And it came to pass, after the year was expired, and the time that the kings go out to battle, Joab led forth the power of the army, and he wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem. And Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it. And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David's head: and he brought also exceeding much spoil out of the city. And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem (20:1-3).
Now there is seemingly a discrepancy in the story here. First of all, the time of year when they went out to war. There were times of the year which were better for fighting than other times of the year, and so they just had time. This is the time to go to war. They had appointed times for warfare. We just fight all the time, but in those days there were just certain periods, you know, get the crops all in, everything is all set. Now let’s go out and fight for a while before the spring planting. And so the times for the war.
Now the seeming discrepancy is that Joab went out against the Ammonites, fought and defeated the city of Rabbah, and David stayed in Jerusalem. But then we have David returning to Jerusalem with the crown and the jewels of the crown upon his head. So we go back to Samuel for clarification, and we find in the book of Samuel that it gives us just a little fuller insight on this story, how that Joab went against the king of the Ammonites. He came to Rabbah and he saw that the city was delivered into his hand. In other words, he had more or less taken the city and he sent a message back to David and he said, "You know, the city is ready to fall. Come and lead the army in the actual capture of the city lest they say that Joab captured the city." And so it’s a very magnanimous act on the part of Joab in sending to David to let David be the actual conqueror of the city. So David then went on and led the forces as the city of Rabbah fell to David, and they took the beautiful crown embedded with jewel that was worn by the king of Rabbah and put it then upon David’s head. And David and all of them returned back to Jerusalem.
And so as often is the case, a seeming discrepancy of the Scripture has a very simple explanation. It is interesting how that so many people get all upset because they imagine there to be these contradictions in the Scripture and all. And they point out these things, but yet if you dig a little bit, you’ll usually find an extremely simple explanation for the apparent difficulties that people are always finding in the Scripture. And this, of course, as I say is really told about in Second Samuel, chapter twelve, and the story is amplified a little bit more so we find out exactly what did happen.
Now in verses four through eight we have the final conquest of David over the Philistines and the slaying of some more of the giants, no doubt relatives to Goliath, and the one with the twenty-four fingers and toes. That is, six on each hand and six on each foot. That is not really too unusual a thing for a child to be born with six toes. They usually amputate it immediately upon birth and it makes no difference. It’s just that it’s sort of odd to have six toes and so they’ll amputate the sixth one.
In chapter twenty-one.
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, and number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it (21:1-2).
Now this was a sin on David’s part, and no doubt a sin of pride. David had, as I said, this is a record of the final conquest of David in chapter twenty. David had been very victorious over their enemies. They had subdued their enemies, and I wanted to point out the one thing. It would appear that David cut them up with axes and swords or plows and so forth. Actually the Hebrew text is that David put them to work with these things. He actually more or less made slaves out of the people, rather than cutting them up with saws and axes and all.
This is a sin of pride. David’s desire to number Israel in order that he might know how great an army of people he had behind him. And it was only those who were able to go to war that were really numbered. It was sort of a military registration or census that was taken. Men that were capable of going out to battle. And was sort of a failure on David’s part, definitely a sin. David later confesses the sin before the Lord, that of pride. I have an army of so many and so forth. And that of boasting in the military strength.
Now David later, or earlier had written psalms concerning that we were not to trust in horses or trust in the armies, but to trust in the living God. And David knew this. That the strength did not lie in the number of military personnel in the nation. But his real strength lay in the Lord and in the power of the Lord and in his trusting in the Lord. And yet David, human as he was, as we all are, decided that he would take a census of the military men.
Now Joab, his general, who was a rascal for the most part, Joab objected to David’s desire to take a census. "Don’t do this thing, David; it’s not good. Why should you bring the people into reproach and so forth by doing this thing?" But David overruled the objections of Joab and insisted that this census be taken of all of the men of Israel. And so they brought to David the number, and there were one million, a hundred thousand from the tribes of Israel; four hundred and seventy thousand from the tribe of Judah. But Joab did not count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin among them because he actually detested the order that David had given to number them.
And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly (21:7-8).
So after having insisted overruling Joab, God was displeased. And David immediately confessed his sin unto God and his own folly. Now it is interesting that the Bible—and I’m glad that it does—relates to us the sins and the failure of the great men, as well as their successes. So often when we are telling stories about our accomplishments, we don’t like to include in our stories our failures. We like to sort of tell of our successes, and make it appear that everything we do is successful. But if we were perfect, then how discouraging it would be for those who are not perfect.
If David was a perfect man, if he never did anything wrong, then we would all of us be prone to say, "Yes, but David was perfect. I can see why God would use David. I could see why God blessed David, because he was such a perfect man. But God can’t bless me and God can’t use me, because I’m so imperfect." So God is very careful to record for us the mistakes and the sins of these men that He used in such a mighty way in order that we would not be excusing ourselves and saying, "Well, God can’t use me." For God can use you and wants to use you in spite of the fact that you have failed, and in spite of the fact that you’re far from perfect.
