1 Chron 29:1 Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God.”

The grace of giving - sermon notes

Text: 1 Chron 29:1-20; 2 Corinthians 8:1-10

This sermon was not prepared for a special Sunday devoted to the church’s finances, but for an ordinary Sunday when our text happened to be all about giving.

How many people are like me? They’ve had it on their minds for some time to review their giving to the work of God, but not quite got round to it.

Here are two very different situations. In the first, King David, right at the end of his earthly life, is passing on the responsibility for building the temple to Solomon, and is holding a fund-raising day.

In the second, the Apostle Paul, concerned about the relief of famine that had aflicted Jewish Christians in Judea, is encouraging his readers in Corinth to follow the example of the believers in Macedonia who had made a wonderful contribution towards this project.

What characteristics of consecrated giving emerge from these two passages?

1. They gave generously. See vv2-5. David gives beyond his obligations. So do the others.

2 Cor 8:2f, ‘Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity…that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.’ Question: am I giving as little as I can get away with, or as much as I am able?

2. They gave devotedly, v3 – ‘in my devotion to the temple of my God.’ Cf. Psa 26:8 – ‘I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.’

2 Cor 8:5, ‘They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.’ 2 Cor 6:16, ‘We are the temple of the living God.’ Question: is my giving motivated by devotion to God, his people and his work?

3. They gave willingly, v6. Also verse 17 – ‘All these things have I given willingly.’

2 Cor 8:3f – ‘Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.’ Question: is my giving reluctant, or is it willing?

4. They gave gratefully, v14 – ‘Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.’

2 Cor 8:9 – ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ All that I have, and am, is from God. Therefore, it is no pain to give it back. Question: am I mindful, when I give, that I am merely giving back what God has so bounteously given to me?

5. They gave joyfully, v9, ‘the people rejoiced’. V20 – ‘Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the Lord your God.” So the people praised the Lord.”

2 Cor 8:2 – ‘Their overflowing joy…welled up in rich generosity’. Question: Am I a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7)?

6. Theu gave contageously. Why is this passage in the Bible? David, v1, encourages the leaders, v6, who encourage the people, v10. The Chronicler now encourages a new generation.

2 Cor 8:7, ‘See that you also excel in this grace of giving.’ Question: in what ways are we encouraging one another in our giving?

7. They gave graciously. This comes from the closing days of David’s life. Not for David the bitter despair of old age. The Lord had formed in David in godly character: he was a man after God’s own heart.

2 Cor 8:1, ‘the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches’. Also v8.

Question: have a received the grace of God that alone will create in me a generous, devoted, willing, grateful, joyful, heart, one that flows over in contageous giving?

Lord, I want, by your grace, to ascend the ladder of consecrated giving: duty, necessity, privilege, joy.

Commitment, vv1-9

Verses 1-6: ‘David followed Moses’ example in asking for contributions to the temple project. (Ex 25:1-8 35:4-9,20-29) These directions would remind the exiles returned from Babylon of the importance of continuing contributions to the new temple.’ (Hag 1:2-11 Mal 3:8-10) (New Geneva)

King David said to the whole assembly – True worship is corporate, not individualistic. It is contagious: notice how David (v1) encourages the leaders (v6), who in turn encourage the people (v9). ‘People gathered for worship are like a heap of fresh and burning coals warming one another as a great strength, freshness and vigour of life flows into all.’ (Isaac Pennington)

“This palatial structure” – The Chronicler was looking back to the building of the 1st temple in order to give encouragement for the building of the 2nd. We have to do with yet another temple, which is built, not by human hands, but by God, and consists, not of perishable things, such as gold and silver, but of immortal souls.

1 Chron 29:2 With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God-gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble-all of these in large quantities.

The listing of gifts emphasis their cost and quality. David gives generously, voluntarily, and beyond his obligations.

