1 Chronicles 22: 1 – 19
An unwanted house
22 Then David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” 2 So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. 3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, 4 and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. 5 Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So, David made abundant preparations before his death. 6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. 7 And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; 8 but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ 11 Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. 12 Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. 14 Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. 15 Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. 16 Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.” 17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, 18 “Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people. 19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore, arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”
I was just reading this news article. The state of Idaho has discovered that it is easier to take a mansion than it is to give it back.
The hilltop mansion was built by J. R. Simplot, potato magnate who became a billionaire by building a corporation that supplied McDonald’s with its golden French fries. Simplot, who died in 2008 at age 99, gave the mansion to the state of Idaho in 2004. The mansion was given to the state to serve as a residence for the governor of Idaho. But the current governor doesn’t want to live in it.
Most people in the state recommended returning it to the Simplot family, but the family doesn’t want it.
Meanwhile, the state of Idaho is spending thousands of dollars to maintain the empty mansion. Imagine—an unwanted mansion!
If you are like me, the first thing that comes to your mind is, ‘I’ll take it!’.
It almost seems unrealistic that no one in the state of Idaho wants this house? But, have no regrets Idahoans, you are not alone in not wanting a house. We will find out today that our Great and Holy Yahweh God did not want one built for Him either.
He said this to David in 1 Chronicles chapter 17, “17 Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under tent curtains.” 2 Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” 3 But it happened that night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, 4 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “You shall not build Me a house to dwell in. 5 For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought up Israel, even to this day, but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another. 6 Wherever I have moved about with all Israel, have I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’ ” ’ 7 Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. 8 And I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a name like the name of the great men who are on the earth. 9 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, 10 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. Also I will subdue all your enemies. Furthermore, I tell you that the LORD will build you a house. 11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”
If you go back to the beginning of our Bibles and read about the sin of Adam and Eve and the consequence that resulted was that the earth was cursed. It still is. So, why would our Holy Creator ever want to come and live in this cursed earth.
He knew that David loved Him and had the best intentions, but He declined David’s suggestion. In His appreciation He promised that He would build David a house (a dynasty of having his sons rule over Israel). When He said that David’s son would build Him a house our Majestic Holy Master was not referring to Solomon. He was referring to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, David’s Greater Son and Lord, who would build a house full of believers in love with Almighty God.
David accepted with awe the promise of having his sons reign after him but did not put two and two together. Therefore, we are going to learn today David’s persistence in building an earthly house for Adoni Yahweh Who allows by His Permissive Will agree to place His Name in and on the building for David’s sake.
If we read the Scriptures carefully without any presuppositions it is hard to escape the conclusion that the building of the Temple as a house of cedar was more David’s idea than God’s. God had made quite clear that He did not want a house of cedar but was completely satisfied with a Tent. He could not have made it clearer (17.4-6). And at that stage He commanded David not to build Him a house (17.4), and His stated reason for him not to do so was NOT because he was a man of blood (that came later) but was because He did not want a house of cedar as He was satisfied with the Tabernacle which better presented what He was. The house that He wanted David to build was rather a living house of true and righteous kings which would result in the final righteous king and the everlasting kingdom (17.14).
