David was nearing the end of his life. But he still had an unfulfilled dream. He desperately wanted to build a place of worship for the Lord, a home for the Ark of the Covenant.
He laid out careful plans for a temple to be built on the former site of the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. He began the process of collecting the materials needed.
But God said that David was not to be the one to build the temple. Instead, God told him, his son Solomon would come to the throne after him, and he would be the one to construct the temple.
As one of his last official acts, David made a large offering from his own wealth to help fund the temple. This gift became an inspiration to other leaders among the Israelites. They too immediately stepped forward to offer gifts for the construction of the temple.
With their gifts added in, the amount donated for the building of the temple more than doubled. And it all happened very, very quickly. No long campaigns. No passing of the offering plate multiple times. It was one generous gift from David, followed up by one question from David: “Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?” (1 Chronicles 29:5b, NIV).
What happens next is even more amazing. David does not hold himself up as any great example of generosity. Nor does he begin by praising the Israelite leaders’ open-handedness.
No, he recognizes instead that everything needed to fulfill his dream of building a temple was coming from the hand of God. He and the leaders were merely conduits for the resources. They were not the ultimate owners of the wealth that had been donated.
God was. Because God is the generous, open-handed owner of everything in heaven and on earth. So David’s praise was reserved for him. David’s thanks went to the Lord. His acknowledgment was of the Lord’s greatness, power, glory and majesty.
Our God, David assures every one us, is a generous God! Generous with his heart. And generous with his resources.
Should we be surprised? How could we be when we know that this is the very same God who was generous with his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. This is the same God who is generous with his love, generous with his forgiveness, and generous with his power.
“David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
‘Praise be to you, Lord,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, 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, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
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.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name'” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Sunday, August 9, is 1 Chronicles 28:1 – 29:30, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 and Psalm 93:1-5.
Lord, I thank you that you are such an amazingly generous God. You have been generous toward me personally with your love, your forgiveness, and with your power. Most of all you have generously supplied me with a Savior from my sins. Graciously provide me with all I need for this life, and for the life to come.
Header image based on "Henri J M Nouwen" by BK, CC By-SA 2.0