1 Chron 29:3 Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple:

‘He gave all this, not as Papists build churches, in commutation of penance, or to make atonement for sin, nor as Pharisees give alms, to be seen of men; but purely because he loved the habitation of God’s house; so he professed (Ps 26:8) and here he proved it. Those who set their affection upon the service of God will think no pains nor cost too much to bestow upon it; and then our offerings are pleasing to God when they come from love. Those that set their affection on things above will set their affection on the house of God, through which our way to heaven lies.’ (MHC)

1 Chron 29:4 three thousand talents of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings,

1 Chron 29:5 “for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the LORD?”

“Who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord?” – ‘Who then will offer willingly, consecrating themselves today to the LORD?’ (NRSV)

‘Observe how handsomely David spoke to the great men of Israel, to engage them to contribute towards the building of the temple. It is our duty to provoke one another to love and to good works, not only to do good ourselves, but to draw in others to do good too as much as we can. There were many very rich men in Israel; they were all to share in the benefit of the temple, and of those peaceable days which were to befriend the building of it; and therefore, though David would not impose on them, as a tax, what they should give towards it, he would recommend the present as a fair occasion for a free-will offering, because what is done in works of piety and charity should be done willingly and not by constraint; for God loves a cheerful giver.’ (MHC)

As Wilcock points out, this may seem to crude way of expressing devotion to God. But, as Acts 11:27-30 illustrates, the NT itself has the same teaching expressed in a different way. ‘There is no generation of God’s people, least of all our own, which can afford to sidestep the issue. Although so much has changed in the world, still the challenge is here to be accepted: for the work of God, for the benefit of the “temple” which is his people, are we prepared to give – to give the gold and silver and precious stones (29:7f), and to give the whole heart (29:9)?’ The present verse (as rendered by NRSV) brackets the outward act (offer willingly) with the inner attitude (consecrating themselves).

Martin Luther said that three conversions were necessary: of the heart, of the mind, and of the purse.

On the NT pattern of giving, see 2 Cor 8:1 ff.

1 Chron 29:6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly.

1 Chron 29:7 They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron.

Ten thousand darics of gold – ‘This takes us at once across the generations to the Chronicler’s own time. The word daric is an anachronism so far as the gifts for the first temple are concerned. It is a coin of the Persian Empire, first minted in the reign of Darius I, five centuries after David, and certainly known to the Chronicler’s readers. In this way the generosity of their ancestors is brought to life for them, much as it might have been indicated in terms of pounds or dollars in a modern translation. There is every reason why the challenge and the response should be put in the “up-to-date” way by the Chronicler. His world is that which has seen the building of the second temple. In spite of the lavish financial support with which that project was set in hand, it tended from then on to progress in fits and starts. To the accounts in Ezra and Nehemiah we need to add the straight talking of the last prophetic books of the Old Testament, Hag 1:3-4 Zec 8:9 Mal 3:8. Israel after the exile was faced with the same sort of challenge to commitment as the Israel of the early monarchy had been. And it was still to be met in the same practical way: the giving of oneself, expressed by the giving of one’s wealth.’ (Wilcock)

1 Chron 29:8 Any who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite.

1 Chron 29:9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

1 Chron 29:10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, oh LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.”

Contentment, vv10-22a

Daivd praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly – ‘David was now old and looked upon himself as near his end; and it well becomes aged saints, and dying saints, to have their hearts much enlarged in praise and thanksgiving. This will silence their complaints of their bodily infirmities, and help to make the prospect of death itself less gloomy. David’s psalms, toward the latter end of the book, are most of them psalms of praise. The nearer we come to the world of everlasting praise the more we should speak the language and do the work of that world.’ (MHC)

The Chronicler was writing for a people who might very well think, ‘It was all very well for them.’ Therefore, ‘it is necessary that…he should bring out the inner principle which holds good even in changed circumstances…We live in a time in the church’s history which tends to value Christian experience more than the cause of that experience. So it is important to grasp that the believer’s joy, which is a responsive emotion, can be an abiding thing only because God’s bounty, which gives rise to it, is itself an abiding thing.’ (Wilcock) As Wilcock remarks, the cause and effect are linked together in the following lines:

Oh may this bounteous God
Through all our lives be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us.

