David officially kicks off the building fund by giving all he has been saving for the Lord. The people are moved and do likewise. The first gifts for the Temple come pouring in.
David has been saving up for years for this moment. With each battle, spoils would be dedicated to the Lord. These have been saved for this purpose. I don’t know if some of what was dedicated over the years was used in the erecting of the Tent or the daily needs of the Tabernacle, but there was still an abundance for this work; building God’s House. This is the day David turns it over to that explicit purpose.
David also formally presents his son to the people. We stood with him yesterday as he spoke words of instruction and encouragement to Solomon. Let’s stand with him and the people today as David puts forth his son and the task before him.
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Solomon stands before the people, cradling the scroll with David’s carefully drawn plans on it. The physical weight of it is heavy but that is nothing compared to the emotional weight Solomon feels as he stands before the assembly. It is not an oppressive weight, causing him to desire to flee. Solomon feels instead the weight of a burden he is determined to bear. As though he is a man coming up under the supports of the first wall he lifts into place for his own home. A burden filled with pride and determination. But also one he is unsure if he can bear; alone.
His father’s dream is enormous! Will he be able to accomplish this? Will he let his father and his people down? Will he let his God down? His heart says he WILL succeed but his mind is having trouble joining that certainty. Solomon’s mind is wrestling with this when his father takes him by the shoulders.
“Be strong and courageous and do it” (verse 20b).
Solomon wants to cry out, “HOW?!” but his father answers it before he can even ask.
“Do NOT be afraid and do NOT be dismayed, for the Lord God, even MY God, is with YOU. He WILL NOT leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished” (verse 20c, emphasis added by me).
Solomon’s heart and mind wrestle with these words. His father’s God promises to help him! NOTHING could be more encouraging than this! But the word ‘until’ rings in his ears. “Will the God of my father forsake me once the work is done? Does this mean He knows I will somehow sin against Him? When will this be? What can I do to prevent it? I WILL prevent it; if I can” thinks Solomon.
David’s words of explanation of the second scroll are lost on Solomon as these thought circle in his mind and threaten to tear his heart in two. Solomon is brought back to the present when he feels the weight of the second scroll added to his arms. Solomon forces back his fears and turns his attention once again to David, his father. They lock eyes in silent communication. Solomon bows his head in acceptance and humility.
David and Solomon turn to face the crowd together. David puts his hand on Solomon’s shoulder as he presents him before the assembly.
“Solomon my son, who alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced,…”
Solomon’s cheeks begin to color with shame at his father’s words. He is inexperienced and he knows it well.
“…and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God” (verse 1).
The heaviness is beginning to return to Solomon’s heart. “How can I hope to ever complete this task” thinks Solomon.
David can feel his son’s fears building beneath the hand resting on his shoulder. He understands the enormity of this task. And he also knows first-hand the enormity of his God. He prays Solomon will hold fast to that knowledge when he is uncertain. But for now he needs to show his son that he too, is helping in this task. He quickly continues before fear can embrace his son in its grasp.
“So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze of the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides GREAT quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble” (verse 2).
David feels some of the tension begin to relax under his hand. He continues on.
“Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 3,000 talents of gold, of gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver” (verses 3-5a).
Solomon’s eyes began to glisten as he listens to his father listing his own contribution to the House of the Lord. He could not be prouder of him than he is at this very moment. He is investing all he has in service to his Lord. But David’s next words take Solomon’s breath away.
“Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?” (verse 5b).
Before the sound of David’s voice dies in the air another voice from the assembly is heard. “I will! I offer 50 talents of gold.” This is from one of the leaders from the tribe of Benjamin.
This pledge is followed by another and another and still another. Hands shoot into the air as promises of gold, silver, bronze and iron pour from the mouths of the assembly. David knew in his heart this would be the case and he prepared by having scribes on hand to take down the accounting of the pledges. He trusted the generosity of his people and their love for their God.
As the pledges rolled in tears rolled from Solomon’s eyes. This was his people! This was their love for their God and support for him pouring forth. He KNEW that David’s dream would come true. With this outpouring of love and the power of the Lord, how could it not?
After the last person’s contribution was shouted the scribes tallied the results they rushed them to David. David read them out to the people. “Today, beyond my own contribution, the people of God have given freely from their own hearts “for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of Iron” (verse 7).
Above and beyond the promised precious metals were also gems that were deposited directly into the hands of the scribes to be used for the Lord. David held two bags of these aloft. “Jehiel, please take charge of these precious stones the people have also given from their hearts for the treasury of the House of the Lord.”
Jehiel rushed forward and took the bags from David’s hands. He motioned for his personal assistant to come and pick up the other three bags laying at David’s feet.
Cheers and shouts of joy rose from the people. Their shouts were praises to the Lord God of Israel for all He had done and was about to do.
As the cheers ring from the crowd, Solomon can’t help comparing this moment to the one he has heard so many times in stories. Stories of how the children of Israel gave freely of all they had for the building of the Tabernacle. How GOD had provided that wealth for them before they left the land of Egypt. He prepared them for the task ahead. Just as surely, He had and was preparing His people now too.
David had not danced in ages. His body was too old for such things but his feet skipped this day in joy. His feet may not have moved as high as they did the day the Ark of the Lord entered the city but his heart did. His dream WOULD come to pass. Solomon WOULD build the House of the Lord and the people WOULD support him in it.
(to be continued)
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Solomon, in our story, remembered the miracles of God in the building of the Tabernacle. I have a feeling he was not the only one comparing the two days. I went there myself, and that’s why I took him there. There will be a LOT more materials needed for the House of the Lord than what came in that day but the heart of the people was clear. They were behind this task 100%! It would be a long process but this was the perfect start.
Thank You Father for standing by me and providing for me in the tasks that You have called me to do. I know my excitement hasn’t always stayed strong as the task wears on. Sometimes You supply me with a ‘reminder day’ that refuels my drive. Other times You encourage me to reach deep and draw out my original reasons and re-examine them. And sometimes You infuse me with new drive to move back into my place of service. THANK YOU for each of these refreshers. Thank You also for the times when You simply encourage me to ‘keep walking’. Those times too are a gift from You. Keep me on Your paths Father. Don’t let me run down paths that You have not laid out for me. I NEVER want to be doing a ‘work’ for You that isn’t from Your heart for MY hands.
Help me also know when and where to offer support for others who are doing works You called them to. We are a FAMILY and families support one another. We ALL need one another AND YOU!