:1-15). Thirdly, there are the princes of thousands and hundreds (Deuteronomy 1:15; 1Sa 8:12; 1 Samuel 17:18; 1 Samuel 18:13; 1Sa 23:7; 1 Chronicles 12:14; 1 Chronicles 27:1). There follow, fourthly, the princes of all the substance and cattle of the king, and (as seems to be added here) of his sons. There can be no doubt that the Hebrew text does say this, and does not merely register the fact of the attendance and presence of the sons of the king, as also it does not specialize the attendance of Solomon himself, though it is certain that he was present. Otherwise it may be doubtful, considering the facts of the occasion, and comparing 1 Chronicles 29:24, whether the original document is not misrepresented here. Next, fifthly, mention is made of the officers (סָרִיסִים), the Hebrew for which word generally means "eunuch," and such use of it must have become much more familiar during and after the Captivity, and, therefore, of course, at the time of the compilation of this work; but it does not necessarily mean it. Eunuchs are never mentioned elsewhere in David's reign. There is no reason to suppose the word means "eunuch," for instance, in Genesis 37:36; Gen 39:1; 1 Samuel 8:15; 1 Kings 22:9; 2Ki 24:12; 2 Kings 25:19; Jeremiah 34:19. Under any circumstances, it would seem unnecessary that such officers of a royal establishment as eunuchs should be under summoned that description to an assembly of this kind. Sixthly, the mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:10-25) were called to the assembly. And perhaps a seventh division may be made of all the valiant men (1 Chronicles 11:26-40), who belonged to other places, or who were at this time more especially in Jerusalem, as residents.
1 Chronicles 28:2
The expression, David the king stood up upon his feet, probably means to emphasize the fact that hitherto, having been in a sitting or recumbent position, owing to his age and infirmity, he now with effort forced himself to stand in the presence of the unusual congregation and in consideration of what he felt was due to the occasion. He had not lost the man and the brother in his official and exalted rank, and, following ancient precedents (Genesis 29:4; Judges 19:23; 2 Samuel 19:12), he addresses the congregation as my brethren, and my people. David says he had it in his heart to build a house of rest, i.e. an abiding house (Psalms 132:8, Psalms 132:14) for the ark of the covenant, instead of the moving one, and for the footstool of our God. By this he means the mercy-seat, to which especial allusion is made 1 Chronicles 28:11 (בֵּת הַכַּפֹרֶת). God is often spoken of as "dwelling between the cherubim,'' and sometimes (Psalms 99:1) as "sitting between the cherubim," which were over the lid of the ark, called the mercy-seat.
1 Chronicles 28:3
The contents of this verse are stated, as already seen, even more forcibly in 1 Chronicles 22:8; while far less forcibly in 2 Samuel 7:5; 1 Kings 5:5.
1 Chronicles 28:4-7
David mentions himself as the elect of God among all the members of his father's family, and from thence is led to trace the call from the first, by the following steps:—The tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8; 1 Chronicles 5:2); the house of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1); thirdly, of himself (1 Samuel 16:13); and lastly of Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:9, 1 Chronicles 22:10; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Samuel 7:12-16). The exact time and method of David's receiving the identification of Solomon as the son to succeed him, is nowhere given. The throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. This expression, not found in its entirety elsewhere, is an emphatic statement here of the true theocracy, which should have ever prevailed among the people of Israel, and which is now paralleled by the kingship of the Lord in his own Church (1 Chronicles 17:14; 1 Chronicles 29:23). The solemn and most distinct proviso, If he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day, reminds us of Psalms 132:12. This proviso is emphatically presented again to the attention of Solomon, when the time comes for the direct appeal of God to him (1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 8:61; 1 Kings 9:4).
1 Chronicles 28:8-10
The double charge of these verses, first to the people and then to Solomon, is full of force and majesty. Translate, Now therefore in the sight of all Israel—the congregation of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God ("Hear me," 1 Chronicles 28:2), keep ye and study to do all the commandments of the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 4:21, Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 30:19; Leviticus 25:46; Jeremiah 3:18). The. expression, Know thou the God of thy father, for a practical knowledge and fear of God, is analogous with the expression, "Hear thou," for the matter of practical obedience; e.g. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets" (Luk 16:1-31 :32). Although there are not very many instances of this use of the word "know," its antiquity and classical character may be considered guaranteed by such passages as Job 18:21; 1 Samuel 2:12; Proverbs 3:6; Psalms 36:10; Jeremiah 9:2; Hosea 5:4; Hosea 6:3. The expression, "the God of thy father," evidently intended to be touching, is more fully given in verse 20, "God, even my God, will be with thee," which in its turn reminds us of Paul's language, "But my God shall supply all your need" (Philippians 4:19). The urgent entreaty on the part of David breathes in every sentence of it, thought, and a mode of presentation of it, feeling, and depth of conviction, with which we are familiar in his psalms. He speaks from his own varied, remarkable, and rich experience of the Divine care and jealous love, and from much personal experience of the deceitfulness of the heart, to Solomon, into whom, were it possible, he would pour the advantage of all he had learned, and from whom he would hide nothing of his intense and anxious solicitude. To the same strain he returns in verse 20, but there with more exclusive reference to the undertaking of the building of "the house of the Lord," or the house for the sanctuary. One thing only fails, perhaps, to be made quite apparent from the language of David, viz. why he deemed it necessary to urge so strenuously on Solomon the enterprise of building the temple and of carrying it to completion. With abundance of means and preparations so large already made, one might have supposed a young king and a young man would have needed little pressure and little exhortation. Nevertheless, in the manifest presence of David's words, it is very far from impossible to suppose the dangers and temptations of Solomon's position as constituting a serious risk.
1 Chronicles 28:11-19
These hints respecting the parts of the building that was to be, and respecting the furniture of it, will come in for fuller consideration in the fuller treatment of them, found in the narration of the actual construction of the building in 2 Chronicles compared with 2 Kings 6:1-33; etc. It is evident that David desired to make a solemn and set business of handing over even the patterns and plans. Nor is this under any circumstances wonderful, but least of all considering their Divine origin. The Divine original of the tabernacle and all its belongings (Exodus 25:1-40.-30.; Hebrews 8:5) was not to be a neglected precedent as regards the greater temple. It is said that "David gave" these "patterns to Solomon his son" (2 Kings 6:11), and the form in which he gave them is explained in 2 Kings 6:19. There we read, "The whole in writing from the hand of Jehovah upon me, he made me to .understand—all the works of this pattern." Whatever we generally accept respecting the writing of the tables of the Law by the finger of God (Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15, Exodus 32:16; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:5, Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 9:10), is at all events open for acceptance here. At the same time, the phraseology of our nineteenth verse is certainly not so uncompromising-as that of the references just instanced from the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. The words of verse 19 may be satisfied by the meaning that David was in such manner and degree "in the Spirit" (Revelation 1:10), that in the writing and the drawing of patterns his hand was entirely under the guidance of that Spirit. In either alternative, to hand over such documents and such "patterns" must have been felt by David and all present an act of which much should be made.
1 Chronicles 28:11
The patterns of six parts of the future building are here delivered over to Solomon.
1. The porch; הָאוּלָם (1Ki 6:3; 1 Kings 7:6; Ezekiel 40:7; Ezekiel 8:16; Joel 2:17; 2 Chronicles 3:4, where we read that the length was twenty cubits, and the height one hundred and twenty cubits; 2 Chronicles 8:12; 2 Chronicles 15:8; 2 Chronicles 29:7, 2 Chronicles 29:17); Septuagint, τὸ αἰλὰμ τοῦ rang generally, but in this verse τοῦ ναοῦ is all that appears. This porch was built on the east of the temple.
2. The houses thereof; i.e. not of the porch, but of the whole building; בָּתָּיו; Septuagint, τῶν οἴκων αὐτοῦ. The word "houses" in this place designates the" greater house," or" temple," or holy place of 2 Chronicles 3:5; 1 Kings 6:5, 1 Kings 6:17; and the "inner house," or "oracle," or "most holy house," or "holy of holies,'" of 2 Chronicles 3:8; 2 Kings 6:19-27.
3. The treasuries thereof; נַנְזַכָּיו, a word found only here in this form, with a Chaldee termination in אַךְ; Septuagint, τῶν ζακχῶν αὐτοῦ. The treasuries were chambers for receiving gifts, and storing the treasures new or old of the temple. Which of the rooms that were built against the sides of the temple were set apart as these treasure-chambers is not known. Perhaps they were the three-storied wings of the temple (1 Kings 6:5).
4. The upper chambers thereof; עֲלִיָּתֹיו; Septuagint, τῶν ὑπερῴωνLanguage:English} (for fuller treatment of these, see 2 Chronicles 3:9). We may only with confidence say of these chambers that they were upper chambers, but whether over the "oracle" as Keil and Bertheau think, or over the "porch," or the higher of those, that leaned against the sides of the main building, it is impossible to determine from such data as we at present have.
5. The inner parlours thereof; חֲדָרָיו הַפְגִימִים, Septuagint τῶν ἀποθηκῶν τῶν ἐσωτέρων. There can be little doubt that these designate the lower rooms of the side buildings of the holy place, and perhaps also of the porch.