Abraham, the man of faith, had great lapses of faith. There were times when he sought to take things into his own hand. Deceiving the kings concerning Sarah, his relationship. "She’s my sister." He didn’t trust in the Lord to be able to preserve him from Abimelech or from the Pharaoh. Taking things into his own hands as far as an heir because he didn’t trust God to give him a son through Sarah. The man of faith.
Elijah, the great prophet of God, the man of faith, hiding in a cave clear down in the Sinai, mount Horeb because Jezebel had threatened his life. Here is the guy that had upset all the prophets of Baal, took them down to the river and wiped them out, and now he’s running because some woman is threatening to get him.
And so the Bible records these for us so that you’ll know that though Elijah was a man of great dynamic power, great faith, a prophet of God, yet he had these times where he ran and failed and was fearful and the whole thing. In order that, as James said, Elijah was a man of like passions, even like you and me. And yet, he prayed and it rained not for the space of three years. Now he wasn’t some super saint. He wasn’t some Clark Kent. He was a plain ordinary person just like you and me. And yet, God was able to use him because God uses plain, ordinary people. And God uses people who make mistakes, and God uses people who fail. And God uses people who sin. Because sin was not the chief characteristic of David’s life; righteousness was the chief characteristic of his life, though he did sin.
Now it is possible for us to love the Lord, to be living for the Lord, to serve the Lord, and still be guilty of sin. David was such a man. He loved the Lord. Now as soon as he realized God’s displeasure, and though he had been warned by Joab, "Don’t do this thing," as soon as he, it was brought to his attention, this has displeased God, David repented. He confessed. And that’s what sets David apart. So many times when we are faced with our guilt, we try to justify it. We try to give the explanations. "Well, I did it because." We’re so often like Adam. "Well, Lord, the woman that You gave me to be my wife, she did tempt me and I did eat." And I’m trying to explain to God my reason for doing it, rather than just confess and say, "God, I sinned. I was wrong."
Now God doesn’t want an explanation. God doesn’t want you to justify your position. All God wants you to do is confess it so He can forgive it. As soon as you confess, then God has the grounds for forgiveness. And that’s what He’s seeking, just a confession of guilt. And so David confessed his sin. He said, "Lord, I’ve done foolishly in doing this thing." And David recognized and acknowledged his sin before God. That ugly, horrible sin of pride that all of us find so difficult to deal with in our own lives. The sin by which Satan fell. It was a Cromwell flee pride, for by this sin the angels fell. Flee ambition. The idea of pride.
Thus, David was called the man after God’s own heart, because he was a man, when he realized his guilt, was willing to confess and seek the forgiveness of his sin.
So the LORD spoke to Gad, the prophet, and said to him, Go to David, and tell him that he has three choices: either [three months of famine in the land; or] three years rather of famine in the land; or three months to be destroyed before your enemies, while the sword of your enemies overtake you; or three days of the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now the prophet said to David, Advise me what I’m to tell the Lord who sent me to you. And so David said, I choose to throw myself on the mercy of God. I’ll take the three days of God’s pestilence in the land because I know He’s merciful (21:9-10, 12-13).
My enemies, no way. I know that they’re not merciful. If I’m delivered into their hands for three months, that will be it. So I’ll take the three days for I know that God is merciful.
And so the angel of the LORD went throughout the land of Israel [beginning to slay the men]: and seventy thousand of them fell by the pestilence [in the three days]. And the angel of the LORD came to Jerusalem to destroy it: and David saw the angel of the LORD with the drawn sword (21:14-16).
Now this must have been really something for David. He saw up there in the sky the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword. It must have been a very frightening experience, to say the least.
And David lifted up his voice, and he cried unto the LORD, the angel of the LORD who was standing there between the heaven and the earth, having the sword that was drawn stretched out over Jerusalem (21:16).
And David said, "Hey, I’m the one that sinned, not these innocent people. Don’t destroy them." And so we find that,
David said unto God [verse seventeen, declared], Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done this evil indeed; but for these sheep, what have they done? let your hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be upon me, and my father's house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued (21:17).
Now I think that probably one of the hardest things concerning sin is to see the effect that sin has on innocent people. My sins. To see the hurt that it brings to innocent people is always very hard. And no man lives unto himself. I’ve had a lot of people say, "Well, I may be doing wrong, but I’m only hurting myself." That’s not true. No man lives to himself. Others are always affected by what you do, and sometimes in a very great way. And David was seeing the consequence of his sin, the damage that it was doing to these sheep. And he said, "Lord, bring it on me. Let me suffer for my own sins, not these innocent ones." But unfortunately, there are always those innocent sufferers for our wrongdoings; as well as, of course, our own suffering many times.
So then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD there in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite (21:18).
Because David saw the angel standing above the area there of mount Moriah where a Jebusite had a threshingfloor in a field. And so the Lord commanded that David should build an altar there and offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. So David came to Ornan the Jebusite and he said, "I want to buy this threshingfloor, this field in order that I might offer to the Lord a sacrifice in this place." And Ornan said, "Hey, you can have it. And take my cattle and use them for the sacrifices, and use the plow for the wood and so forth. And go ahead, you can have it." And David said, "No, I will not give unto the Lord that which cost me nothing. Because it isn’t a true sacrifice if it doesn’t cost me something."
