Summary: David’s final words to Solomon are, in fact, a primer in spiritual formation for the believer.
An ancient Chassidic parable tells the story of Yechiel, the young grandson of a Chassidic rabbi, who once played hide-and-seek with a friend. When it was his turn to hide, he found a great hiding place where he waited, somewhat impatiently, for his friend to find him.
He waited and waited; it seemed like hours - but his friend never came. In fact, his friend had never even started looking for him. He’d left the little boy and gone home.
With tears streaming down his face, Yechiel ran to his grandfather and told him what had happened. Deeply moved by the hurt of his grandson, the rabbi also broke into tears saying, "God says the same thing - ’I hide, but no one tries to find me’".
1. I hide, but no one tries to find me. When you first heard that statement, you probably said to yourself, “God makes himself available to everybody – he doesn’t hide!” Your problem (mine, too), is that you think like a 21st century gentile…
A. In ancient Jewish thought, God made himself visible only to those who sought him – particularly priests, prophets and others called specifically by God. They believed God hid himself from the pagan nations because he did not wish to reveal himself to them.
B. For this reason, the Jews focused much of their theology on seeking God’s face (some believe this phrase is a reference to his “hiding”).
C. Whether you share their belief or not is not important. What is important for the sake of our study is that you understand it; and perhaps by the close of our time together you will have a new appreciation for Jewish thought as it relates to OT writings.
2. Read 1 Chronicles 28:1-10 from JPS while their Bibles are closed.
3. PRAY. TWM to 1 Chronicles 28.
1. In this passage the Chronicler records David’s plans for the building of the temple of the Lord, and his final instructions to his son Solomon.
2. David has come to terms (to some extent) with the fact that he will not build the temple for Yahweh his God, despite his deep desire to do so (cf. v.2). If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a dream, you understand David’s disappointment.
3. He masks his regret (as many of us do) with some positive self-affirmation (v.4-7):
A. Yahweh, the God of Israel chose me to be king; first Judah, then my family, then me!
B. Among my sons, he has chosen Solomon to be the king of the kingdom of the Lord.
C. Solomon, my son, will build the temple; he will be the LORD’s son
D. His kingdom will last forever if he is uncompromising in carrying out the law of God.
4. David’s words of self-affirmation do not grow out of arrogance, but out of a duty to bless the LORD. The Jews saw blessing as two-dimensional; God showering goodness upon man, and man responding with praise, worship, submission and obedience.
5. After issuing a challenge to the children of Israel (v.8) to live in strict obedience to the laws and commandments of Yahweh, he turns his attention to Solomon in a beautifully passionate moment, and gives him this emotional instruction (v.9):
A. And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge (know) the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
i. NIV acknowledge is unfortunate - should probably be translated know
ii. Heart does not refer to the organ, or even the emotions, but the inner midst of the will – the center of conscious decision
6. This verse brings us to a question: How do I seek God and know God, and is there a relationship between the two? Let’s take a look and see for ourselves…
III. HOW DO I SEEK GOD?
1. The textbook answer to this question is to “read the Bible and pray”. I find no fault with that instruction, but we need clearer direction than that to be effective. Jesus taught that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. With that in mind, seeking God should follow this pattern.
A. Seek with your heart. Remember, the heart refers to the inner midst of the will – the center of conscious decision. In other words, the pursuit of God begins with attitude, not activity. Your must decide to pursue him – you must make it a goal.
i. If you want a closer walk with God, if you ever feel distant or disconnected, this is how you begin to recover; with a change of attitude toward the things of God.