6. The plane of the mercy-seat; בֵּית הַכַּפֹרֶת; Septuagint, τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ ἐξιλασμοῦ.
1 Chronicles 28:12
Bertheau, Keil, and some others regard the spirit here spoken of as referring to the spirit and mind of David, and Bertheau goes so far as to translate, or paraphrase, "the pattern of all that floated before his mind." Such manifest stress has been laid upon the two facts—that the patterns were of God's giving, and that they were now in such form that they could be given over into the hands of Solomon—that such an interpretation seems inadmissible. Rather translate, And the pattern of all which was by the spirit with him. For the courts of the house of the Lord, see 1 Kings 6:36; 2 Chronicles 4:9. The chambers round about; הַלְּשָׁכוֹת סָבִיב(1 Chronicles 23:28). There seems no necessity to suppose that these chambers were separate from the building. For the treasuries, the correct translation is the treasures (1 Chronicles 26:20).
1 Chronicles 28:13
This verse either continues the subject of the giving of the patterns, which will read rather harshly, as preceding the courses of the priests and the Levites, and could only mean directions or instructions for their interchange, etc.; or it may continue the subject of the "chambers round about" "for the treasures of the house of God," etc; also for the convenience "of the courses of the priests," etc; and "for all the work," etc; and for keeping "all the vessels of service," etc. Bertheau and Keil somewhat scout the former supposition, and adhere to the latter.
1 Chronicles 28:14, 1 Chronicles 28:15
The general meaning of these verses is that, if the question were one of gold, or one of silver, David assigned for each vessel and each part of the candlesticks, the proportionate weight of gold that was to be employed.
1 Chronicles 28:16
So tot, as regards the tables of shewbread, whether in sort of gold or of silver, he assigned the due weight of metal for either sort. We should have been at a loss to understand the plural here employed, showing more than one table (Exodus 25:23; 1 Kings 7:48; 2 Chronicles 29:18), but for 2Ch 4:8, 2 Chronicles 4:19; in the former of which verses we read of "ten tables" being made and placed on "the right side and on the left, in the temple," and in the latter verse, yet more distinctly, of "tables, whereon the shewbread was set."
1 Chronicles 28:17
It is to be observed that the term basons (פְוֹרִים), which appear to have been covered goblets, is only found here and in Ezra 1:10; Ezra 8:27.
1 Chronicles 28:18
By the chariot of the cherubims, is of course not meant that the cherubim had a chariot, but that they constituted the chariot of Jehovah (Psalms 18:11).
1 Chronicles 28:19
This abrupt bringing in of David as the speaker himself has already had one illustration in 1 Chronicles 23:5.
1 Chronicles 28:20, 1 Chronicles 28:21
These verses, as above seen, continue and close David's urgent and last exhortation to Solomon. He has now done with admonition and urgent appeal, but he offers prayer for him (1 Chronicles 29:19).
1 Chronicles 28:20
David in this verse enlarges upon the certainty of God's faithful steady presence with Solomon and support of his work to the end.
1 Chronicles 28:21
In this verse David reminds Solomon what servants and helpers he has ready to hand on earth, as well as his God above—priests and… Levites,… all manner of workmen,… willing and skilful,… princes and… people.
1 Chronicles 28:1-10.-The Assembly
Well worth reproduction by the annalist of centuries afterwards was the solemn and inspiring scene pourtrayed in this and following sections. For the same reason that particulars, however gloriously interesting or terribly interesting, yet of merely individual concernment, are absent from the Chronicles, those of the highest national significance are sketched afresh, and engraved with deeper-cut lines. Much of the sorrow and misfortune of David, much of wherein he sinned, or was sinned against, would be inexplicably denied to the reader but for the steady observance on the part of the annalist—we doubt not under inspiration's guidance—of the principle that the nation's religious history is to be his grand subject, its lessons his theme. Well, too, might the religious teacher of a nation that had passed through a strange stretch of apostasy, a stranger severity of punishment on account of it, and had now, strangest of all, another offer of opportunity priceless in prospect, be supremely anxious to give all legitimate prominence to such a scene. History enabled them once more with fidelity to produce it. They rested in it themselves with delight. They longed to imbue the people with its spirit and its ancient original fascination. All things considered, the sun had scarcely risen, through the reign and whole life of David, on a day of more real grandeur, more essential honour to himself—certainly not among the number of those that were inevitably declining days, and their brightest, warmest suns, those of mellow light and temperature, subdued. Age was now a crown of glory to him. The experience of a life moderately long, of a reign remarkably long, of vicissitudes and events strangely varied, was dignity higher than anything artificial, than anything outward. And weakness of bodily force and limb brought out in greater relief the moral deference he had made all his own, while a nation attend his voice, and receive in a young son of his their future shepherd and king. Nor was David himself at all insensible to what was most peculiar, most characteristic in the scene. A word or two, an action or two, an attitude, betray his nervous appreciation of it. That day, that hour, that scene—what three ways met there and then! The past way of his people, and their undiscovered future path, and not least momentous that by which his own departure must forthwith be made. In a scene of an exceptional character, with much of just importance in it, and of essential impressiveness, let us pause to note the main features.
I. THE ASSEMBLY ITSELF WAS ONE OF A DIGNIFIED CHARACTER. And the dignity of it was a true dignity. The assembly represented a nation. It represented the worth and the substance of a nation. It was not its idle wealth, its idle fashion, its idle glitter, its sinecurism, but the strong head and strong purpose and strong arm of the nation. There was position in abundance there, but it was that healthy position that comes of high office worthily filled, of doing a nation's work and of adjudged competence to do it. This assembly represented, therefore, the diligence of a united, happy, active people. And when we consider the purpose for which the assembly was gathered together, it undoubtedly bespeaks its highest honour as representative of the order and obedience of a divinely governed nation. There is no nation that is governed fit to be so named, that is not divinely governed, if only that be taken into account which is transpiring a very small depth below the surface. And this fact postulates order, a listening ear, and obedience. The government, the legislature, the nation that go on with but just a moderate workable amount of these, know a certain unsatisfactoriness, but they little know the wreck and absolute misery of ruin where the indispensable minimum is absent. On the other hand, the nation then most nearly touches the point of perfection when its order, attention, and obedience, as perfect as that of an army, are at the same time moral in their character and voluntary in their forthcoming.
II. SPECIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGNITY GATHER ROUND THE PERSON WHO CONVENES THIS ASSEMBLY. David is the centre of it; the chief, not to say the only speaker in it. Yet even he is not acting in his own name and right alone. He is the visible deputy of one far higher, and who is invisible. He is an aged man, and furthermore older than his years. Great is the contrast, wonderfully effective the contrast, between what he now is, putting off the armour, and what he once was, when he "assayed to go" in the improved armour of Saul, and "put it off" also (1 Samuel 17:39). The juvenility, the simplicity, the unexpectingness, the inexperience of that day are at the extreme antipodes of what he now is and feels. Then so ruddy and robust, of rude physical health, and of abounding energy of limb, but now with sunken eye and sallow cheek, only with difficulty able to rise from his royal chair, and "beside those things that are without" (2 Corinthians 11:28), more weighted still with the responsibilities of office and the accumulations of experience, and "the care of all the" nation. The figure of that "old man eloquent," but yet "more eloquent" in deeds through his whole life than in words even, must stand a sculpture of most defined and enduring outline against the Bible sky while the Bible lasts. But the life that was bounded by these two extremes had played a great part, and the tides had risen full and high and tumultuous, times without number, in it. Yet through all the conflicts, work, perils, and sins, and virtues of the life, a certain thread of continuity had been preserved, and indeed had preserved it. As the truest image often comes out clearest and best in death, so was it now. There had been a thing long in the heart of David. The decline of life speaks it out with extraordinary emphasis. And does he not then touch the highest point of his fame when, with the grand company in front of him, he rises with some effort, addresses those who listen to their father and their king, as "my brethren and my people," and shares with them the deepest wish and the most real ambition to which his life owned? How different this from the close of many careers! Nay, how very few are those who have the faith, the calm determination (or even the merciful opportunity given them), to put into the hand of another the secret of a brilliant future that had been thought of by themselves, longed for by themselves, but denied to themselves! When Paul wrote to Timothy he was a yet higher illustration of this, yet it must be taken into account that Paul was not disappointed as David was.
III. STATEMENTS OF EMINENTLY MORAL SIGNIFICANCE IN THE ADDRESS, IN WHICH DAVID NOW ADMITS ALL TO BE SHARERS OF HIS BOSOM'S DEAREST SECRET.
1. After a courteous appeal to all, addressing them under kindly titles to hear him, who might, from his office and age, have commanded, David credits the sovereignty of all the kingdom to God. The throne is "the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel" (1 Chronicles 28:5).
2. He credits all that he was himself, all which had been given him, all to which he had been raised, to the sovereignty of God. These David traces through four stages. The Divine sovereign choice of the tribe of Judah, of the house of his father, of himself out of all the rest of his father's family, and he carries it down to the designation of his favourite son Solomon, as successor to his throne. "Howbeit the Lord God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel: and of all my sons, (for the Lord hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his Father" (1 Chronicles 28:4 1 Chronicles 28:6).