1 Chron 29:11 yours, oh LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, oh LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

This is probably the source of the longer ending of the Lord’s prayer (Mt 6:13; cf. Lk 11:4).

“Everything in heaven and earth is yours” – See Gen 1:1 Ps 115:15-16.

‘He is the fountain and centre of every thing that is bright and blessed. All that we can, in our most exalted praises, attribute to him he has an unquestionable title to. His is the greatness; his greatness is immense and incomprehensible; and all others are little, are nothing, in comparison of him. His is the power, and it is almighty and irresistible; power belongs to him, and all the power of all the creatures is derived from him and depends upon him. His is the glory; for his glory is his own end and the end of the whole creation. All the glory we can give him with our hearts, lips, and lives, comes infinitely short of what is his due. His is the victory; he transcends and surpasses all, and is able to conquer and subdue all things to himself; and his victories are incontestable and uncontrollable. And his is the majesty, real and personal; with him is terrible majesty, inexpressible and inconceivable.’ (MHC)

‘Dependence on God means counting on his control. David acknowledged God’s greatness. Our constantly changing world is controlled by a constant and unchanging God. As we see life come and go, materials decay, and friends change, the only thing on which we can truly depend is God’s control. His love and purpose for us never change. Only when we understand this can we have real peace and security.’ (HBA)

1 Chron 29:12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

You are the ruler of all things

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Providence – Foundational Principles” collapsed=”true

1. God is sovereign in this universe and in complete control of all things. (1 Chron 29:11-12 Ps 24:1 115:3 135:6) Nothing is able to stand up to him, defy him, or do that which will defeat him in the end. Not only is this true on earth; this is true among the so-called gods. In fact, there are no other gods, only idols; God alone is God in all the universe (Deut 4:35,39 Isa 45:5-6 1 Cor 8:4-6 1 Tim 1:17) and nothing is impossible for him. (Jer 32:27 Lk 1:37)

2. The one and only God created the world; hence, it is his and subject to him. (Deut 10:14 Job 9:5-10 Ps 89:11 95:3-5 1 Cor 10:26) It is impossible that anything or anyone, whether in heaven or on earth, whether supernatural being, king, or simple”] peasant, should imagine that they are self-sufficient or answerable only to themselves. (Isa 45:11-12 Jer 37:17-23 Dan 4:35 Rev 20:11-13)

3. The God who alone is God and who made and governs this world has an eternal plan for it. This plan is not just what he desires will be done but is in fact the very essence of this world’s existence and the explanation of it. (Ps 33:11 Pr 19:21 Ec 3:14 Isa 14:24-27 46:8-11)

4. God’s will and purpose are realized in and through Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:9-10 3:11) God’s will is not the outworking of some impersonal abstract principle, as with Greek thought, but the personal, saving will of a heavenly Father. God is involved directly in our affairs and we have learned through revelation (reason alone could never have guessed this) that he became one with us through the incarnation of his Son for our redemption. This was part of an eternal purpose that existed before the world began and was effectuated in time at the moment of God’s own choosing. He decided when the time had arrived and brought it all to pass. On the basis of this God has spread his beneficence throughout all the ages and will someday draw all things together in Christ, for “from him and through him and to him are all things.” (Rom 11:36)

5. Although the plan of God has been partially revealed to us, in its totality it remains an ultimate mystery. We are not capable of grasping what it ultimately means because God himself is ultimately beyond us. (Job 11:7-9 26:14 36:26 Ec 3:11 Ec 11:5 Isa 40:28 55:8) This limitation on our part is not designed by God to humiliate us, but to humble us, to help us realize our creaturely status and find our appropriate place in his scheme of things. We are not God. We will never understand the depths of God. This should call us to faith and trust in him and teach us to obey him, whether we discern what God intends or not. Our deepest prayer should be, as Jesus taught us, “your will be done on earth.” (Mt 6:10)