God really doesn’t want our castoffs. How many times people give to the Lord that which cost them nothing. But as we said this morning, the measurement by which God measures our gifts to Him are never in the monetary value of the gift, but in the cost of the gift. What did it cost you to give to God? Because you see, you may give God a million dollars, but it would be totally meaningless if you, say, have two million in your bank account, because you can get by very well on one million dollars. Whereas someone else, if they give God a dollar, that could mean, you know, their bread for this week that they are going to have to go without food this week; a certain part of their food because they gave that dollar to God. Thus, because the dollar really cost them, in God’s measurement, the gift of a dollar is greater than the gift of a million dollars. Because the amount is irrelevant as far as God is concerned, because He really doesn’t need our money. But it’s the cost. The cost of the gift demonstrates the real value, because it demonstrates the depth of my love and my consecration unto God.
So David bought this field. Now it says, for six hundred shekels.
And David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight (21:25).
Now again, the Bible critics have found another error in the Bible. Because in Samuel where this same incident is recorded, in Second Samuel, chapter twenty-four, it says that David gave him fifty shekels of gold. And now here it says six hundred shekels of gold. And thus, the Bible contradicts itself and thus, the Bible could not be the Word of God if it contradicts itself. And thus, there is no reason to believe the Bible and so forth. And this is one of the supposed contradictions that those who are looking for problems in the Bible always find.
But as I said, these contradictions usually have a very simple explanation, and the study of the Hebrew text will help you in the explanation of this particular problem. Because in the Hebrew, we are told the Hebrew word used where he bought the threshingfloor is one word in Hebrew. Here the word is maqowm, which means the whole area around; he bought the whole field. Now he paid fifty shekels of gold for the threshingfloor, and then he gave him six hundred shekels for the whole field that was around the place. Because he bought the whole thing because he decided that he was going to build a temple for God here. So there’s really no contradiction at all. He made two separate purchases. One of the threshingfloor, and then one of the place. And the word place being the Hebrew word maqowm; he bought the whole place for six hundred shekels of gold, and fifty shekels of gold for the threshingfloor. Another contradiction dissolves and the Bible still stands.
Aren’t you glad?
And so David, when he saw that here at the place God received his sacrifice and all that,
David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. And so David commanded that they gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to start carving rocks to build the house of God. He prepared iron in abundance for the nails and for the doors and the gates, the joinings; the brass in abundance without weight; also cedar trees in abundance: and he said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death (22:1-5).
Now God said to David, "David, you can’t build a house for me because you’re a man of war." But God didn’t say, "David, you can’t prepare to build a house." So David did what, he can’t build a house but he sure prepared. Before his death he amassed the great amounts of iron and brass and gold and silver, cedars. Set them into work in cutting the stones. Drew the plans for the building of the temple. The actual work was to be wrought by Solomon, his son. But it was to be built here in the area of mount Moriah where they saw the angel standing with a drawn sword over Jerusalem. The place of the building of the temple is declared to be mount Moriah in Second Chronicles, as we’re told. And so Solomon built the temple on mount Moriah on the parcel of ground that David had purchased from Ornan.
And mount Moriah is remembered by us because it was at mount Moriah that Abraham brought Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice unto the Lord. And so it was significant that God led Abraham to a mountain that He would show him, He said, and it happened to be mount Moriah. Three days’ journey from Hebron and, or the area of Beersheba where Abraham was at the time that God commanded him to offer his son. And mount Moriah became the place of sacrifices where the nation of Israel then offered their sacrifices unto God. David said, “This is the house of the Lord; this is the place for the altar of God.” And it was there on mount Moriah.
Now it is at the top of mount Moriah, for the place of the temple was actually on the side, not on the top of the mountain, three blocks perhaps from the top of the mount. It was on the top of mount Moriah, the area of Golgotha or Calvary. So the place of the altar of God, the place of sacrifices, and there is, of course, where Jesus Christ was sacrificed for our sins at the top of mount Moriah. And so this particular place David purchased and there they built the temple unto the Lord.
Now as we get into chapter twenty-two,
He then called for Solomon his son (22:6),
He had gathered together the men of Israel and he called Solomon his son.
and he charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon [verse seven], My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house unto the name of the LORD my God: But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and you’ve made great wars: and thou shall not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all of the enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. And he shall build a house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then shalt thou prosper, if you take heed to fulfil the statutes and the judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, be of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed (22:6-13).
Now David had his admirable points, but David also had his weak points. And David, for the most part, was a poor father. And as the result of the fact that he was a poor father, he had problems with his children. Now Solomon, in observing this and later writing the Proverbs, had many things to say about correcting children. That’s one thing that David was very lax in, that was the correction of his sons.