3. With the frankness of truth and the unmistakable singleness of aim of an aged man "ready to depart," David speaks out what had been his own pious design, his cherished resolve, and the actual preparation he had made for it. "I had in my heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building" (1 Chronicles 28:2). It is to be noted that no matter of personal advantage, or of family advantage, or even of a noble ambition, but yet a mere ambition, is here concerned. It is the calm, correct, intelligent prompting of religion. No doubt the desire of David's heart carried to completion must redound to the honour and fame of himself and his family to all generations, and must be calculated to secure great practical benefit to a whole nation. Nevertheless it were a gratuitous maligning of a good heart to mistake these, or any of them, as the motives of David. He is learning and is illustrating the great though alphabetic principles that rule the man who distinctly believes in the invisible, and worships the invisible One. It is his right and due, it is justice, that a settled house, a permanent place of abiding, a worthy temple, be raised to him, and that nothing take real precedence of it.
4. With a different frankness, a frankness of perhaps even rarer sort, he withholds nothing of all that had passed between God and himself. He gives the reasons, correct and exact, on account of which his heart's desire is denied to him. It cannot be denied that there was something about them which a man less brave and strong might have inclined to suppress. There are things in life which, far from criminal, and far more misfortune than fault, nevertheless ask for a veil of kindly forgetfulness, and beg not to be thrust into prominence. But David tells all without disguise. It comes to this, that in the strongest of his days he had been very busy in work not of the most savoury, not of the most spiritual, not even of the most humane, and the stain of it cleaved to him—that stain the stain of blood. A very busy life in some directions often makes good works impossible at the time. But this is not necessarily the worst of it. The more significant and sad thing is that it does one or both of two other things. It either finally takes away all taste and disposition to do the work of higher goodness; or if, as with David now, it does not do this, yet it clothes the man against his will with a character of unsuitableness to it. In this neither is man censorious nor God unjust. But nature is vindicating its reality and strength, and another illustration is added of the truth, that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." This, then, is David's frank confession: "God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my Name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood" (1 Chronicles 28:3).
5. With grateful memory David records the promise that God had made in substitution for granting the exact desire of his heart. This promise of what should be done in and by Solomon was "the word on which God had caused David to hope." And reflection upon it was very food to him, commemoration of it was a welcomed and sacred duty. The promise had been given in close connection with a detailed reminder of how God had selected David, and called him, and made such a changed career for him, upon all that had naturally loomed before him (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The whole scene and purport of that report that Nathan made to David in his interview with him, had stamped one clear, effective impression on his mind. And it is evident that his own address to the people and to Solomon now answers feature for feature to it. But in the centre of it was this promise about Solomon; all the rest clustered round it, and the grateful promise holds the central place now in David's memory and heart.
6. The dosing charge of David—a double charge, one to the people, one to their future king, one to the Church, the other to the minister, "the leader and shepherd of Israel."
(1). The charge to the laity. The very essence of impressiveness lies sometimes in the directness of personal appeal. There may be personal appeal without individual appeal.
Each in a large number shall sometimes sufficiently feel that the address is to himself. In the brief language of David much is contained. Its sententiousness is telling and emphatic. The great throng of human witnesses is instanced. The supreme omniscient Witnesser is pointed to, is well held up to view. "In the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God;" these are the imposing sanctions which precede the solemn burden itself of command or earnest exhorting. Then follows such exhortation—it is entreaty itself: "Keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God." The rule for nation, leaders, ay, and for individual, if they are to be safe and sure, is thus constituted. Obedience, inquiring obedience, and impartial, uniform obedience, are the triple essentials of that wise and holy law. And the scriptural reward of obedience is set forth, and in that finer form to which Scripture gives, in one way or another, so unique a prominence, viz. the reward not to self and present time alone, but to the future and to generations yet unborn. This tendency to suggest the future, to point to it, and to urge the taking it into account, is one of the noteworthiest marks of the diviner methods of monition and impression. Where the subject-matter may make it impossible in one way, it will, if possible, insist on appearing in another way. "That ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever."
(2) The charge to his own loved son. Now all the father's heart and soul are moved. Every short clause, in its full, majestic Hebrew vocabulary, thrilled with the deep conviction and earnest persuasion that the abounding experience of an aged and holy father would bring to bear upon his son. What influences they are that offer themselves to produce an ever-remaining impression on the young man! At a moment when all the eyes of a vast and august assembly are bended on the young Hebrew prince, a solemn individual appeal is made to him. Again the beaming of the height of paternal love and pride is shining on him. Again the familiarly known earthly father's name is raised into union with the Name of the one Being above all: "Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind.",, Then are brought rote' prominence the grand characteristics of that Being, as One who searches all hearts, and perfectly understands all the imaginations of them." His gracious approachableness, if sought, and his deep offence and sure punishment, if neglected, are declared, till the close of all is reached. This consists
(a) of the distinct admonition to watch; of the
(b) suggestion of strong comfort and support that lie in the thought of the Lord's choice and decree; and
(c) of the challenge, in the name of all which had gone before, to "be strong and do it."
1 Chronicles 28:12, 1 Chronicles 28:19.-Divine inspiration the guide of human work.
These verses amount to a very real and very interesting assertion of Divine inspiration. The "things that float before the mind," to use Bertheau's words, without his meaning in them, may none the less be the fruit of inspiration. But beside and in addition to the mind's ordinary command of its own gifts, in addition to the exercise of reason, to the aids of the accumulations of experience, and of even some touch of foresight, which belong by nature to all, and which attach to some in a very high degree by training and by purity of mind, the Divine Spirit gives as he lists special impulses and sure guidance, an unusual discernment and unerring correctness of deliverance, and truth absolute betimes. The leading instance and type of such inspiration is to be found, no doubt, in those impulses and that Divine superintending and Divine informing of certain men's minds in the essential matter of spiritual truth, which by many an instalment and through a very long stretch of ages secured for us at last the grand total we now call our Bible. This may be called the inspiration of word or of truth; while that exercise of inspiration which the present passage leads us to notice might rather be designated the inspiration of work. There is, of course, nothing manifest to distinguish these in their nature, for the same gracious Spirit, the same mighty and heavenly Force, is in either case at work. But there are important and grateful thoughts suggested to us in the fact that the quickening, informing, revealing Spirit comes to our aid not only in the deepest and highest things that can touch soul, but in the literal works of our hands. Let us notice —
I. THE SPIRIT DOES NOT DISDAIN TO CO-OPERATE WITH MEN, IN SUGGESTING, SHAPING, AND COMPLETING THAT WHICH IS TO BE MADE BY THEIR HANDS, AND TO AFFECT THEM THOUGH THE MINISTRY OF THE SENSES. Though the inevitable and just inference in our own minds herein is of the condescension of the Spirit, yet we need not pass over the consideration, that this is in keeping with an analogy that we might expect would be observed. As St. Paul teaches us forcibly, in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, that they are to be adjudged worthy of the severest condemnation who refuse to learn the invisible things of God himself from his works visible in creation, so the Spirit would nourish in our outer works right methods of approaching the Being who must all the while be "worshipped in spirit and in truth."
II. THE SPIRIT PUTS HONOUR ON THE EXPRESSION ON THE PART OF MAN OF HIS WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF GOD, EVEN IN THE OUTER REQUISITES OF THEM. That which has cost nothing of money, of skill, of thought, of care, is not what is to be offered to God. It would not be offered to those we loved or respected among our fellow-creatures, and yet less should it be offered to him.
III. THE SPIRIT HONOURS IN PARTICULAR THE EXACTITUDE AND PERFECTION IN ITS KIND OF WHAT IS GIVEN TO GOD. The sacrifice must he the young and the pure and the blemishless. And a similar principle must be observed throughout our service of God. But how often, how grossly, how notoriously, how self-deceivingly, is this plain principle disregarded by multitudes of professing Christians! To God is given last; to God the least; to God that which is too poor to keep or to give elsewhere.
IV. THE SPIRIT RECOGNIZES AND SUGGESTS OUR NEED OF PATTERNS. The Lord's Prayer was one kind of pattern; the sermon on the mount was another kind of pattern; the sacred cross was another illustrious pattern; the directions given to the twelve disciples and again to the seventy, on their first missionary journeys, were a pattern; the Israelites were a pattern; John, Peter, and Paul were each respectively a pattern. And for the first solid temple that informed and intelligent worship of God ever reared, the Spirit gave the pattern, and pattern after pattern for details.
V. STILL THE SPIRIT GIVES BUT THE PATTERN, He does not supersede our active exertions, our best exertions, nor permits us to reckon on even his proxy. But he does wait to lead, offer to show and to teach, and above all in this particular way—the way of imparting principles of right action, of holy action, of beautiful action.