In summing up the general points that form the groundwork for the scriptural doctrine of providence, we find that the eternal God, who made and governs this universe, has a personal investment in it in the person of his Son Jesus Christ. Through Christ he deals redemptively with the world through all its ages, from creation to consummation. In the depth of the mystery of God’s being he has formulated a benevolent, all-encompassing plan that is being worked out. This should evoke from us, not curiosity and speculation, but faith, praise, and submission. We may someday understand some of these things; we may not. But whatever the case, “God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain,” as Cowper said. (EDBT)[/stextbox]

1 Chron 29:13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

1 Chron 29:14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”

‘Although David worked hard to prepare for Solomon’s temple, he acknowledged that all of his accomplishments came from the sovereign hand of God. David saw himself as powerless and hopeless apart from God’s blessing.’ (2 Chron 1:9 20:6,12) (New Geneva)

‘David was the most honourable person, and Israel the most honourable people, then in the world; yet thus does he speak of himself and them, as unworthy the divine cognizance and favour. David now looks very great, presiding in an august assembly, appointing his successor, and making a noble present to the honour of God; and yet he is little and low in his own eyes.’ (MHC)

“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” – ‘David and his people offered to the building of God’s house gold and silver, but they offered nothing but what God had given them. ‘Of thine own have we given thee.’ If we love God, it is he that has given us a heart to love him; if we praise him, he both gives us the organ of tongue, and puts it in tune; if we give alms to others, he has given alms to us first, so that we may say, ‘We offer, oh Lord, of thine own to thee.’ Is all of gift, how absurd, then, is the doctrine of merit?…We cannot deserve a bit of bread, much less a crown of glory. If all be a gift, then merit is exploded, and shut out of doors.’ (Thomas Watson)

‘Note, The more we do for God the more we are indebted to him for the honour of being employed in his service, and for grace enabling us, in any measure, to serve him. Does he therefore thank that servant? Lk 17:9. No: but that servant has a great deal of reason to thank him. He thanks God that they were able to offer so willingly.’ (MHC)

‘We must give God all the glory of all the good that is at any time done by ourselves or others. Our own good works must not be the matter of our pride, nor the good works of others the matter of our flattery, but both the matter of our praise; for certainly it is the greatest honour and pleasure in the world faithfully to serve God.’ (MHC)

1 Chron 29:15 we are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.

‘Angels in heaven are at home there; saints on earth are but strangers here: our days on the earth are as a shadow. David’s days had as much of substance in them as most men’s; for he was a great man, a good man, a useful man, and now an old man, one that lived long and lived to good purpose: and yet he puts himself not only into the number, but in the front, of those who must acknowledge that their days on the earth are as a shadow, which intimates that our life is a vain life, a dark life, a transient life, and a life that will have its periods either in perfect light or perfect darkness. The next words explain it: There is no abiding, Heb. no expectation. We cannot expect any great matters from it, nor can we expect any long continuance of it. This is mentioned here as that which forbids us to boast of the service we do to God. Alas! it is confined to a scantling of time, it is the service of a frail and short life, and therefore what can we pretend to merit by it?’ (MHC)

1 Chron 29:16 O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

1 Chron 29:17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

‘It is a great satisfaction to a good man to think that God tries the heart and has pleasure in uprightness, that, whoever may misinterpret or contemn it, he is acquainted with and approves of the way of the righteous. It was David’s comfort that God knew with what pleasure he both offered his own and saw the people’s offering. He was neither proud of his own good work nor envious of the good works of others.’ (MHC)

1 Chron 29:18 oh LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.

“Keep their hearts loyal to you” – ‘David’s words speak directly to the readers of a later time, who must continue to give freely to temple worship.’ (New Geneva)

