David is now at the end of his life; but he is still dreaming. And he still is filled with all kinds of missions and purposes. He’s always wanted to build a house for God; but God has never given him permission to do so. Yet, here he is, now, about to die and he is not holding a grudge because he has not been able to do what he’s wanted. Instead, he’s made up his mind to do all he can to make sure that the one who follows him will be successful in that long time dream of his!
So, as we begin Chapter 28, of 1 Chronicles, David has called together all of his leaders. These are leaders from the various tribes of Israel. They are leaders from within his own army, from his own house. His mighty men are there. His close friends are there. Everyone, who has any kind of leadership capacity, has come together in an assembly.
And now, David stands before all the leaders and says, in verse 2, “….” But, now, David begins to reveal unto them that he wants to make sure his son, Solomon, is a success. So, in verse 8, David gives them a charge. He says, “….” And so, David says to all the leaders, “Make sure to obey God, if you want to keep this land!” Then he turns to his son, Solomon, and he says, in verse 9, “….” So he is telling his son to serve Yahweh, the God that was David’s God. He is telling Solomon, “Solomon, you are the chosen one. Out of all my children, you were the one chosen to build the temple. Now you stay strong and you do it! It’s at this point that David begins to reveal the plans for that temple. I guess it’s kind of like an architect going to a project manager. And he carries these bundles of plans and he shows the detailed description of what the house is to look like. He talks about the material that is to be used. He gives the directions on where to get the materials and the crafters for these materials. And now, Solomon sees a good picture of the house he is going to build.
And now, we jump to 1 Chronicles 29:1. David looks again to the leaders and says, “….” So David tells the leaders all the things that need to be done to make the job easier for his son. And then, he asks them an important question, in verse 5.. He says, “Are you willing, today, to consecrate yourselves to the Lord?” And it’s almost as if they lift up their hands and say, “Yes!” Because you keep on reading and they bring an enormous amount of gold and silver and bronze and iron and precious stones. And it says, in verse 9, “….” Oh David is happy! He is an old man about to die; but he is an old man, setting the stage for a young son, whose task will be to build a house for God! The people have rallied behind him, once more, from the leaders to the little subjects. And now, David turns, in prayer, to God. And in verse 14, you see, once again, his good heart. He says, “….” Note verses 17-19. “….” Make sure you understand this statement. What he does is this. He prays for the people to continue with the desire and he prays for his son so that he will continue, whole-heartedly, in obedience to the word of God. And the chapter ends with Solomon becoming a leader. The end of an era is marked by the event of verses 26-28. “….” I’d like for you to really notice, this afternoon, how David, till the end of his life, was a master motivator. He wanted to see that a certain job got done. And he did it for God. I’d like to show three things David thought were necessary if the house of the Lord was going to be built and bring glory to the Lord. Now, I believe the same three things are needed, today, for us to do any job for God. These three things are essential for any of us to go to heaven.
I. To accomplish a job for God, we need a willing Mind
The first thing David says has to do with a willing mind! Did you notice how often David said, “I want you, my son, Solomon, to have a willing mind! He asked the people, “Are you willing?” He prayed to the Lord and said, “Will you keep this desire, this willing spirit, in the heart of my son and the people, forever?” David understood people very well. He knew the importance of desire for anyone (all of us) to finish a job!
Do you understand the importance of desire, this afternoon? I have found that when I am lacking in desire, I usually don’t do the job. And if I get to do the job, I don’t do it very well! Let me give you an example. It’s, now, the springtime of the year. Everywhere I turn, I find people working in their yard. Now, I am never too thrilled about yard work. It seems like my wife always has a list of things she would like done in our house and in the backyard. She wants a flowerbed dug, a flowerbed cleaned out. But, somehow, I never get around to doing any of that. She will, often, wake up and say, “Today is a beautiful day for you to work on this, or that.” But, somehow, that day, I always have something else to do! I always have a good excuse! I never have a hard time rationalizing when I don’t want o do something. The yard is no big deal, in our home; but letter writing is a big deal. Living so far away from home, people always expect a letter from us. So quite often, we are reminded of our duty to write, by friends and parents. They put great pressure on us. But you know what I always say? “That’s a woman’s job!” And “Women are better at that!” But, my wife sees right to the heart of the problem and she often says, “Oh yeah, it’s not that it is a woman’s job, it’s just you don’t want to do it!” And she is right! There are so many things in life I don’t want to do. So I never get around to doing them, except occasionally. Because, at times, someone will grab my arm so tight and twist it so far back that I will be forced to do that certain job that I’m trying to avoid. But again, when it is so, I usually don’t do a very good job.
