Now Do the Work

Today’s Reading:  1 Chronicles 28-29; 2 Samuel 23; 1 Kings 1-2:12;

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.

Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:1-3

“God’s way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31a).  These four words in David’s psalm of thanksgiving speak volumes to me.  My mind goes back to a grieving father – grieving his sin against God and grieving God’s decision to take the life of the son produced through David’s act of sin.  God forgave David’s transgression yet did not answer David’s prayer.   The same God who answered Hannah’s prayers of anguish with the birth of a son, did not answer David’s prayers of anguish for the life of his son. What do we do with this?

After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife.  David begged God to spare the child.  He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground…Then on the seventh day the child died. – 2 Samuel 12:15-18a

David’s advisers were surprised when he went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord after hearing of his child’s death.  He went from fasting to eating; from pleading with God to resting in God’s decision.

David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’  But why should I fast when he is dead?  Can I bring him back again?  I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:22-23

My mind cannot always wrap around our Almighty God; my human limitations cannot always understand a God who has no limitations.  GOD’S WAY IS ALWAYS PERFECT.  Even when I do not get the desire of my heart, God loves me and blesses me according to His plan – just as He did David.

Although God took the life of the baby conceived in David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, God chose to bless their marriage and gave them many more children.  Out of all of David’s wives and all of David’s children, God chose the next son born to David and Bathsheba to be David’s successor as King.  They named this son Solomon, but God gave him the name Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the Lord”.  With this name, God expressed his special love for Solomon and revealed His plan to use this baby in a special way.  Solomon would build God’s Temple – God would be his Father and Solomon would be God’s son (1 Chron. 28:6).

David had some powerful words of advice for his son and for all of us who are called to do a work for the Lord:

“…Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors INTIMATELY.  Worship and serve him with your WHOLE heart and a WILLING mind.  For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought.  If you seek him, you will find him.  But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.  So take this seriously.  THE LORD HAS CHOSEN YOU to build a Temple as his sanctuary.  Be strong, and do the work.”…

Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.  Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  HE will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.” – 1 Chron. 28:9-10, 20

David, a man who knew what it was to fail and be forgiven, a man who knew what it was to have his prayers sometimes answered with a “yes” and sometimes answered with a “no”, ended his reign as King praising God and praying for the people God had given him the privilege to lead:

“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever!  YOURS, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.  Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom.  We adore you as the one who is over all things.  Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything.  Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.

“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!  But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you?  Everything we have you first gave us!  We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us.  Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

“O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your name comes from you!  It all belongs to you!  I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there.  You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.

“O Lord, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you.  See to it that their love for you never changes.  Give my son Solomon the WHOLEHEARTED desire to obey all your commands, laws, and decrees, and to do everything necessary to build this Temple, for which I have made these preparations.” – 1 Chron. 29:10b-19

As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:  “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go.  Take courage and be a man.  Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways.  Keep the decrees, commands, regulations and laws written in the law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go…” – 1 Kings 2:1-3

What great advice for Solomon and what great advice for us today.  God may not answer every prayer the way we want him to, but take courage and grow up.  We may fast and plead with God only to lose someone we dearly love.  But don’t be afraid or discouraged – the Lord our God is with us!  What He has called us to do, He will equip us for.  What He has asked us to do, He will provide the resources for – whether that is earthly materials or strength to face the day.  He can give us the wholehearted desire to serve and obey Him, according to HIS plan and HIS will, regardless of the circumstances around us.

THE LORD HAS CHOSEN YOU to _______________.  Be strong and courageous, and do the work.

So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord! – Psalm 31:24