1 Chronicles 28

I Chronicles 28
by Pastor Mark Hudson

These last two chapters, are not found in Samuel and Kings, but are just simply fascinating.  The prayer in chapter 29 has been one of my favorites for years.  But let’s examine the structure of these two chapters.  I’m using Richard Pratt’s outline. I’m including chapter 29 since they form a unit.

David’s final assembly (28:1-29:25)

David assembles leaders (28:1)

David’s first speeches and actions (28:2-19)

David addresses assembly (28:2-7)

David addresses Solomon (28:8-10)

Actions following speeches (28:11-19)

David’s second speeches and actions (28:20-29:9)

David addresses Solomon (28:20-21)

David addresses assembly (29:1-5)

Actions following speeches (29:6-9)

David’s third speech and actions (29:10-25)

David addresses God (29:10-19

Setting  (29:10a)

Praise of God (29:10b-13)

Declaration of humility (29:14-16)

Petitions for the future (29:17-19)

David addresses the assembly (29:20)

Actions following speeches (29:21-25)  [Pratt. P. 151]

David is now an old man, probably 70, described in the next chapter as a person who died “at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor” 29:28.  By God’s grace, although failing, David still led Israel until he handed the reins to Solomon.  He gives this speech, gives Solomon the plans for the temple, charges the people and Solomon and prays this wonderful prayer.

Wouldn’t it have been great to be there and witness this assembly? David is giving his last speech on earth.   Like Joshua receiving his call to succeed Moses, Solomon is listening to every word his father is saying.  All the leaders are present since the Chronicler stresses the unity of the support behind David as well as the religious nature of this meeting hinted at by the word “assembled” in 28:1.

David begins with a note of humility (“my brothers”) and his identification with the nation (“my people”).  David’s language refers to Psalms 132:7 where the ark is referred to as a footstool of God.  Notice also that David refers to the temple as a house of rest which is like Ps. 132:5, 7, and 14.  The temple was meant to be a dwelling of God and a place where He rested after the enemies of Israel were defeated.

While it seems that David understands the Messianic significance of God’s promise in chapter 17, does David think God’s promises will be fulfilled in Solomon (v. 7)? Notice also that David continually stresses the inner demands of a life of faith.  First, this is a holy place (v. 2).   Success is primarily found if Solomon “continues strong in keeping my command-ments and my rules” (v. 7).  David also exhorts him in verse 9 to know, serve, and seek God.  David never confused the secondary goal of building a temple with the primary goal of knowing and honoring God.

David does not shy away from a strong warning to Solomon in v. 9, “if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”  The gospel message always comes with a warning to those who reject God.  We will be remiss if we fail to warn others.  We are surrounded by people who have been baptized and yet have rejected Christ.  Let us remain faithful to the message of hope and warning lest past generations condemn our ministry.  Much more important is what Christ will say to us.  How can we leave out the warnings, the reminders of sin’s consequences, the eternal punishment of hell, and the righteous judgment of God Almighty?  How fearful if we fall into the trap of pleasing people instead of the eternal God.

In v. 11ff David “gave” Solomon all the plans he had.  We don’t know if there were physical plans or merely verbal.  It is not as if the temple was radically different from the tabernacle.  There were similarities with the temple to the tabernacle.  Nor did David originate the ministry of the Levities.  God gave Moses the plans for Levites and worship.  Yet, David helped clarify the transition from a movable tabernacle to a stationary temple.  David says about his plans for the temple and the entire worship of God, that, “all this He made clear to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.”  David is claiming that his entire plans were from God.  Although David wrote them, God inspired all the words.

At the conclusion of chapter 28, David exhorts Solomon to not only work (“do it” in v. 20) but finish the construction of the temple (v. 20).  David tells Solomon that God will assist him.  “He will not leave you or forsake you until all the work . . . is finished” (v. 20).  Further, David points Solomon to the many priests and Levities, to willing men, and “the officers and all the people will be wholly at your command.” (v. 21).

You can tell that for David, building the temple, is a lifelong dream.  How David loved worship.  His legacy would be many things, but the temple was key.  So why does the Chronicler write about David and the temple?

Remember that we date David’s life around 1000 BC.  (He died on 970 B.C.) The Chronicler is writing to the post-exilic community.  So, his dates for writing Chronicles is anywhere around 500-300 B.C.  During this time the Jews are returning to an abandoned Jerusalem that looked forsaken, unoccupied, and rather unwelcoming. They needed encouragement.  And they needed to build the second temple in spite of the opposition they faced.  This was a tough environment to live and work in: they were called to build and yet they experienced little joy, they did not always know who friend or foe was, the task seemed impossible to complete, they started and stopped, and finally they at times wondered where God was.

So, the Chronicler is preaching to them by using this ‘ancient’ history.  God is with those who trust Him and obey His word.  Worship is the center of our lives.  Joy surrounds the people of God when they praise Him.  Follow God’s Word when you build the temple, reignite worship, and choose leaders.  These are all the lessons the Chronicler employs, using the life of David, to encourage the post-exilic (and remaining generations) to trust in God.  He will provide the Messiah who will establish a kingdom that will never end.  The first or second temple merely points to this greater kingdom.

David prays to God the Father, but we pray to Him through Jesus Christ echoing David’s words in I Chr. 29:11ff, “Yours, O Lord (Jesus Christ), is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heaves and in the earth is Yours.  Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.”  Amen.