VI. THE SPIRIT GAVE THE TEMPLE MODEL, WHICH IN VERY DEED SPOKE PRINCIPLE IN EVERYTHING THAT MIGHT SOUND MOST LIKE DETAIL, BECAUSE THAT TEMPLE WAS ITSELF THE TYPE OF GOD'S CHURCH ON EARTH. No exclusive sanctity belonged to it. It and its lineal successors were to lie level with the ground. But its seed was to be as the stars of heaven, or as the sand upon the shore. "Neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem," meant no doom, no curse, no disparagement of the temple. Those words of Jesus spoke the charter of God's Church, as a growing, an ever-growing, and a prevailing reality in the world. Literally innumerable have been already the copies after that type. And they have yet to be manifold more. The building itself was emphatically not an ordinary building, nor a mere building. The thought of it in David's heart was not indigenous to that heart, nor was the execution of it to be liable to be dangerously ascribed either to his architecture, or his sons, or to that of the combined professional talent of the nation, or of all nations. No, it is unique. It has virtue in it. It, in the person of its successor, justifies Jesus' admiration, and a share of his tears. It breathes and moves ubiquitously, and has life in it. And it was because it was necessary that it should have these endowments, that though David thought and gave and prepared, and a nation now banded as one man consented and gave and wrought enthusiastically, yet the Architect was God the Spirit.
1 Chronicles 28:20, 1 Chronicles 28:21.-The courage of age, and its grand adorn rages as grounded in experience.
Once more, then, the voice of the aged king and the aged father is heard. Its subject the same, its tones still more and more earnest, persuasive, imploring. Age calms, mellows, subdues, in almost all directions, but not literally in all.
I. WE ARE ARRESTED BY OVERHEARING THE URGENT TONES OF OLD AGE. The voice is not weak, does not tremble, lisps not, nor hesitates. It is firm, full of vigour, and rings again more musical than even of old. There must be some significant reason for this.
II. WE ARE ARRESTED BY SEEMING TO HEAR AGE URGE IMPETUOUSNESS AND DARING ON YOUTH. Surely the five times repeated exhortation," Be strong,"" of good courage," "do it," "fear not," "nor be dismayed," must betoken some very risky, presumptuous, and even daring enterprise. And yet it is the old man who is pressing on the young mall, appealing to him as though he would rouse him to an all but forlorn hope, instead of to a wise, prudent, and good work.
III. WE ARE ARRESTED BY HEARING IN THE MIDST OF THESE URGENT AND IMPASSIONED TONES PROMISES OF THE HIGHEST INDUCEMENT, AND THAT BORROW THE NAME OF HEAVEN AND GOD. A father's experience, encouragement, and entreaty may well weigh much with a son; a father's savings, preparations, and enlistment through all the force of his influence, of much sure help from "princes and people," may well add inducement and confidence. But these are indefinitely exalted now by the challenge to believe that Heaven itself would work for and with Solomon. "The Lord God will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished."
IV. ONE LITTLE FAMILIAR WORD, AMID ALL THE REST, ARRESTS OUR EAR AND WARMS THE WHOLE APPEAL WITH THE TONE OF PERSONAL INTEREST. That little word is the one which counts so often for so much—the word "my." At the very crisis of invoking, in the great and terrible and reverend Name of "the Lord God," the very highest possible sanction, David does not forbear to link his own name with it: "The Lord God, my God, will be with thee?' This is the same David who in many a psalm could sing in the very lowliest strain and confession of the demerit of man and his poverty and his sinful nature and sinful practice. Yet the two things are not inconsistent, and David does not do wrong. The God of all, of nil worlds, the universal God, loves to be sought, to be clung to, to be appropriated by the individual. The poorer, the lowlier, the more solitary, so that his child's trust corresponds in thoroughness and tenacity with his condition of want, so much the more welcome is that child, and not a word shall be said to him that he presumes. Note, then, that in the happy expression of David to his son," My God," we have:
1. The creature's rightful and blessed appropriation of the Creator; the only all-sufficient, the inexhaustible and ever-communicating, the one strong support of everything within the compass of his dominions.
2. The consecrated diminutive of affection. The thing or the person I believe I chiefly love, that thing or that person I restlessly, ceaselessly long to call mine, my own. Nor is there a simpler, grander, juster use of this little word, the consecrate word of affection the world all over, than when a creature, sinner, penitent, poor, and dependent, breathes out from all that is within him "My God."
3. The grateful outcome of tried experience. Age gives the opportunity of valuable experience in many a direction, but in none so much as in those relations which subsist direct between man and his God. There is nowhere such room for experience to have its way, to grow and to attain results of surpassing value. After the experience that David had accumulated of God, and of what a God, God had been to him, he rightly desires to make a point of this to his Son. It was not simply the sentiment of the father's God, one to be held to by the son; it was no mere dictate of family pride, or of hereditary attachment to some lares et penates. No; the hard but telling facts of experience enable David to pledge and guarantee "his" God, as the good God and the wonderful God, and the safe God for his son. So Paul said to the Philippians, "My God shall supply all your need," in that he, above any living Christian of that time, had suffered peril, need, persecution (2 Corinthians 11:23-31), and had found God, the "very present Help and Refuge in time of trouble," whom the psalmist a thousand years before had tested. All distances of time, differences of dispensation, contrasts of character and of career, sometimes seem to meet in one place, one confession, and one adoration. Each utters, "My God," and all are found to have contributed the proof of a God unchangeable—"the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Meantime the experience and testimony of each helps to influence and instruct and strengthen the faith and love of some nearest by nature or by friendship. And to many a son Solomon has come, with equal truth and effect, the aged father's confession of what, through a long, a hard, a tried life, he has found his God to be. "The Lord God, my God, will be with thee." Happy the fathers who have such experience, and happy the children who hear their counsel in time. And happy for the long-favoured people of Israel, "blest beyond compare" already, if their new young king hear, and for ever heed, the advice of his aged and richly experienced father, and adopt his God for his own "even unto death."
HOMILIES BY J.R. THOMSON
1 Chronicles 28:9.-Early piety.
A father's solicitude for his son is too often confined to his temporal prosperity. It was not so with David. The aged monarch was indeed anxious for Solomon's stability on the throne, for his fitness to discharge all regal duties, for the magnificence of his public works, and for the splendour of his reign. But he was well enough acquainted with human nature to know that character is the key to life. His supreme desire was that his son should be right at heart, that his principles should be sound, that he should honour, trust, and serve his God. Hence the beautiful language of the text.
I. THE NATURE OF EARLY PIETY. It does not consist merely in outward associations or in outward observances.
1. The basis of such piety is knowledge. "Know thou the God of thy. father." Hence the importance of early instruction in religious truth.
2. The substance of such piety is a cheerful service of God. The practical energies of youth need to be employed in doing the Lord's will. Willingness and cheerfulness should characterize all work done for God. It is well that the young should be trained to find their delight in the practical service of their God and Saviour.
II. THE MOTIVES TO EARLY PIETY.
1. The obligation of duty. It is right to "remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth."
2. The assurance of the Lord's perfect knowledge: "For the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts."
3. The encouragement of promise: "If thou seek him, he will be found of thee." There are many similar assurances in Scripture fitted to encourage the young to seek the God of salvation.
4. The fearful alternative: "If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever."—T.
1 Chronicles 28:12.-The pattern of the Spirit.
We sometimes make a great mistake in neglecting to remark the presence and operation of God in the ordinary and secular affairs of life. The Hebrews were in this respect in advance of us; they justly attributed all wise and good works to that Spirit from whom all wisdom and goodness proceed. Thus the workers in the construction of the tabernacle are expressly said to have received from the Spirit of God the knowledge and skill they needed to fulfil their undertaking, and in the passage before us David is represented as having received by inspiration from Heaven the plans upon which his son was to erect the temple of Jehovah.
I. THE PLAN OF EVERY GREAT AND GOOD WORK IS FROM GOD. That is, so far as it is good and great. There is human ignorance and human folly discernible in many noble enterprises; but the impulse of piety or benevolence to which they owe their being is from above. This is so either, as probably in the case before us, from a direct inspiration, or, as is usually the case, in a more ordinary manner. The inspiration of the Almighty giveth man understanding; and every high and holy purpose, every inspiriting truth and influence, should be traced up to the Giver of every good gift and every perfect gift.
II. SUCH PLANS SHOULD THEN BE FORMED WITH REVERENCE AND WITH PRAYER. If we would have the Spirit's guidance, we must ourselves be "filled with the Spirit;" we must seek his teaching in humility and docility of heart.
III. SUCH PLANS SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT WITH EARNESTNESS, AND WITH A LOWLY DEPENDENCE UPON THE GRACE AND AID OF GOD. In these respects the kings of Israel, who were concerned in the erection of the temple, stand before us as a bright example. It is only as all our works are "begun, continued, and ended" in God, that we can justly hope for blessing and prosperity.—T.
