May 21.—Morning. [Or October 8.]
“The Lord hath chosen Zion.”
THIS Psalm fitly closes the active life of David and introduces us to his last thought and care. He longed to see the temple erected upon that spot which had been consecrated by the feet of the celestial messenger when the plague was stayed. He rehearses the story of his former longing to build a house for the Lord, and then dwells upon the covenant which the Lord, in infinite mercy, made with his servant.
Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions:
Many of these afflictions were endured for the Lord’s sake and in defence of the Lord’s worship, therefore the psalmist dwells upon them; he begs especially that God would remember David’s longing to build a temple.
2 How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
5 Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
In his earliest days, when he dwelt at Bethlehem Ephratah, he had heard of the ark and loved it, and, at last, he found it at Kirjath-jearim, the forest city. Happy are they who love the cause of God in their youth, and are resolved to find out his church and people, even though they should be as much concealed as if hidden in a wood.
7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
Wherever God’s worship was, there David resolved to go. Be ours the same holy vow. If the saints be few, poor, and despised, we will sooner worship with them than with the great congregations of the worldly rich.
8 Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. (This was the song of Israel when the ark was moved from place to place. We may use it in these days when we are pleading for the presence and power of the Lord in his church.)
9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
10 For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
Be this our constant prayer, that the church may prosper and the Lord glorify himself in the midst of his people, for the sake of Jesus our greater David, whose face is ever fair in the sight of the Lord.
11 The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
13 For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
What God has chosen let us choose, where he dwells let us dwell, and where he rests there let us rest. The church of God should be very dear to our hearts. It should be our anxiety to unite with those who follow the Lord in all things; and when we are joined to their fellowship we should, both by our prayers and efforts, seek to build up the church. What precious promises are those which follow!
15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. (The gospel is our food, the Lord give us grace to feast on the rich provision, and make us poor in spirit that this heavenly bread may be sweet to us.)
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
None are so full of joy or so much in a mind to show it as those who dwell where God abides.
17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
The glory of Jesus, the Son of David, is great in his church, and in her midst he preserves the light of truth among men.
18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
Jesus shall reign. Oh, to be found among his friends! Who would wish to wear the garments of shame?
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He whose word cannot be broken,
Form’d thee for his own abode:
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.
May 21.—Evening. [Or October 9.]
“They offered willingly to the Lord.”
DAVID never turned aside from his desire to see a glorious temple erected to the honour of the Lord his God, and although he was not permitted to build it himself, he diligently provided the materials, earnestly charged Solomon to carry out his design, and at last gathered a solemn council to whom he commended this noble work.
1 Chronicles 29:1–9; 20–23
1 Furthermore 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. (God must never be served in a slovenly manner. We should feel under bonds to do our best in all religious work, because the labour is not for man, but for the Lord God.)
2 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 divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
He had thought upon the matter, and provided many things, and these were all of the best. Would to God that we all served God in this fashion, with thought and with sacrifice.
3 Moreover, 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,
4, 5 Even 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: The 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? (He who gives freely himself may justly ask of others. Those who collect but never contribute are inconsistent.)
6 ¶ Then 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,
7 And 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.
8 And 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.
He kept the accounts. God’s business should be done in order. Church funds should be very carefully accounted for, lest scandal arise.
9 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.
The joy of giving to the Lord is a very great one. Angels might well envy us such bliss.
20 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. (Paying religious homage to God, and respectful honour to the king.)
21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel: (Thus the threshing-floor of Araunah was saturated with blood that the foundations of the temple might be laid in sacrifice. Happy are those who are built upon the substitutionary death of Jesus.)
22 And did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. (So should sacred worship be far removed from sadness, and be regarded as a choice festival.) 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.
23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
He was viceroy for his father for awhile, and then succeeded him by the consent of the whole nation.