And while doing this job, I usually have this problem. I kind of gripe and complain and whine, every step of the way. But while this may not be too serious for a work, outside the church, I would say it is very serious when I start acting like that towards the church! It can create a serious turmoil in God’s household. Do you know that, too often, we are like that in the church? We, too often, feel duty bound! We do what we do because a preacher is twisting our arm so hard that we cannot stand it anymore. So we act out of duty and not out of love. And the problem is we usually don’t do a good job for the Lord! And we gripe and we whine and we complain. We create a pity party for ourselves and drag others down with our bad attitude. All of this is because the right desire is not in our hearts. Maybe, this afternoon, we need to understand what it means to serve God with all of our heart and all of our might. Maybe we need to remember that it is those who truly have the desire that get to heaven!
II. To accomplish a job for God, we need whole-heartedness
But then there is another thing he mentions that he asks for in his followers. He asks for whole-heartedness. Now we don’t use that word very much anymore. We use words like faith, hope, love, baptism, giving and sacrificing. But we don’t use the word whole-heartedly, very often. Maybe it’s because we think it deals with the feelings; that, somehow, the word implies that we are talking about a feeling we ought to have. And we say, “Do you feel whole-hearted, today?”
But if you go back to the context of David’s saying, you will see that it’s a little different. He said, in 1 Chronicle 29:28, “Solomon, I want you to serve with wholehearted devotion.” He prayed for his son, in 1 Chronicles 29:19, for God to give him a whole-hearted devotion to keep the commands, the requirements and decrees. And here is what whole-hearted means, this afternoon. Whole-heartedness is an attitude more than a feeling. It is this attitude with which we are supposed to keep the commandments of God. It is that attitude, whereby, I approach the commands of God and say, “Whatever God wants me to do, I will do it, all the way!” Whole-heartedness is the opposite of the attitude that says, “I will keep part of the commands, but not the whole!” It’s the opposite of the spirit of compromise. It’s not going far in what God says; it’s going all the way! And what David was saying, to the people, was, “You need whole-heartedness!” See, when you live for God, you go all the way, not half the way!
Do you remember when Jesus, in Luke, Chapter 9, beginning in verse 59, was approached by the fellow that said, “Lord, I’ll follow you, but first let me go and bury my father!” What did Jesus say? “You let the dead bury the dead!” He said to another man, “You, you follow me!” And this other man said, “Yes, I’ll follow you, but first let me tell my family goodbye.” What did Jesus finally say? Luke 9:62 says, “….” Now Jesus was not condemning the idea of honoring a father by giving him a proper funeral. He was not condemning the idea of saying goodbye to a parent. But he was rebuking and condemning people whose heart was not right. People who made up excuses and were not willing to follow him all the way!
See, David knew that if a job was going to be finished, for God, the people not only had to have desire, but also a willingness to go all the way, to be whole-hearted!
III. To accomplish a job for God, we need the right timing
Then David brought out a third point of equal importance. He knew, I believe, that timing was important. He said, “Are you willing to consecrate yourself today?” Timing, we know, is important. How many times do we say, “He was in the right place at the right time!” There is a lot to be said, this afternoon, about being in the right place, at the right time! Many people will tell you to position yourself in the right place, at the right time. An example is buying a house with loan preapproval. See, David stressed that notion of right timing. For him, the right time was today! He was not someone who thought tomorrow would be another day! He was not one who thought people had ten years to do the right thing. I think he knew Roman nature fairly well. I think he knew the tendency we all have, to procrastinate. I think he also saw the danger of it. See, procrastination often does two things (not always, but often). Procrastination
But the real tragedy was that it didn’t have to happen because, about a week earlier, at a nearby community, a factory was buried by a mudslide, due to activity of the same volcano! The officials of St. Pierre had heard about that. They knew the volcano was active. They knew they had to evacuate; but the big debate was “when they had to evacuate!” So, for days, they talked about it. “If we do evacuate, today, where will those people go?” So they kept on saying, “Let’s wait until tomorrow. Maybe, then, we’ll have a solution!” And for a week, they put it off until tomorrow, until finally, one evening, it was too late. Timing is everything. Today is the day to consecrate ourselves to God. Today, not tomorrow, for tomorrow might be too late.
So, this afternoon, do you have a desire? Do you want to obey God whole-heartedly? Have you understood the sense of urgency? Today is the day. Tomorrow might be too late. Come forth as we stand and sing.