One of his sons that rebelled against him and it said, "And David never at any time said anything to correct the son." Never even challenged him. "Why did you do this?" And he never challenged. He just let the kid go. And he ended up rebelling against his dad. So Solomon, in observing David as a poor disciplinarian and seeing the result of David’s laxity in this particular area, speaks about “if you spare the rod, you’ll spoil the child.” “The foolishness of the world is bound up in the heart of the child but the rod of instruction driveth it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). A child left to himself will bring a reproach unto his mother. And so Solomon had a lot to say concerning the discipline of children because he saw where David lacked in the discipline. But where David, for the most part, was a poor father in his failure in the disciplining of his sons, yet in this particular case, David shines as he is now instructing his son Solomon in the ways of the Lord.
Now David did not take enough time with his children. But now in his old age as he has got to turn the reins of the government over to his son and this tremendous task of building this temple unto the Lord, he gives to Solomon the best advice that any father could ever pass on to his son, marvelous advice. David encouraged Solomon to seek wisdom and understanding. And I think that it is significant that when Solomon began his reign and God said to Solomon, "What do you want Me to give to you?" No doubt remembering the advice of his father David, "Seek wisdom and understanding," Solomon said, "Grant unto thy servant that I might have wisdom and understanding that I might be able to rule over this thy great people."
That’s exactly what David told Solomon to seek. And when Solomon prayed unto the Lord and desired that he might receive the wisdom and understanding, God was pleased with the request of Solomon and said, "Because you did not ask for fame or riches but for wisdom and understanding, I will not only give you what you ask, but I’m going to give you what you didn’t ask for. I’m going to give you great wealth and fame and so forth so that your fame will spread throughout all the world." So Solomon was no doubt remembering these sagacious words of his father to seek wisdom and understanding. And then David said, “And walk in the statutes and the judgments and the commandments of the Lord in order that you may be prosperous.”
Now in the first Psalm, David links prosperity with the keeping of the law of God. And many places in the Scriptures these things are linked together. When Moses turned over the reins to Joshua, he commanded him to meditate in the law and in the commandments. “And thus shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and thus shalt thou have good success” (Joshua 1:8). Now David is again linking a prosperous reign to obedience to the law, the statutes, the judgments, the commandments of God. In other words, the law is God’s rules for a happy, prosperous life.
You see, there are spiritual rules that govern in the universe or spiritual laws even as there are physical laws that govern in the universe in which we live. Now, we are very conscious of the physical laws. You’re all sitting in your chairs instead of floating in the room because there is a law of gravity. And it’s the attraction of masses. And thus we know that the law of gravity exists. Now, just why masses attract we may not know. I don't know why there is a attraction of masses and a pull of masses according to the size of the mass. I don’t understand MC2 but I know that it’s there. I know that it exists, and I live by the law.
Now I don't, knowing and understanding the law, I don’t go out and defy the law of gravity because I know that that will bring problems, too. I don’t test to see if the law is still working day by day. Nor do I defy it because I can’t understand how it works. I don’t understand how gravity works. I’m going to jump off this building because I just don’t understand how it works. I don’t see why I have to obey it; why I have to do it if I can’t understand it. If I defy the law, I’m going to suffer. Whether I understand it or not, it’s still going to operate. There is a law of magnetism. There is a law of electricity. And there are certain natural laws that govern our universe and we are aware of them. We learn to use them. We learn to abide by them and respect them.
Now, in the same token there are certain spiritual laws that govern in the spiritual world and in the spiritual universe, and though you still may not understand them, how they operate, yet they do operate, and it’s wise that you learn to live by them. Respect them. And of course, you can use them for great advantage.
Now God has set forth these spiritual laws. There are laws for happiness. There are laws for prosperity. There are laws for many things that do govern our lives and God has set them forth. Now I can’t understand how they work; that doesn’t keep them from working. And many times because we can’t understand, and in fact, we almost defy the law, we say, "Well, that isn’t true in my case. My case is different." And we sometimes violate the law of God thinking that we have some kind of a special case that the law doesn’t apply to us, or we don’t understand it and so we defy it. And then we wonder why we’re hurting. We wonder why we’re in such sorrow and such misery. We wonder why we’re having so many problems. Well, I’ve defied the laws of God, the spiritual laws of God is set.
Now, how in the world can it be that the more I give, the more I’m going to receive. That doesn’t make sense to me. And yet, that’s what the Bible declares. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; measured out, pressed down, running over, shall men give in your bosom. And whatsoever measure you mete it’s going to be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). “If you sow abundantly you’re going to reap abundantly; if you sow sparingly you’re going to reap sparingly” (II Corinthians 9:6). Oh, I’m beginning to understand a little bit now. I have a field out here. And I take five kernels of corn and I go out and plant those five kernels of corn. Chances are, I’ll get four stalks of corn. But I’m not going to get much of a return. But if I take a bushel of corn and out in that field and plant a bushel, the more I sow the more I’m going to reap come harvest time.
