Summary: Asking those in attendance to consecrate their finances to the work of God in 2009
Have you ever had an “aha” moment or an epiphany? You know one of those moments when the connection is made and you understand something clearly for the first time. King David had an “aha” moment in 1 Chronicles 17. Something happened that made him realize for the first time that his living quarters were much better than the living quarters God had. King David was living in a palace while God was confined to the Ark of the Covenant, a very ornate box, but a box nonetheless. King David was living in a million dollar motor home while God lived in a back pack. It had been this way for some time, but it just never clicked. But when it did, his “aha” turned into an “oh no.” Something wasn’t right with this picture, so David started making plans to build a Temple for God.
God was honored by David’s desire. But because of David’s bloody past, God would rather have a man of peace build his residence and so God awarded the building contract to David’s son Solomon.
Hear now the word of the Lord read from 1 Chronicles 29.1-9. [S] “Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for human beings but for the LORD God. With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God-gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron, and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble-all of these in large quantities. Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple; three thousand talents of gold (110 tons or $2,509,760,000) and seven thousand talents of refined silver (260 tons $79,206,000) for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the skilled workers. Now, who among you is willing to consecrate yourself to the LORD today?”
“Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents (190 tons or $4,335,040,000) and ten thousand darics (185 pounds or $2,110,000) of gold, ten thousand talents of silver (375 tons or $8,556,000,000), eighteen thousand talents of bronze (675 tons) and a hundred thousand talents of iron (3,750 tons). Anyone who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.”(1 Chronicles 29.1-9, TNIV) [S]
The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
King David, Solomon and the people of Israel were going to build a Temple to their God. And it was going to take a lot. It was so grand that King David knew that he and Solomon could not do it alone. It would take the faith and finances of the entire community. So after sharing with the community what he was personally in for, he said to them, “Here is what I have pledged to the building of the Temple is anyone else willing to consecrate himself or herself to the building of the Temple of God today?"
Consecrate is a word we don’t hear much of. Consecrate means to devote something to a person or a project. To consecrate is to make something sacred. To consecrate is to set something or someone apart for special service. To consecrate implies dedication. So to consecrate something is to set it apart for the work of God making that which is consecrated sacred and holy.
For example kings like David were consecrated, set apart, to reign as God’s chosen. The facilities of the church campus have been consecrated, set apart, for the holy work of God. During Annual Conference there is a special service where those entering the pastoral ministry are consecrated, set apart, for the work of God.
In the same way King David set a portion of his wealth aside for the work of God and asked if anyone else was willing to join him in consecrating a portion of their wealth solely for the work of building God’s Temple.
[S] And the people responded big time! Based on the current value of gold and silver, the people of Israel pledged and consecrated around 7 billion dollars to the building of the Temple. And because of the concentrated consecrated effort of everyone involved the Temple was built and completed in 953 BC. This was not just another building program. The Israelites were not trying to keep up with the church down the street by any stretch of the imagination. The building of the Temple was so much more than that. The building of the Temple was a turning point in the life of Israel because the Temple was intricately connected to the spiritual well being of the people of Israel.