It is a reminder to us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways. We delight in magnificent buildings and would be honored to have one dedicated to us. We feel that by building a magnificent Temple we would be honoring God. But to God it meant nothing apart from appreciation of the thought that was in David’s heart. The Temple was to Him an irrelevance, and its dedication to Him meant nothing. What mattered to Him was what was in men’s hearts, and how true was their continual obedience. We are reminded how later Jesus would point out that those who truly served God were not those who sought authority and to exercise rule over people, but those who truly behaved as servants and had the attitude of true service. As He said Himself, ‘I am among you as One Who serves’ (Luke 22.27). God turns men’s ways upside down
It was David who had become consumed with the idea of God having a house of cedar, and who eventually (but not at the beginning) read into God’s promises the idea that his descendants should build such a house. God, as He did when His people had previously cried out for a king (see 1 Samuel 8.7), yielded to his entreaties, and went along with him in it. And just as, despite His own view of things, He had initially chosen Saul and blessed him in his kingship, so He initially blessed the Temple. Indeed, once it was destroyed He Himself would call for it to be rebuilt, because men’s reasons for not rebuilding it were the wrong ones. They had been commanded by King Cyrus to build it and had not done so. Thus, their failure to act His Name dishonored Him. Furthermore, at that stage they had no settled central place of worship, and they had no anointed king to unite them or remind them of the coming king who would bring in everlasting righteousness (Ezra 5.1; Haggai 1.9). Thus, the Temple could act as such a reminder. That is why God had so firmly linked with the coming age of peace. But at no stage had YHWH originally asked for such a Temple or commanded it. Nor, had He done so, would He have wanted it so closely connected with the king, so that it was almost the king’s chapel. And just as the Saul experiment ended in disaster, so would the Temple experiment end in disaster time and again.
The advantage of a Tent covered in goatskins was that men’s concentration was not on the Tent, but on the One Who was to be worshipped. It was not a distraction. And they did not think of God as bound to a Tent. More practically another advantage of a Tent was that it could be moved quickly and could ‘disappear’ overnight. It was not there to be desecrated. But a Temple was permanent and immovable. It could thus only wait to be destroyed. Furthermore, it trapped men into the conception that God too was bound to Jerusalem, and to the Temple (Jeremiah 7.4, 14), and would not allow it to be destroyed.
Please note how Ezekiel, having revealed that YHWH had deserted the Temple (Ezekiel 10.18-19; 11.23), placed his ‘heavenly’ Temple on a mountain outside Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40.2). Indeed, when it was rebuilt a third time God had to finally reject and determine the destruction of their Temple in order that the living Temple of Jesus Christ (John 2.19-21) and His body, the living ‘house’ that He had promised (2 Corinthians 6.16-18), might take its place.
Thus, in what follows as a closure to David’s reign, there is no suggestion that God had come to David and countermanded His previous rejection of a house of cedar. Rather there is an indication that such a house of cedar was what David had determined on. It was an idea that came from his own heart. And God acceded to it out of love for David, with a certain proviso. If such a Temple was to be built it must be as a symbol of the coming kingdom of peace.
Convinced, in spite of Nathan’s prophecies, that he should build a house of cedar for YHWH and spurred on by what had happened when he had offered burnt offerings and sacrifices on the altar on the threshing-floor, David determined to build such a house. And when God subsequently forbade him to do so claiming he was a ‘man of blood’, he made all preparations for his son to build it. He would not let go of the idea. He failed to recognize that God was not glorified by physically magnificent buildings, but by spiritually magnificent lives.
22 Then David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
Impressed by the way that his offerings on the altar on the threshing-floor of Ornan had been burned up by fire from God, and by how these had been efficacious in the deliverance of Jerusalem, David was impressed with the feeling that here was the true house of God. determined in his heart to build a Temple there. He saw it as a place where YHWH had manifested Himself, and it thus seemed, from his point of view as a man, that it was the right place for the worship of God to take place and therefore for the Temple that he had fixed his heart on building. (Note that God said nothing on the matter). Thus, he looked around at the altar, and the empty space which he had purchased, and he saw there in his mind’s eye a magnificent Temple, and declared, “this (threshing-floor) is the house of YHWH God, and this altar is the altar of burnt offering for Israel’. He now had no doubt about where he was going to site his Temple. Again, we note that he did not ‘enquire of YHWH’.
2 So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God.
In preparation for the commencement of building David gathered together the manpower to do the work. (Please take note that non-Israelites were principally the ones who build the Temple) And being reluctant to force true-born Israelites to participate in his building scheme, he gathered all those who were sojourning (dwelling without citizenship) in the land of Israel, that is, who were not Israelites. It was they who were reluctantly to provide the manpower for the hard work that was involved. Meanwhile the technical work was to be done by trained men, such as masons who would hew rock into stones for the building.
