Too much time has passed since I posted an article here in Encouragement Corner. Writing down what’s on my mind seems to come naturally for me, but writing to encourage, to follow the verse that made me start this blog–“…and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord…”-[2 Chronicles 35:2b]–has not been so easy. Praise the Lord, we have the Bible where all the encouragement we need comes from! As I was reading through 1 Chronicles 29, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to a reminder that may add kindling to the waning fire in a Christian’s life.
1 CHRONICLES 29:1-9
1Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.
2Now 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 divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
3Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.
4Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:
5The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?
6Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king`s work, offered willingly,
7And 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.
8And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
9Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.
How many times have we heard, or even said, “To thee only, Lord, will I serve!” Yet more often than not, our attention have turned to some other thing, and we grieve the Holy Spirit. Only afterwards do we realize it was not with a perfect heart that we offered our service to God.
In the first verse, Solomon was chosen for the work of building the house of God. As Christians, we all are bidden to work for Christ until He comes for us in the Rapture of the saints. We are to edify, encourage and exhort fellow believers in the Lord. We are to bring lost souls into the fold of God. Solomon was young and tender, and the work was great, yet he was able to finish the task given to him. We also are tasked with a great work; yea, the harvest is plenteous and the laborers are few. Will we be able to finish with joy and rejoicing at Jesus’ feet?
We can only imagine how grand the temple that Solomon built was! Just think of the gold, silver, brass, and all kinds of precious gems that you would have seen had you been an Israelite living during that time! Much preparation must have been done for the work of such a glorious edifice, and only right for it was built as the palace “not for man, but for the LORD God.” In verse two, the gold for things of gold was prepared for the building of the house of God, and thus with the silver, brass, iron, wood, and precious stones. If our lives should represent the things used such as gold and silver, are we as Christians prepared and ready to work for the things of Christ?
If we are prepared, the next thing is to set our affection to the house of God. “Set you affection on things above, not on things on the earth…” Verse three indicates that the manifestation of having set our affection to the work that Christ has for us is, giving over and above what we have prepared. In the previous paragraph, our lives were prepared to do what God would want us to do. Giving over and above what we have prepared is giving our talents to serve Him. It may also be to let our family be an instrument to be used of God. Have we truly set our affection on things above?
As I was reading this passage of Scripture, the one thing that really made me stop and meditate upon was in verse five: “And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” Was I willing? Did I truly consecrate my service unto the Lord? Those were the questions that got a hold of my mind, and those are the same that you might even ask to yourself. That day, I read the verse and thought on it; the next day, I read the same passage and meditated on it some more. This went on for quite some time, for I knew I could not continue my Bible reading without settling it with my Lord. Not until He opened my eyes (they were probably stubbornly closed all that time) and showed me that preparation of my life to serve Him and setting my affection on the things of Christ was essential before I ever be truly willing to consecrate my service unto the Lord. If all these were done in us–the preparation and the setting of affection–we would have no doubt regarding our willingness to do the work unto the Lord.
The result of preparing to be used of God is being able to set our affection on things above. The effect of those two things then is, the willingness to serve. Following that is now the act of offering willingly our service to God. It ought not be the half-hearted obedience of what He would have us to do, but would be with a perfect heart. King Saul was rebuked, “…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” because of his half-obedience to God’s commandment. He was actually not prepared; he came from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe not chosen to be the one in which the ruling king would come from; he was not trained to lead a great, but stubborn, people. His heart’s affection was not even for God, during that time that he was rebuked; he chose to leave the best of the spoils of war alive, instead of killing everyone and everything, the act which would have had eliminated a nation that would cause Israel to sin. He was not willing to obey, yet he desired to serve the Lord by offering a sacrifice. Thus, the ending of his story was not a joyful one: God chose another man to lead his people Israel. Perhaps his life would have concluded in a different way, had he obeyed. I do not know how God would have done things if Saul had obeyed. But I know that it was written for our learning, and I know that all things work together in God’s hands.
Back in track, you can now probably guess what the outcome of offering willingly to the Lord would be. Verse nine–“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” We ourselves would rejoice and be glad if with a perfect heart we offered willingly to the Lord. Since David is a type of Christ, our Lord would rejoice with all the host of heaven if we willingly served Him, with all sincerity and truth. Let us then be willing and serve the Lord with a perfect heart. May this be an eye-opener, a reminder, or even a part of the blade of the sword of the Lord to all of us.
“And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?”