Text 1 Chronicles 22-24 (Ps 76)
Observe David builds an altar to the Lord on the site he had purchased earlier. As he will not be building the Temple, (his past violence and bloodshed is the deterrent to the privilege) he prepares Solomon to take on this immense task. David blesses him and admonishes him to stay faithful to the Lord. (22:11-13) He begins amassing materials for the building. Advanced iage, David formally appoints Solomon his successor.
He divides the Levites into three groups, named after Levi’s sons: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Registering them for their tasks as recorded in the Torah, he distributes them among Levites over the age of 30 (Num 4:1-3): in the Temple’s construction, as judges, gatekeepers, and musicians. God’s praise will be constant; 4,000 Levites will sing and play instruments of David’s making for this purpose.
Their job descriptions change. Solomon will reign in peace, so the Levites no longer carry the Tabernacle from place to place. The Lord will reside in the Temple. Levites 20 years and over oversee the Temple and Tabernacle, assist the priests in their duties and do the everyday work of the Temple – an Altar Guild, of sorts. But their chief task? … to stand every morning and thank and praise the Lord. (23:26)
David places the priests themselves, descendants of Aaron, into 24 divisions chosen by lot. The fairest way to delegate, this avoids favouritism in age and rank. Priests carry out scheduled duties (Luke 1:8-9) as given by the Lord from the time of Aaron.
Interpret Lists of names are hard to read and interpret. Because descent was significant, we understand why genealogies and these tedious lists find inclusion in the Hebrew Bible. Painstaking naming is for future generations. Ancestral naming remains part of Semitic culture.
David’s vision for the magnificent structure was passed on to Solomon, planning and provision done well in advance. Now David, still a man after God’s heart, stays in the background and it becomes “Solomon’s temple”. While the Jews built the Tabernacle, Tyreans brought cedar from Gentile Lebanon and assisted in the construction. (Jesus, our Temple, draws all people to Himself.)
We consider how seriously praising God was taken, a vital task for the younger Levites, never to be neglected.
Apply If we’ve been in the spotlight at various times, it can be hard to yield centre stage to others. David faded into the background as he prepared Solomon for succession. In humility, he gave his young son the role, quietly using his gifts of administration and organization to carry out the vision. Not the builder of this splendid edifice, he was, finally, content just to be the Lord’s.
We might respond, ‘Praise the Lord!’ to good news, someone’s success, or answered prayer. That’s right to do, but the Temple community made a point of praising and thanking God, day and night (Ps. 134). Praise matters!
“Lift up your hearts./We lift them up to the Lord” the BCP liturgy instructs. Let’s cultivate this habit throughout our day. It takes practice and we might forget, but God’s Spirit will remind us! Simple words of praise free us from self-absorption as we look to the One who keeps our hearts.
Ask How hard is it for me to let someone else take over a task I do well? Can I graciously accept help? Is frequent intentional praise part of my day?
Pray Lord Jesus, I lift my heart to You. Lord, take my heart and my life. Jesus, thank You that You bought me at such a price. Father, I want to do Your will today. Praise you, great God! There are so many variants!
Song Psalm 76 (Neander) Trinity Psalms
Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.