1 Chronicles 28:20. - Be strong.
Worship and work together make up the expression, the manifestation, of religion. Where the heart has true, living faith in Christ, both these will be. Worship is the soul, and work the body, of the religious life. And the Lord Jesus is the Mediator of worship, and the Inspiration of work. David's closing admonitions to his son and successor naturally had respect to the high station he was about to occupy, and the great service he was about to render. Thus he set before Solomon a grand conception of the purpose of his future life, and glorious encouragement and assurances to induce him to go forward with courage and with zeal. In these words we have —
I. A VIEW OF LIFE AS PRACTICAL AND STRENUOUS SERVICE. There is work for all true and loyal hearts, for all willing, active hands. We are all, as Christians, builders in the house, the temple, of the most high God. The edifice of our life and happiness, our influence and usefulness, is not to rise by chance or magic; it is to be reared by our own labour and diligence, our own perseverance and prayers. What dignity, beauty, and interest are lent to our life by the conviction that we are building in the Lord's house I Whether our life be public or private, whether our sphere of influence be home, or profession, or business; whether our relations to others be official or social,—we may all be builders under God.
III. ADMONITION AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO FULFIL LIFE'S WORK. As David spoke to his son in terms of fatherly sympathy and good cheer, so let the elder encourage the younger in the service of their God and Saviour.
1. Observe the disposition which is to be avoided. "Fear not, nor be dismayed." Some minds are naturally timorous. A nervous temperament, a diffident habit of mind, depressing circumstances, may account for this. Some are ever in dread of adversaries; others are more apprehensive of their own weakness and insufficiency. Accordingly, Scripture contains many dissuasives from timidity and faint-heartedness. "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God?"
2. Observe the disposition to be fostered. "Be strong and of good courage." To many of his servants, placed in critical positions, has the supreme Lord addressed such admonitions. "Be strong and of a good courage," Jehovah had said to Joshua and to Israel, in the prospect of their entering upon Canaan as their inheritance. A courageous heart can do wonders; it can ever bear up a feeble body, contend with adverse circumstances, defy malignant opposition. We are not taught to place confidence in ourselves, but we are taught not to shrink from duty because of our felt inadequacy. Strength comes with a brave heart, a fixed resolution, a calm confidence in Divine grace and aid.
3. Observe the admonition to action. "Do it." David had prepared for the building of the temple; it was for his son to carry out the plans which had been made. It is for us all, as followers of Christ, not to dream or to purpose, but to act. We are gifted with active powers, and are called to an active life. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."
III. PROMISE TO ANIMATE THE TRUE-HEARTED WORKER. Mere admonition and advice from fellow-men is insufficient. The question of practical moment for us, in our endeavours to serve, is this—Is there help from above? We have the answer in the text.
1. Divine presence and aid are assured. "The Lord God will be with thee." How far better than the presence and counsel even of a faithful earthly friend, a judicious earthly father I "Vain is the help of man." But "if God be for us, who can be against us?'
2. The same God who has been the dwelling-place of his people in all generations, is our God. It is very significant that David says, "Even my God." The memory of former interpositions, of the great works which God did in the days of our fathers, should hearten and cheer and comfort us. He is neither an unknown nor an untried God.
3. He will not fail or forsake his people until their work is finished. Other helpers may fail us, may be summoned from earth, or may prove unfaithful. We may fear lest God himself should depart from us. But he is faithful to all his promises. "The mountains may depart," etc. Solomon enjoyed the countenance, protection, and guidance of Cod until the temple was completed. God only knows what our life-work is to be; but we may all be assured that, if he has entrusted to us any service, he will not withdraw from us, he will not abandon our undertaking, until his purpose is fulfilled, until our work is done.
1. Let every hearer of the gospel obey the call, and enter without delay upon the Lord's work.
2. Let God's servants who are dismayed by difficulties and a sense of insufficiency betake themselves to the Word of God and to prayer.—T.
HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON
1 Chronicles 28:1-8.-Lessons from the end.
As the slain warrior in battle, finding his strength fast ebbing away, gathers up his remaining powers and deals one last mighty blow against some prominent enemy, so David, the soldier of the Lord, perceiving that his end was near, summoned all the force that was left to him to strike one more good stroke in the cause of the God he had served and of the people whom he loved. From this scene at the end we learn many lessons.
I. THAT A NOBLE LIFE IS CROWNED BY ONE SUPREME EFFORT AT THE LAST. Thus did Moses crown his illustrious career (Deuteronomy 31-33.). Thus did Joshua worthily close his honourable course (Joshua 23:1-16; Joshua 24:1-33.). So, indeed, we may speak of our Lord himself; for by his passion and his death he wrought for the human race a far greater work than even he had accomplished by all the words and works of his life-ministry. It may well be our ambition to act in this spirit, if we do not adopt this particular method. "So much the more as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).
II. THAT A TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS MAN WILL EARNESTLY CONCERN HIMSELF AS TO THAT WHICH COMES AFTER HIM. David was most solicitous to leave nothing undone that he could do to secure the happiness and well-being of Israel after his death; therefore he convened this great assembly and gave this solemn charge. In the same spirit he adjured them to do the one right thing, in order that, in their turn, they might "leave the good land for an inheritance for their children," etc. (verse 8). The spirit of indifference respecting the days that will succeed our own is one which the disciples of Jesus Christ should be ashamed to cherish. It is profoundly unchristian; it is as far as it can be from the spirit of him who died that, after and through his death, there might be righteousness, joy, life, upon the earth.
III. THAT AUTHORITY AND AFFECTION GO WELL TOGETHER. "Hear me, my brethren and my people" (verse 2). The king addresses his people as his brethren; it is in the fulness of his heart that he thus speaks. His soul is filled with an earnest and loving regard for them, and for the nation they represent; hence the affectionate term which he employs. It is well for all who are in authority to assure those whom they direct that they "have them in their heart" as well as in their hand; that they love them as "brethren" while they rule over them as their "people."
IV. THAT IT IS A GREAT THING TO BE WILLING TO SERVE THE LORD, "I had it in my heart to build an house of rest," etc. (verse 2). "And the Lord said unto David… thou didst well that it was in thine heart" (1 Kings 8:18). When a man purposes, with pure and complete integrity of soul, to do anything for the cause of Christ—to give largely, or to go far afield, or to work devotedly at home, or to spare some loved one, and when the providence of God interposes to prevent, is it not written in the record which is on high, "Thou didst well that it was in thine heart"?
V. THAT IT IS A GREAT THING TO DO WHAT WE CAN WHEN OUR STRONGEST WISHES ARE DENIED. Perhaps it spoke most for the genuine piety of David that, when God said to him, "Thou shalt not build an house for my Name," etc. (verse 3), he did not cease to "make ready for the building" (verse 2), but continued to the end to store up all manner of precious things, that his son might have his labour lightened and might do his work with more completeness. So far from sulkily retiring because he could not have the very thing which he desired, David did the thing that he was permitted to do—the laborious but comparatively unhonoured work of preparation—cheer-fully leaving the glory of building to one that should succeed him. How many are there who live in this later and brighter dispensation who might learn a lesson of cheerful continuance in well-doing from this Hebrew king!
VI. THAT MUCH IN HUMAN LIFE IS DECIDED BY THE ELECTING GRACE OF GOD. (Verses 4-7.) He who chose the tribe, the family, the individual man, for the sovereignty of Israel, now chooses individual souls to be kings among men. By the mental and spiritual endowments he is pleased to bestow, by the teaching and training he is pleased to grant, by the privileges and openings he is pleased to afford, he marks out one rather than another for office, influence, power. He still "chooses our inheritance for us" (Psalms 47:4). Let the fact that he does so condemn pride, ingratitude, and envy.
VII. THAT MUCH IN HUMAN LIFE IS LEFT TO OUR DECISION. "If he be constant,' etc. (Verse 7.) "Now therefore… keep and seek for all the commandments… that ye may possess," etc. (verse 8). God proposes and arranges, but not without regard to our response to his invitation, our obedience to his commandments. Nothing in his ordering interferes with the conditions he has imposed. We reap that which we sow.—C.
1 Chronicles 28:9, 1 Chronicles 28:10.-A parental charge: a sermon to the young.
The scene is one of profound interest, for it is one of deep and strong emotion. A father who feels that his end is near is delivering an earnest charge to his son, who has, as he hopes, a brilliant course before him. There is everything to add solemnity and pathos to the scene. The aged king excited to one last painful effort, the assembled princes of Israel, the "young and tender" Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:5) kneeling before his father, the outpouring of royal and parental tenderness and solicitude,—everything combines to make the occasion one of greatest interest. And what can be more impressive than the last injunction given by a departing father to the son who is his destined heir: who will, if any one does, carry on his work when he himself is removed? David's supreme desire is that Solomon shall be a faithful servant of God, and do the special work which awaits his care. We are invited to consider —
I. IN WHAT TRUE PIETY CONSISTS. It embraces two things.
1. A practical knowledge of God. "Thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God," etc. And this knowledge of God includes
(1) an intelligent understanding of his nature and his attitude toward the children of men. We must have some mental apprehension of him; we must understand that he is a holy, pure, ever-present, all-observant Spirit; claiming our reverence, love, obedience, and submission; condemning our ingratitude, our departure from himself, our sin; ready to receive, forgive, restore all who return to him in penitence and faith.
(2) A direct, practical acquaintance with him. Such acquaintance as is gained by coming to him in personal approach; by contact of our spirit with his Spirit; by the prayer, the pleading, the surrender, which is not formal but spiritual—not "after the flesh," but from the soul; for "the Lord searcheth all hearts," etc.