Oh yeah, I can understand that. Well, it’s a principle and it works. I don't know how it works but it does work. The more you give to God the more God returns to you, measured out, pressed down, running over. It’s a spiritual law. I can’t explain how it operates. All I can do is affirm that it does operate; it does work. There are spiritual laws that govern the universe, and many people, because they can’t understand them, fail to use them. And thus lack the benefits. Now, what if you said I am not going to use any electrical appliance until I fully understand the laws of electricity? I want to know why these positive charged currents and so forth can bring power and, you know, the alternating currents and so forth, and I want to know whether or not electricity runs through the wire or around the wire or how it’s transmitted and… Think of all the benefits you would be missing out on if you had to understand completely the law of electricity before you attempted to use it for your benefit.
And yet, there are people that do say that concerning spiritual laws. "Well, I don’t understand how it works." And thus they don’t use. And thus they don’t advantage from the spiritual laws that God has set. Now basically, the law that God gave was a law of prosperity. A law of happiness. “Blessed or happy is the man who meditates in the law day and night. For he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3). And so David relates it in the first Psalm, and he relates it here with Solomon. "Now keep the law and the statutes and the judgments of the Lord that you might be prosperous, that your reign might be prosperous over these people. And thou shalt prosper if you take heed to fulfill the commandments, the statutes, the judgments."
Now “be of good courage; dread not, don’t be dismayed.”
Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, and a million talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; the timbers. Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, the hewers and the workers with stone and timber, all manner of skillful men for every manner of work. Of the gold, and silver, the brass, the iron, there is no measuring of it. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee (22:14-16).
That’s usually the way the work of God is done. “Arise and get going, and the Lord be with thee.”
David also commanded all of the princes of Israel to help Solomon, saying, Is not the LORD your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side? for he hath given the inhabitants of the land in mine hand; and the land is subdued before the LORD, and before his people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD (22:17-19).
And so David when he was old, made Solomon his son king over Israel (23:1).
Now David then began to set forth the order of the priesthood, the Levitical priesthood. Now David here demonstrates that not only is he a powerful king, a leader, but he’s also an excellent administrator. And of course, David had great personal wealth, and he had hundreds of servants that they all had to be fed. And so he had to administrate the, in very many areas, and David was just a very adept, adequate administrator also. And as we get into chapter twenty-three, we find out David set up the priesthood and the first thing that he established.
He gathered together all the princes of Israel, the priests and the Levites. Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and up: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty-eight thousand. Of which, twenty-four thousand were set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges: And four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which David said, I made to praise therewith (23:2-5).
Now David was an inventor. He invented instruments. He was a musician. Our first look at David practically was when he was brought to play the harp before Saul. He was a skilled musician. He wrote a lot of songs. He had an artistic side to his character and nature, and yet, he was an administrator. He was a king. He was a tremendous warrior. He was just a man with really well-rounded talents. And so we see his first of all setting out.
Now twenty-four thousand priests. That’s more priests than what you need for a service. And so David set up orders for the priesthood so that you would serve for maybe two weeks out of the year. That was pretty good job. You work for two weeks, and then the rest of the time you’re on your own. And so they would come, the Levites lived throughout the land. And there was certain cities for the Levites, but in their appointed… And they set up the order, and then they drew lots as who would be the first, the second, and third, and so forth. And so at your appointed order you would come and you would fulfill the duties of the priest in the temple for a period of a couple of weeks. And then you’d go back to your family and to your home and to your fields and so forth. And you’d take care of your own affairs.
And so in the New Testament, this order that David established continued on up until the time of Christ for Zechariah the priest, because he was of the order of Abia, had come according to his course to minister there in the temple. And it was his duty to offer the incense at the time of the sacrifice. And while he was offering this incense before the Lord is when the angel Gabriel appeared and told him that his wife Elizabeth was going to have a son named John and he’s going to be the forerunner of the Messiah.
So that’s still following the order that David had established with the priesthood where they had their turns. They would come in and fulfill their obligations. So the priesthood fell in different orders. Those that actually ministered in the temple. Actually those who were charged with the building of the temple. Now you see, in the old times of the tent in the wilderness, they had the porters, the guys who, whenever they would move, would have to break down the thing. Certain guys would break down the tent, fold it up, put it in packages and so forth, and then guys who were priests to carry the thing. And guys to set it up. Now that they’re going to be building a temple, this particular ministry of the priest is no longer going to be necessary. You’re not going to need the guys to carry things anymore because it’s all going to be established. And so the different duties now were created. And the duty that to me is very beautiful are the four thousand who were just paid to be there and to spend their days praising God, singing and worshipping the Lord with the various instruments and just a constant worship of God that was going forth from the temple. To me that is beautiful.
And I think that it’s neat. Any time you want to come down here and just bring your guitar, whatever, and just sing and praise the Lord and worship the Lord here in this place, you’re welcome. I think it’s beautiful that praises be going up unto the Lord. From the place where we gather to worship Him. To learn of Him. And so it was in the times of David. They had four thousand men; this was their job just to play unto the Lord through the instruments that David had invented and created and all for them to worship God.