Here is an additional hint that the idea was not of God. Would God seriously have required something which would prove so costly in unwilling human sacrifice? The building of such massive buildings took a heavy human toll. This was the work of a king, not of God. And as we will learn it would contribute to the dissatisfaction of the people and finally result in the division of Israel into two parts (2 Chronicles 10.4). It is difficult to imagine that a prophet of God could have fully approved of it. David was not acting as a shepherd to his people, But because God loved David He went along with him in it.
3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, 4 and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
David also got ready an abundance of iron, for making nails and couplings; bronze for decoration and furniture, and cedar trees out of which to build the house. He was determined that everything would be available when it was needed.
The source of the cedar trees is now explained. They were provided in abundance by Tyre and Sidon, no doubt through the decree of king Hiram. These would be floated down from where they were launched after being cut down and shaped, to a spot where they could be collected and brought to Jerusalem. The heavy work would be done by the unwilling sojourners.
5 Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So, David made abundant preparations before his death.
In total contrast to YHWH’s Tent of curtains David aimed to make the Temple so magnificent that its fame and glory would be spoken of everywhere. Feeling that his young son Solomon was not enough for the task he was making assiduous preparations. By the time he died full preparation would have been made. It will be noted that this was David’s idea, not YHWH’s. YHWH would have seen it as degrading Him simply because it could not be magnificent enough to express What He was, or movable enough to demonstrate His widespread dominion, or transitory enough to indicate that He was not of this world (unlike the other gods of the nations). But He acknowledged David’s desire to honor and please Him, so seemingly said nothing. As we know from our own experience, when our hearts are set on something ‘for God’ that God does not really want, He often allows us to carry on, and even assists us in it because He recognizes our genuineness of heart. It is part of the way in which He finally brings about His purposes, teaching us lessons while He does so. But this lesson would take a long time in learning.
6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel.
Then David called for his son, Solomon and charged him with the building of the Temple for ‘YHWH the God of Israel’, which would make Solomon’s name known far and wide, and become the envy, and eventually the target, of the nations. But on the whole, it would be the magnificence of the building that they envied, not the magnificence of YHWH. It failed in its purpose. So while the house may have aroused praise and worship to YHWH in the Israelite who immediately associated it with YHWH (at least while Israel were still true to YHWH), it gave the wrong idea of YHWH to others. And that it failed even with Israel comes out in the aftermath, for it continued to be used even when apostasy reigned, and YHWH was sidelined.
David now gives his solemn charge to Solomon informing him that it was he who was to build a Temple for YHWH, because he was a man of peace, and that all that was necessary for it had already been put in hand. His words echo the words of Nathan the prophet in chapter 17, but now they are given a new meaning. Instead of the emphasis being on the future house of David, it has turned towards the building of a literal Temple. It would seem that David’s persistence in wanting to build a Temple was finally accepted by YHWH as inevitable and resulted in what is described here. But it was a downgrading of the real promises. As YHWH had pointed out, He continued to be satisfied with the Tabernacle. It was the house of David that He was concerned to build. It was thus David who required the building of the Temple, as he now admits.
7 And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God;
Thinking back over previous chapters we note that once again David did not enquire of YHWH. Instead he followed what was in his heart. He should have taken note of how YHWH had countermanded what Nathan had said in 17.2. But he had become so filled with the idea of building a Temple for YHWH that all else was ignored. And it seems that YHWH, recognizing the genuine desire of David to please Him, fell in line with his wishes.
8 but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.
One point made by our Holy Lord God was that David was not a suitable man to build a Temple because of all the blood that he had shed. It had been made abundantly clear that YHWH was with him in all his wars, and was primarily responsible for his victories. His victories have already been depicted as indicating his glory, and that God was pleased with him. How then could it make him not suitable to build the Temple? Had he not continually been obeying YHWH?
