Preparations for the Temple – David assembles the ‘aliens’ / foreigners now living in Israel and appoints some to be stonecutters, to build ‘the house of God’. Large quantities of iron, bronze and cedar were provided also.
David makes extensive preparations for the temple before his death, saying, ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendour…’
David charges Solomon with the building of the temple: ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God….but the word of the Lord came to me : ‘you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest…his name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my name. He will be my son and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.’
Though we may have it in our heart to see something done, sometimes it is God’s will that another undertakes it….here God gives his reason to David, ‘because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight…’
David blesses his son, ‘the Lord be with you…may the Lord give you discretion and understanding….be strong and courageous…do not be afraid or discouraged.’
He outlines all he has done in preparation for the temple (gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone – stonecutters, masons, carpenters, craftsmen).
David orders all Israel’s leaders to help Solomon; after all the battles won, ‘now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.’ They are to do this by building the sanctuary of the Lord God, and then to bring the ark of the covenant to it.
The Levites – In his old age, David passes the kingdom on to his son, Solomon. He gathered all Israel’s leaders, priests and Levites. All the Levites over 30 years old were counted – there were 38,000. David appoints 24,000 to supervise the construction of the temple, 6,000 are to be judges and officials, 4,000 are to be gatekeepers, and 4,000 are to be musicians, praising the Lord (David provides all the instruments!!).
The Levites are then divided into groups, corresponding to Levi’s sons:
Gershonites – the names of the Gershonites are listed, from Ladan and Shimei (two of Shimei’s sons did not have large families of their own, ‘so they were counted as one family with one assignment – thoughtful!)
Kohathites – the names of the Kohathites are listed, from Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel (including Aaron and Moses; Aaron’s side being set apart ‘to consecrate the most holy things..‘)
Merarites – the names of the Merarites are listed, from Mahli and Mushi.
All the descendants of Levi, and the heads of the families are listed and registered – workers aged 20 and over. Now that Israel is at rest and God ‘has come to dwell in Jerusalem’, the priests are not needed to carry the tabernacle from place to place.
Now the duty of the Levites was to help serve in the temple of the Lord, in charge of courtyards, side rooms, purification rituals, performance of duties in God’s house; setting bread on the table, flour, unleavened wafers, baking, mixing, measuring; ‘they were to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord…and in the evening’, and at all the times of sacrifice – they were to serve ‘in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them’.
And so the Levites did everything as instructed, carrying out their responsibilities, under their brothers the descendants of Aaron.
Wisdom from the Spirit – After all the contrasts of wisdom, folly, strength, weakness in chapter one, Paul says that we do have a message of wisdom for those maturing in Christ. This wisdom is not ‘of this age or of the rulers of the age’. This is God’s secret wisdom, hidden from so many for so long, but now revealed for the glory of those who receive it.
‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him – ‘ (Isaiah 64 v. 4)
It is by the Spirit of God, that these things are revealed.
The secret wisdom is God’s plan for salvation, revealed ‘freely’ and most perfectly in the cross – the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
It is the Spirit of God who reveals this to our spirit.
It is the Spirit who searches deeply in us, and in God, too – ‘no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.’
We have received the Spirit of God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
We are able to speak, then, words taught by the Spirit, not by human wisdom – ‘expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words’.
Those who are without the Spirit find the words spoken just foolishness – ‘he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned’.
Those who are spiritual, have the mind of Christ – ‘for who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may intrust him?’
May the mind of Christ, my Saviour, live in me from day to day
By His love and power controlling all I do or say….AMEN.
My Lord, my God, when we make You, the Most High Lord,
our refuge, our safe-place,
then nothing can touch us, no disaster defeat us.
My Lord, my God, You commission angels to guard us,
to lift us up,
to watch our step,
to save us from danger and harm
(even the deadly lion and cobra are no match for You)
My Lord, my God, You are motivated by love for me.
You rescue me.
You protect me.
You know that I seek to honour Your name, Your renown.