And so the various families, and of course, we get now unto the names and so forth which we pass over. And so in verse thirty of chapter twenty-three though, their job was…
To stand every morning to thank and to praise the LORD, and likewise at evening (23:30);
So every morning, every evening there were those who were just standing there praising the Lord and giving thanks to God. Beautiful, beautiful.
Now the order of the priest, the twenty-four orders of those that were to minister in the, actually, office of sacrifices and incense and so forth are first given in chapter 24:2 and through verse nineteen. And then the sons of Kohath were divided for their duties. And then the Merarites in the rest of the chapter.
In chapter twenty-five.
Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun, those who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was (25:1):
Now they were commissioned to prophesy, which does not mean foretelling necessarily, but forthtelling the works of God. So the music was declaring the greatness, the glory, the power, the beauty of God. So you that are musicians, think about that when you go to write your music. Let it express the greatness, the glory, the power of God. Speaking forth the glories of God in the music. And of course, so much of our hymnology is involved with “a mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing” and all. And declaring the greatness. “All hail the power of Jesus’ name.” And declaring the glories, the power of God. And that’s really what the music is to do, is to speak forth the praises and the glory of God. And so these men that were appointed that they should prophesy with their harps and all. That is, speaking forth God’s glory.
Now verse six.
And all of these were under the hands of the fathers for song in the house of the LORD, with the cymbals, the psalteries, the harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king's order to Asaph, and all. So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred and eighty-eight (25:6-7).
Musicians that were cunning and used their instruments in praising the Lord.
And then they cast the lots, into again twenty-four orders. The first lot came forth from Asaph to Joseph (25:8-9):
And it goes on to the various orders that were developed in the cast of lots.
Chapter twenty-six: the division of the porters and then their assignment over the various gates around the temple. And then in verse twenty: those who had charge over the treasures of the house of the Lord. And interestingly enough, in verse twenty-six,
Which Shelomith and his brothers were over the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over the thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated. Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the LORD. And all that Samuel, and Saul, and Abner, and Joab had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated any thing, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and his brothers (26:26-28).
So that in reality, the thought or the idea of building a temple for God probably was as old as Samuel. In other words, the idea probably first came up in Samuel’s time, and Samuel started setting aside for the treasury for the house of the Lord. Which was added to then by Saul. And then, of course, the generals of David bringing the spoils of war and placing them there in order to build the house unto the Lord.
And then several of the priests were established for the judges in the land to hear the various cases that dealt with religious matters.
And then the courses were established in chapter twenty-seven. There were twelve captains for, one for each month to oversee a particular month. And then the princes were established for the twelve tribes. And in verse twenty-three, chapter twenty-seven,
But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the LORD had said he would increase Israel like the stars of heaven. Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he didn’t finish the task, because of the plague that fell upon Israel; and neither was the number put into the account of the chronicles of king David (27:23-24).
And then David’s own personal administration of his own personal wealth. It speaks of the man that he set over his own treasury, over the storehouses of the fields, the cities. The men that were in charge of the work in the field, the tilling of the ground and so forth. The man that was over his vineyards. And the man who was over the increase of the vineyards with the wine cellars. The one who was over the olive trees and the fig trees. And the one who was over the cellars of oil, and another one over the herds that fed in the plains of Sharon. Another one that was over the herds that fed in the valleys and over the camels. And so David had all of these vast things to take care of, and he was, no doubt, a super administrator also.
And Ahithophel was the king's counselor: with Hushai the Archite who was the king's companion: and after Ahithophel was Jehoiada and Joab, of course, was the general of the army (27:33-34).
Now in chapter twenty-eight.
David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by their course, the captains over the thousands, the captains over the hundreds, the stewards over all the substance and the possession of the king, and the mighty men (28:1),
That is a big congregation of important people.
Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, my people: As for me, I had in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, You shall not build a house for my name, because you have been a man of war, and you shed blood. Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over Israel: And of all of my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, serve him with a perfect heart, with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth the hearts, and understands all of the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever (28:2-9).
Now David has gathered together all of the men of Israel, the leaders, all of the chief people, and what David’s goal and desire now is to pass on to the posterity, the greatness, the blessing and the glory of a kingdom that is governed by God. And as you look at the kingdom under David, it was a kingdom that was definitely governed by God. David was careful to seek God, except in those cases where he failed. And now, as he is getting ready to depart, he stands up and he tells these people, "Now look, walk in the commandments of God in order that your children might enjoy the same things that you enjoyed in this land."