The answer must lie in the fact that YHWH wanted the Temple to be a symbol of peace, so that it pointed to the future coming of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9.5), and that it could not be so if David built it. It would rather magnify war. Thus, it must be built by a prince of peace. Thus, in that sense it was Solomon who was the archetype of the coming king. And yet he was rarely elsewhere so envisaged. Throughout Chronicles the obedience, or otherwise, of kings is mainly associated with David, not Solomon. But the point is that the Temple could not have the significance of arising out of peace, and thus as pointing to the Messiah, if built by David.
9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.
It is amazing how we do not listen to our Great and Wonderful Counselor. Solomon was already born so David should have listened to his own words. He was near his death, so another son was not on the horizon in being born to him. David was informed by YHWH that he would have a son (which meant some descendent of his Who would be a King of Peace) who would be a man of rest. Like Joshua (Joshua 11.23; 23.1) David had brought rest to his people (22.18; 23.25; 2 Samuel 7.1). But it was Solomon who oversaw that rest. The whole book portrays the idea that rest was the God’s aim for Israel, only spoiled by invaders who came because Israel had become excessively sinful. The idea of a final kingdom of peace was an important part of Israel’s expectations (Psalm 37.11; 72.7; Isaiah 9.6-7; 11.5-9), when invaders would come no more because God’s people were righteous.
In future days, because they had not absorbed this message, Israel would look for a warlike Messiah. It was inconceivable to them that the Messiah could come as any other than a warlike figure. So, it is even more remarkable that God made clear here that when the Messiah did come He would come in peace, bringing peace not war, just as YHWH has indicated.
10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
This idea of Solomon as an archetype of the Prince of Peace comes out here in the cozy relationship between him and YHWH. They will be as father and son, and the throne of his kingship will be established over God’s people forever.
These words echo 2 Samuel 7.13-14a. But there the house to be built by his seed was the Davidic house, which was YHWH’s house. It was to result in the throne of his kingship being over Israel forever. David has, however, misinterpreted the words and has taken it over so that it speaks of the Temple.
11 Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you.
David now encourages his son for what lies ahead. These words echo YHWH’s words to Joshua on the eve of the invasion of the promised land. There Joshua was promised prosperity and success based on heart obedience to the Law of Moses as a consequence of meditating on it (Joshua 1.9). Joshua too had seemed to be on the verge of establishing the kingdom of God. But here David replaces obedience to God’s commands as given in the Law of Moses with obedience in building the Temple. We sense here the insidious working of Satan who has caused David to read his own ideas into what God required (although in verse 13 David will add the provision of obedience to the Law of Moses).
So, David takes the promise of the future house (David’s dynastic house) as referring to a literal Temple, and YHWH now goes along with him in it out of compassion. He will allow him to build a Temple despite what He has previously said. David probably saw in Solomon’s coming reign the fulfilment of the expectations of Israel (Psalm 2.7-10), and that and the building of the Temple seemed to go together (all powerful nations had Temples). But the building of the Temple will lead to in the division of the kingdom. And we know now that Messiah has come, and that His house, and ours, is His people, and not a physical Temple. The original promise was the right one.
“Build the house of YHWH your God, as he has spoken concerning you.” As we have seen David has misinterpreted the promise. But YHWH allows it out of deference for the desires of His servant David, in the same way as He does not interfere when we misinterpret promises. So now David urges Solomon to fulfil the words. We might feel that had Solomon been left to concentrate on ruling his people wisely things would have turned out better. As it was he was committed by David to a massive building project which gave him big ideas. As a consequence, he became a typical oriental monarch.
12 Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.