2. Continuous spiritual service. "Serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind." Having found his favour and entered into his kingdom, we must live continuously in his service. We must render this "with a gladsome mind," not constrainedly and as of necessity, not hypocritically, not servilely, but cheerfully and heartily—the obedience of love, of those who are satisfied if he is pleased. This our service is (1) to be lifelong; (2) to cover all the particulars of our life, extending to all our human relationships and all our various spheres of activity.
II. WHAT POWERFUL INDUCEMENTS WE HAVE TO DEVOTE OURSELVES AT ONCE TO GOD. These are four in number.
1. Strong filial considerations urge us to do so. David pleaded with Solomon to" know the God of his father." The young prince must have felt that if he gave his life to the service of God, he would be
(1) delighting the heart of his beloved father, and
(2) treading closely in his honoured parent's footsteps; in both ways acting worthily and "as became his father's son." The same or similar considerations should be potent and prevalent with ourselves.
2. By so doing we may hope to accomplish great things. Solomon had the prospect of "building a house for the sanctuary." We may not anticipate such an achievement, but we may hope to do good and even great things for our God and our race, if we devote our whole powers from the beginning to the service of Christ. We may
(1) influence, during a long course, many hundreds or even thousands of souls for good;
(2) help many a good and beneficent work;
(3) render invaluable aid to some one useful cause or Church.
3. Honest and persevering effort to find his favour is certain to be rewarded with success. "If thou seek him, he will be found of thee" (see Matthew 7:7-11).
4. Neglected opportunity has a disastrous end. "If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever." Those who in youth are conscious of the heavenly call, but who give not heed to the voice Divine and to parental earnestness, but yield to the lower and ignobler impulses, enter on a course of folly and sin, which too often runs on to an evil end, to a life without nobility and without achievement, to a death without hope, to a future without the joy of home.—C.
1 Chronicles 28:11-21.-The way to succeed in a great work.
David's heart was set on his son's successful discharge of the high mission to which God had called him. That nothing should be left undone, so far as he himself was concerned, he gave this inspiriting charge. It will suggest to us the constant condition of successful work in the kingdom of Christ.
I. CARRYING OUT DIVINE DIRECTIONS. David formally entrusted to his son "the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit "(1 Chronicles 28:12)—" all that the Lord made him understand°" etc. (1 Chronicles 28:19); particulars of the temple furniture, which was to be made after the mind and according to the will of him who was to be worshipped in its "most holy-place." When we enter upon any great enterprise for God, whether we "arise and build," or whether we go forth and preach, or whether we organize and establish, we must seek to act according to Divine instructions. But we must not now look for patterns, but for principles. In our New Testament we have the broad principles of all holy action, of all Christian association, of all missionary enterprise. These are not far from sight, and if we honestly and earnestly seek them, we shall find them and may apply them.
II. GAINING DIVINE HELP. "The Lord God will be with thee… he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (1 Chronicles 28:20). If we proceed in a devoted and prayerful spirit, we may claim these words as applicable to ourselves. We want, and can secure:
1. The inspiration which will prompt us to faithful work.
2. The effectuating power which will make our work succeed and endure.
3. The upholding grace which will carry us through all difficulties to the end.
III. SECURING HUMAN CO-OPERATION. Solomon would receive
(1) help in material from the rich stores of his father (1 Chronicles 28:13-18);
(2) the sympathy and assistance of
(a) priests and Levites,
(b) skilful workmen,
(c) the people generally, from the prince to the peasant (1 Chronicles 28:21).
We must not aspire to do God's work alone; it is in every way better that we should share the privilege and the responsibility with others. It is so for our own sake, for theirs, and also for the sake of the more perfect accomplishment of the work itself. We may ask and accept aid in material and in men; from those whose special function it is to render service in sacred things ("priests and Levites"), and those who are not thus professionally obligated; from those who are "skilful" as well as "willing" (1 Chronicles 28:20), and from those who are willing but have skill to acquire, who will gain something of skilfulness in Christian work by taking a humble part in the work in hand; from those who are "princes" in social station and religious reputation, and from those who only belong to the "common people;" from all who are willing, and who will act, and thus learn to act more perfectly.
IV. MAINTAINING OUR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "Be strong and of good courage" (1 Chronicles 28:20). We want the strength which accompanies courage. Timidity is weak; fearlessness is strong. And courage is not merely a matter of strong nerves; when of the noblest order, it is the outcome of spiritual excellency; it is the fruit of faith in God. "Be strong and of good courage" means this: maintain your integrity before God; abide in Jesus Christ, that his Spirit may abide in you (John 15:4); nourish the sustaining assurance that God is with you, to befriend and inspire you; go forth and hold on in the strength of the Strong and in the wisdom of the Wise, and you will not fail nor be discouraged. "They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength," etc. (Isaiah 40:31).—C.
HOMILIES BY F. WHITFIELD
1 Chronicles 28:1-8.-David's address to the princes of his kingdom.
In the last two chapters we have David's final words to the princes of the people and to his son Solomon. In order to pass the kingdom over to his son and to secure the succession, he summoned the princes, and solemnly, in the presence of them all, appointed Solomon his successor. These princes included the princes of the tribes enumerated in 1 Chronicles 27:16-22; the princes of the divisions which served the king (1 Chronicles 27:1-15); the princes of thousands and hundreds; the chiefs and captains of the twelve army corps (1 Chronicles 27:1); the princes of the domains and possessions of the king (1 Chronicles 27:25-31). The king "stood up upon his feet" to address this assembly. Previously, on account of age and feebleness, he had sat in bed. The first part of David's address we have had previously (1 Chronicles 22:7-13). In the fourth verse he states how his election to be king was of God who had chosen Judah to be ruler, and that in the same way God had chosen Solomon from among his sons to be heir to the kingdom, and had committed to him the building of the temple, and concludes it by exhorting the whole assembly to continue faithful to God. Observe, the blessings of the throne and kingdom are linked to an inseparable condition (1 Chronicles 27:7)—that Solomon be "constant to do my commandments and my judgments." Thus temporal prosperity is inseparably connected with faithfulness to God's truth. Without this neither king nor kingdom, man nor his work, can prosper in the true sense of the word. In this consists real "establishment." What the foundation is to a house God's truth is to a king's throne, and to a man's soul and all his ways. David goes into particulars as to how this is to be done. "Keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God." The soul must hold fast to the truth, must treasure it up within the inmost recesses of its being. This is to keep the truth. And it must "seek for" it—looking out for it in everything as for special treasure, setting the heart on it and gathering it up for use. The degree and earnestness with which we seek for it will depend upon the way in which we "keep" what we have gathered. "To him that hath shall more be given," is God's universal law in nature and in grace. Keeping is digestion, by which the appetite is stimulated to "seek." Mark, also, it is not seeking some truths or some favourite truths; it is "all the commandments." It is whole-heartedness to the whole truth. Pet doctrines and pet passages make us half-Christians—narrow, one-sided, harsh, and sectarian. It is the heart's preparedness for every message from God that makes a whole Christian—such a one as God would have us all to be. Mark the two results. "That ye may possess this good land." It was one thing for an Israelite to be in the land; it was quite another to possess it. It is one thing to be in Christ; it is quite another to possess so as to make our very own all the treasures of grace and truth that are in Christ. Some Christians, like some Israelites, are all their lives in the land without possessing a foot. Have you life in Christ? "Lay hold on eternal life." Are you one of God's elect? "Make your calling and election sure." Have you that Divine faith that will carry you into the kingdom? "Add to your faith," so that you may have an "abundant entrance into the kingdom.' This is to "possess the land." It was Joshua's continued exhortation to Israel; it has need to be ours too. Look at the second result: "And leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever." Mark, it. is only those who possess the good land who shall "leave it for an inheritance." It is your half-Christians, your narrow-souled, crooked, unwise Christians, who leave no spiritual influences behind. Their children get soured by the caricature of religion they see in their parents. When parental restraint is over, there are no deep spiritual principles laid in the soul in early life, and they cast off what they feel has been a yoke. As a rule, most parents have to blame themselves for what they mourn over in their children.—W.
