I’ve been reading through the Old Testament lately, and I’m nearing the end of 1 Chronicles. Now, I’ll admit, this is a hard book. Among those who have tried such things, it is ranked right up there with Leviticus and Numbers as one of the prime killers of the “Read the Bible in a Year” plan. There are tons of geneaologies in this book, which, I’m sure I’ll appreciate one day when I’ve actually gotten a better grasp on biblical history, but for now, it just kind of runs into a blurry list of names I can’t confidently pronounce.
Before I accidently say something stupid against the Holy Writ, let me clarify: The reason I said the above is to say, don’t count out the hard books. Yes, 1 Chronicles is not an easy read, but there are little gems sprinkled all throughout it. And I’m sure the more I grow in the Lord, the more of them I will spot and appreciate.
The one that’s particularly grabbed my attention is towards the very end of the book, where King David puts his money where his mouth is. Or, more accurately, where his heart is, as we shall see.
David really wanted to build the Temple of the LORD — however, God made it very clear that it was not his job to do it. The task would instead fall to Solomon. So in the interim, before David handed over the kingdom to his son, he began stockpiling gold, silver, bronze, high-quality wood, and the like. He drew up blueprints. He recruited builders, artists, and worshipers. He did everything he could short of actually building the thing.
That in itself is a pretty massive statement of humility. God acknowledged the dream of David’s heart, and acknowledged that it was going to happen — only David wasn’t going to get to do it. Many people would throw a royal (no pun intended) conniption fit, and quit, declaring it unfair. I know for myself, when I am faced with a disappointing blow, my reaction is to simply try not to care anymore, dismissing it as no big deal (not that that’s a good idea).
However, David didn’t cry, “No fair!”, nor did he shrug, “No big deal.” He threw himself passionately into setting the stage for the temple to be brought forth.
This passage in particular is the one that sparked this post. It’s provoking:
“Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might… Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house…” (1 Chronicles 29:2-3)
Those two little phrases there. “Because I have set my affection… I have given”. David was passionately, completely consumed with zeal for the house of the LORD — the same zeal Jesus Himself displayed (see Psalm 69:9 and John 2:17). Because his affections were at the house of his God, that’s where his money went.
It’s true. Where our hearts go, our money follows. People who love gadgets will drop a lot of cash on them, sometimes camping out for days to do so. People who love fashion will have credit cards, with running balances, at all the major trend spots. People who love cars will not only get a nice vehicle, but will pay for all the necessary upkeep and pampering to keep that thing looking and running like a dream.
There’s a reason collectors’ items have any kind of market (because in all honesty, who needs an exact replica of Arwen’s necklace?). There’s a reason you can buy designer garb for your dog. There’s a reason shops can get away with charging $4-$5 for a simple cup of cofee. We are willing to spend money on whatever it is we love.
King David was immensely focused on where his money went. If you look at the mountainous pile of really precious stuff he dedicated to the temple, you had better believe he cared a lot about the project. 1 Chronicles does not show us a gift that was for a calculated tax write-off. You can only give away that kind of bank if you are crazily committed to the cause. You can’t put your money where your mouth is unless your heart is in big time agreement with what your mouth is saying. And David was fully there.
Reading this passage, I was struck. Where is my money going? I say I love the house of my God — and I believe genuinely do. But if that’s the case, and I’ve invested my heart in the prayer movement, then my resources should be headed that way as well. If I ever start seeing this as a 10% duty, rather than a 100% privelege (I’ve been on both sides of that fence, for sure), then it’s a pretty good indicator that my heart is no longer where my mouth is.
I may not have carts full of gold and silver to dedicate, but the Lord has entrusted me with certain strengths and resources. Money, time, energy, effort, prayers, service, planning — David sunk all of that and more into the building of the Temple. To whatever measure of those things I have been given, I want to be radically, generously the same way. I want my heart to be fully invested in the work of the Lord, so that I keep looking for opportunities to sow into it with my strength.
This is not just for the one-off rich king. This is for all of us.
Praise the Lord for 1 Chronicles.