David does recognize the necessity for obedience to the Law of Moss. This was the difference between him and Saul. And so, he calls on God to give Solomon discretion and understanding (both of which Solomon will in the end lack) and give him the charge to keep His Law in relation to Israel. Here the reference to Joshua 1 by David cannot be doubted. “Observe the Law of YHWH your God -- then you will prosper -- to do the statutes and the ordinance which YHWH charged Moses with -- be strong and of good courage, fear not nor be dismayed”. (Joshua 1.7-9). Like Joshua as he faces the task of establishing the kingdom of God in Canaan, Solomon is to observe the Law of YHWH given to Moses, doing its statutes and ordinances, then he will subsequently prosper, and can be strong and of good courage, fearing nothing. These words would be a great encouragement to the young Solomon in the face of the tasks ahead. The words come to us too as we seek to establish God’s rule over men. We too must observe His word and seek our strength and encouragement in Him.
14 Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them.
David now explains to Solomon what he has done in preparation for the building of the Temple. ‘In my affliction.’ This may refer to the wars that he has had to endure, or to the strenuous activities which had enabled him to build up wealth despite his old age. He now wants Solomon to recognize that he has amassed for the purpose a huge stock of gold, silver, bronze and iron, together with timber (cedar wood) and prepared stone.
15 Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work.
And as well as the materials David had gathered and trained skilled workmen of all kinds who could fulfil the tasks required for such a huge building. Some would be hewers of wood, other workers in stone and timber. Both stones and timber would have to be cut to size and shaped. Great stones would have to be broken up and shaped. And there would be innumerable other skillful tasks required such as metal-workers and potters.
16 Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.”
Here it is made clear that the gold, silver, bronze and iron were beyond assessing. They simply could not be calculated.
This is again reminiscent of Joshua 1.2, 9, 17. It is a call to action in the light of what has been said. Solomon is to ‘arise and be doing’. David was filled with a sense of urgency concerning the work, and he does not want Solomon to delay in carrying it out. It is a call that comes to all of us. There should come a time for us all when we ‘arise and do’ knowing that the Lord will be with us. There comes a time for action.
17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying,
David commands all the princes of Israel to aid his son in the work. He wants them to be behind him in what he does.
18 “Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people.
He pointed out to princes that YHWH their God was with them, and that He had demonstrated this by giving them rest on every side, by delivering them out of the hands of ‘the inhabitants of the land’.
19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore, arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”
Because of what YHWH has done they are to set their heart and their whole life to see after YHWH their God. And that involved arising and building the sanctuary of YHWH God to unite the Ark of the Covenant of YHWH, which was in the Tent in Jerusalem, with the holy vessels of God which had come from long ago and were in the Tabernacle. It was a desire to unite the worship of YHWH under one roof. This would then indicate that YHWH and His people were one, and that their hearts were right with Him.
David now seeks to organize the ministry of the Tabernacle in Gibeon, and the Tent in Jerusalem. This would put them in readiness for when all served in the Temple. He not only wanted things to be as easy as possible for the young Solomon, but he was also remembering how fatal his attempt had been to bring the Ark into Jerusalem without consulting YHWH and without ensuring that the correct procedures were followed. Now he wanted to ensure the validity of those who would serve in the house of God and its courts, and to ensure that only genuine Levites were involved, and then to urge them to serve faithfully. What follows is therefore a determination by David to ensure that he does what is right by God in covenant obedience.
We may well feel, what has this to do with us today? The answer is ‘much every way’. It is a reminder of the care that we should take to ensure that only those chosen by God should have responsibilities in our services and our activity, whilst maintaining the freedom of the Holy Spirit. It is not something we should take lightly. It is a reminder that we should take great care to ensure that all that has to be done in the church is done properly, and that the church is properly maintained, and its worship carried out in accordance with God’s requirements. It is a reminder that we are responsible to put our whole heart into the furthering of God’s work, and that we should play our full part in praying, singing and using musical instruments to the glory of God. It is stressing that we should be right hand men and women to our ministers/elders.