1 Chronicles 28:9, 1 Chronicles 28:10, 1 Chronicles 28:20, 1 Chronicles 28:21.-David's charge to Solomon.
From the princes of the congregation David turns to Solomon his son. Every line is full of instruction. "Know thou the God of thy father." We may conclude Solomon already knew something, and perhaps much, of God. But this refers to a further and deeper knowledge of him, as his father David had experienced. It is this deeper knowledge of God that is spoken of in the New Testament. St. Paul, though he knew Christ well, still says, "That I may know him." However much we know there is always more to be known. It is this knowledge of him that our Lord refers to when he says (John 7:17), "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." There is a knowledge of Christ as the Saviour from sin; there is a still further knowledge which springs from obedience in all things to his will. But David continues, "And serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind." Mark here, service and the character of it depend on the knowledge of God, and this knowledge a deepening one. This is ever the Divine order. All the graces of the Christian character act and react on each other. True knowledge ever begets service, and faithful service deepens real knowledge. But there are always two conditions attached to real knowledge and true service, viz. "A perfect heart and a willing mind." A perfect, or as the word means, an "undivided" heart, is one that is whole-hearted. Not "a heart within a heart" which God hates. Not a heart that will follow and serve the Lord when it is convenient but not when it is inconvenient. Not "in season" only, but also "out of season." Next to this is a "willing mind," or a mind that desires only that which will please God. A mind that will say always and in everything, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" A heart devoted and a will given up—this is what David means, and this is what God asks for. David enforces this by the statement of God's omniscience. Solomon might deceive men by having the outer life fair, while inwardly the other might be lacking, but he could not deceive God; and to him Solomon and every man will have eventually to render account. David further enforces these words by a solemn warning: "If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. Take heed now." It reminds us of Paul's solemn words to Timothy: "Take heed to thyself, and to the doctrine; continue in them: for in so doing thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." The soul must be watched and kept, and then the doctrine will be sound. If we seek the Lord he will ever be found; but if we turn our backs on him, then we shall experience that spiritual darkness and misery within that will be practically, though to one saved in the Lord may never be judicially, a casting off from God. Though a true believer may never fall from God, he may fall from the grace of God; and this, though not judicial, is yet practical and experimental exclusion from God. David enjoins Solomon to "take heed" because he is "chosen." It is the dignity conferred that demands the responsibility and gives the power to rule. Is it not so with men put into high places over our land? Before men get into office, what do they not say? and how do they not act? But when they are in office the dignity controls and directs, and gives wisdom and judgment. So is it in the Divine ]tie. God's grace chooses a man, makes him one of his children, puts upon him the highest dignity, and thus he possesses a motive power for holiness which nothing else can give him. David's final words to Solomon at the close of this chapter are equally solemn and suggestive. "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed." What a string of holy exhortations! On what are they built? On God's presence with his people; "for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." God's presence is the believer's joy; it is also his strength and power for work. The expression "my God" reminds us again of Paul: "My God shall supply all your need." It was the personal and experimental acquaintance with God's unchanging love and faithfulness, and that alone, which gave to David and Paul such confidence, and made them speak thus. But Solomon might have said, as many others often say, "These are precious promises and encouragements, and I am but 'young and tender,' and the work is so great; how shall I get the means, and who will help me, and how shall I know they will be ready and willing?" These and a thousand other questions rise up in the soul when God sets a clear path before us, or a plain duty. How often we stand, we hesitate! We are already taking one step back. God comes in again to strengthen our faltering faith. "The priests and Levites shall be with thee,… and there shall be with thee every willing and skilful man,… the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment." What a promise—"All things are yours"! So it is always. Having the Lord with us, we shall have everything else: "life and death, things present and things to come," yea, "all things are ours." How completely every question of the soul is met from the unchanging faithfulness and love of our God!—W.
1 Chronicles 28:11-19.-David's transfer of the patterns to Solomon.
After the solemn charge to the congregation and to Solomon, David handed over to Solomon the patterns of the temple, the enumeration beginning from outside to inside, and from thence to the courts and buildings and the vessels, and they include the minutest details of all pertaining to it. Let us mark the spiritual truths connected with this portion of God's Word, and they are many. We refer only to a few. First, as to the patterns themselves. How did David get them? They came from "the Lord" (see 1 Chronicles 28:19). Secondly, they came by a "writing." Thirdly, they came "through the Spirit," or by Divine inspiration. Fourthly, they came through God's "hand upon him." These are all important points in the narrative. This great temple of old was a type of the great spiritual temple now—the kingdom of God in this world. In a secondary sense it may be taken as the believer himself: "Ye are the temple of the living God." Mark, then, first, everything of a Divine character comes from the Lord himself. The Lord himself is the Architect of his own house, whether it be in a man's soul or the Church of Christ. Secondly, the Divine pattern of everything spiritual comes through the "writing," the Word of God written. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is the Divine Communicator of this Word. He speaks through that Word, which is the breath of God. And, lastly, it is through the "hand" of the Lord laid upon us that the Word becomes effectual and operative. As David handed the patterns to Solomon, so should these be the patterns handed down now, through the Word and the Spirit, and applied with power by the "hand" of the Lord. Solomon could not lay a single stone, nor make a single beam, nor deviate one hair's breadth from this pattern thus handed to him. No more may we. There is one truth more in this narrative. It is a very precious one. It is brought before us in the fourteenth verse, and again in 1 Chronicles 29:2-5. "Gold for things of gold, and silver for things to be made of silver, brass for things of brass, iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood." In other words, whatever golden things were needed, David had the gold provided for them; or whatever things of silver, brass, iron, or wood, David had the silver, brass, iron, and wood ready for them. It is so still in the Church of Christ as well as in the individual Christian's own history. What is our need? Do we occupy a golden position, or one of iron or wood? In Christ, the true David, there is the fulness to meet it. There is all we need for every position, every duty, every want, every hour of need. These needs may be great or small, lofty or lowly, corresponding to the "gold" or the "wood;" but he has exactly what is suited to meet the emergency or the need, whatever it may be: "My God shall supply all your need out of his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." How truly the teaching of the New Testament is contained in the Old!—W.
HOMILIES BY R. TUCK
1 Chronicles 28:2.-Old men's testimony.
The emphatic sentence, "Then David the king stood up upon his feet," brings before us a vivid picture of the aged and infirm king making a great effort, gathering up all his strength, and once again standing up that he might render a last testimony for Jehovah. "Towards the end of David's life, he was obliged to keep to his chamber, and almost to his bed. In those later and quiet days he seems to have reviewed his long and checkered career, and his last song embodies the thoughts with which he regarded it. That last song (2 Samuel 23:1-7) is full of mingled regret and hope; over the scenes of his shame he lingers for a moment sadly, but from them he turns to look up to the faithful God, whom he had ever desired to serve, and assured his heart of the permanence of that everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. In those closing words the old prophet-power came back to him, and we wish that such sentiments of humility, trust, and joy in God were the only dying utterances of his that had been preserved for us." The occasion of the effort recorded in our text was a public one: the solemn commendation of Solomon to the people, and closing public instructions for Solomon himself. The subject suggested is the moral influence exerted by the aged godly man, who has behind him the varied experiences of a long and checkered life. The importance of the witness of such a man's life, and of such a man's own expression of the results of his life, and of his moods of mind on coming to its close, need to be pointed out, as these may bear on the men of his own age, and as they may bear on the young generation that is growing up to take the place of those who are "passing away." As the treatment of these divisions must directly depend on the feeling and experience of the preacher, we prefer to give only the barest outline, at most suggesting lines along which the development and illustration of each point may run. As far as possible the treatment should be made cheerful and hopeful, the experience of those who see more good than evil in life being preferred.
I. THE OLD MAN'S TESTIMONY CONCERNING LIFE. He will say that he has found it other—but, on the whole, better—than he expected. Contrast the sunny anticipations of the youth with the serious reviews of the aged. A thousand anticipations have never been realized, but more than a thousand good things, of which youth could not have dreamed, have crowned the passing days with beauty and joy. Many an old man speaks brightly of the "good way wherein the Lord his God has led him."
II. THE OLD MAN'S TESTIMONY CONCERNING MAN. Looking back, he can to some extent know himself and judge his fellows. This at least the old man has learned. Man imagines and even purposes more than he can ever accomplish, and he lives, works, and dies with scaffoldings all about which were but beginnings of buildings that were never built. He has to shelter in the great hope that God will accept his purposes. And so God will, if the unwrought schemes were no mere sentimental dreams, but resolves as serious as David's, to build a temple for the Lord his God.
III. THE OLD MAN'S TESTIMONY CONCERNING GOD. He says he is the Wonder-worker who always gets his will over man's. And he is the faithful One, who keeps covenant and fulfils promise, and may be wholly trusted. He says, "I have been young, and now am old, yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." The light of the old men's experience may well brighten and cheer the young men's toil, and make easier the yoke of those who bear the burden and heat of the day.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 28:2
God's earthly footstool.
Using a striking poetical figure, David speaks of the ark as being "the footstool of our God;" regarding God as enthroned above it in the Shechinah-cloud. The figure is otherwise used in Scripture, in Psalms 99:5; Psalms 132:7; Isaiah 66:1; Lamentations 2:1; Matthew 5:35. We must not imagine that the ark contained God, or that in any sense he dwelt in the ark. He came, in the gracious symbol of the bright cloud, above the ark, between the attendant angel-figures, only resting, as one rests his feet on a footstool, upon the lid of the ark. This lid, from another point of view, is regarded as the propitiatory, or mercy-seat. Some idea of an Eastern throne may aid in the proper realization of this figure. Van Lennep says, "Solomon's throne was" made of ivory, overlaid with the best gold; it had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind. And there were stays on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays." It is generally supposed that this description implies a form of chair similar to ours, in which the feet rest upon a stool. There were such chairs in Egypt, and there is a picture of Rameses seated upon a throne, bearing, apparently, a close resemblance to that of Solomon, with the exception of some peculiarly Egyptian emblems. The Assyrian kings also sat upon thrones of this kind. It should, however, be remembered that this mode of sitting has ever been exceptional in the East; and though it cannot be denied that princes sometimes sat in state, after what we call the European mode, yet the analogies of the case favour the supposition that the king's throne was more commonly in the form of a sofa, or divan, upon which he sat cross-legged." It may be well to point out that, in this figure, we have an instance of anthropomorphic representation, or God s way of graciously aiding our apprehension of himself and of his relations, by speaking of himself, or allowing himself to be spoken of, as if he were a man. What is suggested by such figures, rather than the form of the figure, requires our attention. Three things are suggested by the figure on which we are now dwelling.