It isn’t enough that we enjoy the blessings of freedom in a free society. It should actually be our purpose and goal to pass on to our children the same kind of benefits that we have enjoyed. But when I think now of my grandchildren growing up in this present world, in my heart I cringe. I wonder what kind of a world are they growing up in? As beautiful as Hawaii is, it is being so corrupted and polluted by man. That paradise has many flaws. You read in the paper, "Don’t go in this area. Stay out of this area. Be sure to lock your car. Don’t leave any valuables in your car." Signs all over. Honolulu’s about number one for crime in the nation. Tragic. What kind of a world are our children growing up in? Where will they be able to go and be safe? What will they be able to do as they get older? How long will freedom exist? Because we have thought that we could turn our backs upon God. We thought that we could worship the gods of materialism, success and prosperity and come out ahead. But our nation is going down the tube very fast and I fear for my grandchildren growing up. I wonder will there be any place for them to really grow up.
It isn’t enough that I have enjoyed the freedom. It is my desire that they should also enjoy the same kind of blessings. But we have been so totally corrupted by the movie industry, and it is getting worse every day. Because of the impressionable minds of people, they do what they see done. And the movie industry has introduced practically every type and form of evil and immorality that the minds of man can imagine. And they have corrupted our society. People follow after the patterns that they see. And I fear for the future.
And David had reservations. He knew that the secret of success was their relationship with God. And thus, he is encouraging them to maintain that relationship with God. That their children might enjoy these things that you have enjoyed. Our nation has lost its relationship with God. I don’t know if it’s too late or not. I don’t know if a change of administration at this point is enough. It would appear that maybe we were already gone beyond the point of no return. Many, many leaders are saying so.
But those that are saying so usually again don’t take God into account. But I will say this: apart from a tremendous spiritual revival just really changing this nation, we are through. There’s no hope. And that’s the thing that concerns me. My grandchildren growing up in a totalitarian society without the same blessings of freedom that I’ve been able to enjoy. That’s what hurts. But I’m praying for that revival. I want to see God move once more across this nation. I would be so thrilled if God would move every godless judge appointed by the godless leaders and every legislator out of office, and that again we would have righteous men leading our nation. That’s the only hope, but I don’t see how it can be accomplished. But God can do what I can’t see.
Now what can I do? The only thing I can really do is pray. And the Scriptures command us to pray for those that are in authority over us. But I really am. This thing really troubles me. Troubles me deeply. I really get emotional and moved when I look at the condition of the nation today and I see where we are.
David laid it out. He said, "Look, follow after God. Obey the commandments that you might dwell in the land. And that your children might dwell in the land." But they didn’t. They soon turned away from God and disaster followed. And in every nation where they’ve turned away from God disaster has always followed. And our nation is facing disaster. Then David, having addressed the leaders, the princes, the governors, the captains over the thousands, hundreds and so forth. Then he turned to Solomon and he again gives to Solomon some very sagacious advice.
“And thou, Solomon, know the God of thy father, and serve Him.” First of all, know God. Secondly, serve God with a complete heart. What good advice. Know God, son. And “serve Him with your heart completely and with a willing mind: for the Lord searches the hearts. He understands all the imaginations and the thoughts: and if you seek Him, He will be found; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” The basic truth about God. Know Him. Serve Him with a complete heart, a willing mind. For God knows your heart. God knows your imaginations. You’re not hiding a thing from God. If you seek Him, you’ll be prosperous.
Take heed now; for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it. Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses (28:10-11),
David now laid out. He unraveled all the blueprints and he showed him the whole thing. And he said, "The Lord gave this to me by the Spirit." And so David had been inspired of God in the drawing of the plans for this new temple. All of the porches and all and he laid out the whole thing. So really, though he wasn’t able to build it, he sure had a great part in it. He drew the plans. He gathered all of the materials and said to Solomon, "Okay now, go ahead and go for it."
And this, said David, the LORD made me to understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all of the works of this pattern (28:19).
So it came to him by inspiration of God, the building and how it should be built. Even as Moses was directed in the building of the tabernacle, so David was directed by the Spirit of God in the pattern of the temple.
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: don’t be afraid or dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with you; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until you have finished all of the work for the service of the house of the LORD. And, behold, the courses of the priests, the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: all manner of workmanship willing skillful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at your commandment (28:20-21).
Furthermore David the king said unto the congregation, Solomon my son, whom God had chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of many colors, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper wealth, placed the gold and the silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that which I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and the seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses: the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD? (29:1-5)
So David is, has told of his own commitment and now he’s challenging them for a commitment of giving to God. "This is what I have done. This is what I propose to do. Now who of you are willing to offer your service unto the Lord?"
And the chief of the fathers, the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, and they gave for the service of the house of God, of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they all with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. And the people rejoiced, for they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also received with great joy (29:6-9).
So how are we to give to God? Just this way. We are to give with a willing heart, with a complete heart. And we are to give with rejoicing. Give what you can. Give with a free rejoicing heart. Now God doesn’t want you to give to Him out of pressure. God doesn’t want you to give to Him because you’re being forced or constrained to do it. Because God never wants you to gripe over what you gave to Him. What an insult to God for a person to turn around and gripe over what they gave. Complain over what they gave. That would be horrible. God never wants that to happen. Therefore, He always wants your gift to come from your own heart. That which you purposed in your own heart to give to God willingly. That which you can give cheerfully, give. That which you can’t give cheerfully, don’t give. If you can’t do it with a cheerful, willing heart, then don’t do it at all. It's of no value. God isn’t interested in it.