‘The Christian’s strength lies in the Lord, not in himself. The strength of the general in other hosts lies in his troops. He flies, as a great commander once said to his soldiers, upon their wings; if their feathers be clipped, their power broken, he is lost; but in the army of saints, the strength of every saint, yea, of the whole host of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts. God can overcome his enemies without their hands, but they cannot so much as defend themselves without his arm. It is one of God’s names, ‘the Strength of Israel,’ 1 Sam 15:29. He was the strength of David’s heart; without him this valiant worthy (that could, when held up in his arms, defy him that defied a whole army) behaves himself strangely for fear, at a word or two that dropped from the Philistine’s mouth. He was the strength of his hands, ‘He taught his fingers to fight,’ and so is the strength of all his saints in their war against sin and Satan. Some propound a question, whether there be a sin committed in the world in which Satan hath not a part? But if the question were, whether there be any holy action performed without the special assistance of God concurring, that is resolved, ‘Without me ye can do nothing,’ Jn 15:5. Thinking strength of God, ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,’ 2 Cor 3:5. We apostles, we saints that have habitual grace, yet this lies like water at the bottom of a well, which will not ascend with all our pumping till God pour in his exciting grace, and then it comes. To will is more than to think, to exert our will into action more than both. These are of God: ‘For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,’ Php 2:13. He makes the heart new, and having made it fit for heavenly motion, setting every wheel, as it were, in its right place, then he winds it up by his actuating grace, and sets it on going, the thoughts to stir, the will to move and make towards the holy object presented; yet here the chariot is set, and cannot ascend the hill of action till God puts his shoulder to the wheel: ‘to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not,’ Rom 7:18. God is at the bottom of the ladder, and at the top also, the Author and Finisher, yea, helping and lifting the soul at every round, in his ascent to any holy action. Well, now the Christian is set on work, how long will he keep close to it? Alas, poor soul, no longer than he is held up by the same hand that empowered him at first. He hath soon wrought out the strength received, and therefore to maintain the tenure of a holy course, there must be renewing strength from heaven every moment, which David knew, and therefore when his heart was in as holy a frame as ever he felt it, and his people by their freewill offering declared the same, yet even then he prays, that God would ‘keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of his people, and prepare their heart unto him,’ 1 Chron 29:18. He adored the mercy that made them willing, and then he implores his further grace to strengthen them, and tie a knot, that these precious pearls newly strung on hearts might not slip off. The Christian, when fullest of divine communications, is but a glass without a foot, he cannot stand, or hold what he hath received, any longer than God holds him in his strong hand. Therefore, Christ, when bound for heaven, and ready to take his leave of his children, bespeaks his Father’s care of them in his absence. ‘Father, keep them,’ Jn 17:11; as if he had said, they must not be left alone, they are poor shiftless children, that can neither stand nor go without help; they will lose the grace I have given them, and fall into those temptations which I kept them from while I was with them, if they be out of thy eye or arms but one moment; and therefore, “Father, keep them.”‘ (Gurnall)

1 Chron 29:19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”

1 Chron 29:20 Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the LORD your God.” So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king.

1 Chron 29:21 The next day they made sacrifices to the LORD and presented burnt offerings to him: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams and a thousand male lambs, together with their drink offerings, and other sacrifices in abundance for all Israel.

1 Chron 29:22 They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the LORD that day. Then they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king a second time, anointing him before the LORD to be ruler and Zadok to be priest.

1 Chron 29:23 So Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of his father David. He prospered and all Israel obeyed him.

1 Chron 29:24 All the officers and mighty men, as well as all of King David’s sons, pledged their submission to King Solomon.

1 Chron 29:25 The LORD highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before.

1 Chron 29:26 David son of Jesse was king over all Israel.

1 Chron 29:27 He ruled over Israel forty years-seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.

1 Chron 29:28 He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him as king.

1 Chron 29:29 As for the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet and the records of Gad the seer,

The chief Heb. word for ‘prophet’ is nabi, from a root meaning to1 bubble forth, as from a fountain, hence to utter, compare Ps 45:1. In the time of Samuel another word, ro’eh, seer, began to be used. (1 Sam 9:9) It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel. Afterwards another word, hozeh, seer, (2 Sam 24:11) was employed. In 1 Chron 29:29 all these three words are used: Samuel the seer (ro’eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi’), Gad the seer (hozeh). (Easton’s)

1 Chron 29:30 together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and the kingdoms of all the other lands.