I. GOD'S FOOTSTOOL IMPLIES THAT GOD IS THERE. Evidently the footstool is in use. David conceives of God as really present, and in his time the "glory-cloud" did rest between the cherubim, and the high priest might even see it on the ark-lid, which is regarded as the footstool. All the interest David felt in building the new temple depended upon his strong assurance that God, as the great King, was "making his abode with them." He wanted the palace to be worthy of the King. Show how this presence of God is now spiritually realized. Our Lord made so much of it in his teaching, even promising that his Father and he would come, and sup with, and dwell with, the open and trusting heart, making it his footstool. Such promises should make us also anxious that the uprising temple of our character and life should be in every way worthy of the indwelling Deity. "Know ye not that ye are the temples of the Holy Ghost, which is in you? '
II. GOD'S FOOTSTOOL IMPLIES THAT HE IS THERE IN CONDESCENSION. This seems a prominent point in the message sent by Isaiah," Heaven is my throne, the earth is my footstool." We think properly of the footstool as having a lowly office, and so easily regard willingness to put a foot upon it as a condescending act. We cannot think any temple we can build is worthy to be God's throne. He must condescend to enter our very noblest. And so of the temple of our character and life, it can be no more than his footstool. "Will God in very deed dwell with man on the earth?" It is wonderful grace that he is found willing to rest upon it his foot.
III. GOD'S FOOTSTOOL IMPLIES THAT GOD IS NOT LIMITED TO THE PLACE WHERE HIS PRESENCE IS APPREHENDED. His throne is not there. Only his foot is there. We must keep the sublime thought that he is above all things, though he fills all things. Show in what senses God may now be thought of as present in our churches. And earnestly impress the need of keeping up the sense of his non-limitation by any human places or human forms. All earth can at best be but a footstool, which he may touch if he will.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 28:8.-Persuasions to obedience.
"Keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God." 'Speaker's Commentary' says, "The sense would be clearer if the words were, 'I charge you, keep and seek;' and some commentators suppose that they did so run originally." In view of the connections of this verse, the following persuasions may be illustrated and enforced. Obedience to God's commands is man's natural duty; the duty that necessarily attends upon the dependent relation in which he stands towards God. But such is man's deterioration, through sin, that now he needs to be urged to his duty by all kinds of inspiring persuasions.
I. GOD'S GRACIOUS PROMISES ARE A PERSUASION, (1 Chronicles 28:6, 1 Chronicles 28:7.) David urges that those promises rest upon Solomon, and the grace of them should ever lead him to say, "What manner of person ought I to be?" But David realizes that even the promises are conditional upon man's constant, so they always urge to faithfulness.
II. GOD'S PRESENCE IS A PERSUASION. Illustrate the moral influence exerted by the actual presence of the schoolmaster, the farmer, the business man, or the king. "Thou God seest me" ought to be to us, not a terror, but the inspiration to all goodness. For our moral culture no assurance is more important than this: "Certainly I will be with thee."
III. SURROUNDING PEOPLE BECOME A PERSUASION TO EACH ONE. David has this scene enacted publicly that Solomon may feel how every man's expectations and hopes rest on him, and every eye will anxiously watch his career. For others' sakes we must be true, obedient, and faithful, for we "are made a spectacle unto men and unto angels."
IV. THE CONDITIONS OF OUR RELATIONS WITH GOD ARE A PERSUASION. Their maintenance depends entirely on our obedience (1 Chronicles 28:9). They are not sovereign relations, but distinctly conditional. It we forsake God, he will cast us off for ever. So the burden of responsibility is made to lie heavily on our own shoulders. We must "take heed;" we must" seek for" and "keep" the commandments of our God, the all-comprehensive commands of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 28:9.-The faithfulness of the great Heart-searcher.
"For the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts." For this conception of God, compare 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 7:9; Psalms 139:2; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12. The expressions of the text suggest the accuracy and intimacy of the Divine knowledge of men's affairs. Apprehend God rightly, and his interest in us fills us with grateful surprise. Illustrate David's feeling, "When I consider thy heavens… what is man that thou art mindful of him?" Solomon's, "Will God in very deed dwell with man on the earth?" Isaiah's, "To whom then will ye liken God?… He giveth power to the faint," etc. See the Divine interest:
1. In the spheres of natural life; i.e. in us as beings. He is near as Creator, Sustainer, Provider. Birth, preservation, and death are all his.
2. In the spheres of associated life; i.e. as beings in relations. Government, family, and Church are all under his Divine inspections.
3. In the spheres of mental life; i.e. as intellectual beings. All movements of mind he presides over.
4. In the spheres of spiritual life; i.e. as moral beings. God knows and watches all unfoldings of character and religion. All spheres are accessible to him. "All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Dwell on the subtlety of the human heart; its labyrinths and hiding-places and self-deceivings. How imperfect, at its best, is a man's own knowledge of his heart! How impossible it is for one man to know the intricate workings of the heart of another man! Searching the heart is required, that its subtle evils may be discovered. But all depends on who it is that does the searching work, and with what aim and purpose the searching is done.
I. GOD CAN SEARCH THE HUMAN HEART. He can, for he designed it, and knows all its possibilities. He can, for he has never let it slip away from his observation and. control, and so all its "latent mazes" he knows, and all its wilfulnesses he controls.
II. GOD SEARCHES THE HUMAN HEART WITH A DEFINITE AND GRACIOUS PURPOSE. Even its deliverance from evil and perfecting in holiness. This purpose makes good men regard the Divine searching as a most precious thing. In view of it David can pray, "Search me, O God." He feels, "God does not know me as a mere ordinary matter of knowledge. He is graciously and lowngly interested in me, and so he knows me helpfully, that he may adapt his grace to my various and subtle needs." This personal interest in our highest good, which gives tone to his searching, is brought home to our hearts by the tender interest shown in humanity, and in individuals of humanity, by the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. We feel that we never can resist his searching us through and through, and knowing us altogether. The close inspections of God may be:
1. A terror to us. Illustrate the influence of the words, "Thou God seest me," sometimes on little children. They are even used to frighten them into goodness. Compare Jacob's, "How dreadful is this place!" From Job, Isaiah, and John we learn that solemnity and awe should always attend the consciousness of God's near presence.
2. It may be a real practical help to us, as David expected it to be to Solomon, He who knows us so well, does not only know; he also gives strength. David, who trembles at God's searchings, can only say, "It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect."
3. It may be cherished as our holiest joy. No harm can come to us, for God's eye and hand are always on us. No good thing can fail us, for God knows all our real wants. Our Lord taught so often about the intimate knowledge and care of the heavenly Father, who keeps the sparrows, clothes the grass, watches over the seeds, paints the lilies, waves the harvests, and knows that we are of more value than flowers or sparrows.
Show that this truth, of God's knowledge and heart-searchings, bears upon men's tendency to self-deception. It is only possible to sin on when we have deluded ourselves into the idea that "God doth not see."—R.T.
1 Chronicles 28:20.-Personal relations with God.
"The Lord God, even my God." It is possible for us to have thoughts of God that keep him wholly external to us, and altogether unrelated to us. And it may be feared that such are the thoughts of God usually cherished by men, Though they may have a certain influence on us, the full and saving power of God cannot be known until we have appropriated him, and come into direct and personal relations with him. A man finds God a living force upon thought, heart, life, and conduct when he calls him my God. The work of Christ is, in great part, the bringing about of this relation, and the persuasion of the man to recognize it fully. Man lost says, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and hid myself." Man redeemed, and standing right with God, says, "I flee unto thee to hide me." "For thou art my God."
I. How CAN GOD BE THUS PERSONALLY APPREHENDED?
1. By accepting the revelation of his fatherhood which he makes in Christ the Son, and entering into the privilege and duty which it involves.
2. By winning the trustful, thankful love of those who know they are forgiven and redeemed.
3. By maintaining those close and intimate communions with God which bring freshly to us the joy of his care.
II. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN SUCH PERSONAL RELATIONS?
1. On God's part. Just what God loves, and what he is sure to meet with the fullest bestowments of his grace, is man's love and trust expressed in the words "my God."
2. On man's part. The relation becomes the most hallowing force exerted on the whole life. The man wants to be worthy of, wants to be like, his God.
III. WHAT MAY IMPERIL SUCH RELATIONS AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN APPREHENDED? This may be treated in detail, or in the general principle. To say, "my God," involves maintaining the trustfulness of full and obedient submission; and, therefore, the peril lies in some returning form of wilfulness. This separates us at once, in feeling, from God, so that the words "my God" will not rise to our lips.—R.T.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 28". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26