And so these men gave complete heart willingly unto the Lord. And there was great rejoicing. There’s real joy in giving to God.
Wherefore David blessed the LORD before the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all (29:10-11).
Now verse eleven here sounds much like the final phrase of the Lord’s prayer. “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever” (Matthew 6:13). Look at it again. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.” David was so great with words and so able to praise the Lord. I love the way David is just able to express himself to the Lord so freely, so. And really with such great expression. "Lord, Yours is the kingdom. The whole earth is Yours and the whole universe."
Both riches and honor come of thee, you reign over all; and in your hand is power and might; and in your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come from thee, and of thine own we have given to thee (29:12-14).
Now David said, "Hey, Lord, it’s all yours. You’re the One that’s given riches. You’re the One that gives power. You’re the One that gives abilities and everything else. It all belongs to You. And so actually all we’ve done is give You that which is really Yours anyhow."
Now we need to see ourselves as just stewards over God’s things. God set man upon the earth to sort of tend the garden. Man sought to rule over the garden. Man sought to rule over the earth. God just placed us here to take care of it. We’ve done a very poor job. Greed got in the way. I want more than what I need. I don’t need more than that, but I want more than that. And so I’m always striving to get more than I really need myself. And thus, we get deeper into the resources of the earth. And rather than just keeping them and preserving them, we use them up for our own greed. And thus, we have destroyed so many of the ecological balances in nature because of our greed.
"Lord, it all belongs to You. We were just taking care of it. We have done a bad job. We’re only giving You back, Lord, that which is really Yours to begin with." You’d never really give God anything. "Who am I that I’m able to do this for You, Lord? Who am I, Lord, that I could give to You?" To me, giving is one of the most tremendous privileges that God has allowed us. That I could give to God. Really, God doesn’t need anything I have. But He allows me to give to Him anyhow. And He blesses me for giving to Him. Not because He needs it, but because I need the blessings. So He allows me the privilege of giving to Him. And then He pays me dividends. God is so good.
For we are strangers before thee, sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none that is abiding (29:15).
“None that is abiding.” There are some today who are so much into positive confession they’re beginning to claim now they’re not going to die. David said, “There are none that are abiding.” We’re all sojourners. Our life is like a shadow.
O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee a house for thy holy name comes from Your hand, it is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You try the heart, and You have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now I have seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee (29:16-17).
"Lord, You know that what I gave. You know my heart. You know, Lord, I gave it to You out of the uprightness of my heart willingly: and now I have the joy of seeing all these people do the same thing."
O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: and give unto Solomon my son a complete heart, to keep thy commandments, and thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for which I have made provision. And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king with them. And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the LORD, they offered burnt offerings unto the LORD, and on the morrow the day after, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all of Israel: they did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest (29:18-22).
So great celebration and worship of God and the feasting that was associated with the worship. Now these sacrifices, thousand rams, thousand lambs, thousand oxen and so forth, they all were barbecued really and eaten by the people. They had a giant barbecue, and you just go around and grab the meat that you desire and just an abundance. Everybody just before the Lord worshipping God. You see, only the sin offering couldn’t be eaten. But these were peace offerings and unto the Lord which were offerings of fellowship. And so the great feast that they had company it. And the days, they were called the feasts, the times of their national holidays, the Passover and Pentecost and Trumpets. They were the feasts of the Passover. The feast of Pentecost. The feast of Trumpets because they would always be times of great feasting together. And the idea was eating together with the Lord. "Lord, we offer this as a sacrifice unto You, and You’re going to have this portion of it and we’ll eat the rest, as we worship You and thank You for all of Your blessings and all of Your goodness and all."
And so the times of worshipping God were great times of fellowship and rejoicing and eating. So your potlucks and everything are all in order, really. God enjoys you just eating and enjoying it and fellowshipping with Him. As you are feasting together, and it should be a time of just thanksgiving and worship unto God.
And so Solomon sat on the throne as the king instead of David his father, and he prospered; and all of Israel obeyed him. And all the princes, and the mighty men, likewise the sons of David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king. And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel. Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years in Hebron, thirty-three in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead. Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel, the book of Nathan, the book of Gad (29:23-29),
These three men were prophets. They each wrote books, and of course, we have the books of Samuel, First and Second Samuel, the seer. But we do not have, and of course, even Samuel, Second Samuel wasn’t written by him completely. We have the books. We do not have the book of Nathan and the book of Gad. They are lost books.
All of his reign, his might, the times that he went over, and over Israel, the time of his reigning over all of the kingdoms of the countries (29:30).
So we come to the end of a good friend, David. May the Lord be with you and bless you and watch over you during the week. May your love and commitment to God grow day by day. And may we each one consider what we are giving to God and how we give it. That we might render unto God that which is pleasing and acceptable in His sight, of our time, of our service, of our abilities, of our substance. God bless you. In Jesus' name.