************ Sermon on 1 Chronciles 29:13 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on November 26, 2015


1 Chronicles 29:10-20
1 Chronicles 29:13
"We Give You Thanks"
Thanksgiving Day 2015

Introduction
David has been told he cannot build the temple because his hands are stained with blood. It is young and inexperienced Solomon (cf 1 Chron 29:1), who has just been crowned as king, who will build the temple instead. Therefore, King David gave Solomon the plans for the building of the temple (1 Chron 28:11ff).

David also set a personal example of giving to the temple building fund. We read earlier in 1 Chronicles 29 that David, out of his own personal treasures, gave three thousand talents of gold and seven thousand talents of silver (1 Chron 29:4). And then he challenged the leaders of Israel to also give (1 Chron 29:5).

In today's dollars, how much did David give to the temple building fund? Does anyone here have any idea? I looked up the price of gold this past week: $1073 per ounce. Now there is some disagreement among scholars as to the weight of a talent -- either 75 pounds or 110 pounds. If we take the low weight, David gave the equivalent of $3.9 billion in gold; if we take the high weight, David gave the equivalent of $5.7 billion in gold. The value of the silver adds another $100 million. The leaders of Israel gave five thousand talents of gold and ten thousand talents of silver. In today's prices that is over $8 billion. People like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, and Donald Trump can only hope to imitate David's generosity.

Someone was talking to me this past week about the places of worship of many churches today. He said that in the past people lived in average homes while God's house was a palace but today God's house is average while people live in palaces. David was determined that the temple for God's Holy Name be a palace.

After all this giving and preparation for the building of the temple, "David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly" (1 Chron 29:10).
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
Likewise, today we have come together to also praise and thank the Lord.

On this Thanksgiving Day we can learn from David. We start by reflecting on God. Then we look at ourselves. And, we end with a thankful response.

I God
A We start by reflecting on the person of God. At the start of his prayer, David uses God's covenant name of LORD or Yahweh (vs 10). From everlasting to everlasting Yahweh is the God of Israel. That is, He is the covenanting God, the God Who loves us in Christ, the God Who forgives us and redeems us and cleans us.
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

B Now, look at all the words used to describe God in verse 11: greatness, power, glory, majesty, splendor, kingdom, exalted, head.

What do these adjectives tell us? First, God is our all-powerful king. His is the kingdom. He is head over all. His is rule and authority. He is sovereign. He is ruler and Lord.

Second, the adjectives tell us it is God, and not we ourselves, who should receive all the praise, forever. I am to live for Him, His name, His glory and not for myself, my name, my glory. Therefore, we gather together today to thank Him and praise Him and glorify Him and magnify Him. To God be the glory forever, Amen.

Third, the adjectives tell us God is great and God is good. Our God not only wants to but is able to give us all that is good. Therefore, I can trust Him to provide what I need for body and soul. Therefore, I can trust Him to turn to my good whatever adversity He sends me in this sad world.

David acknowledges the greatness and goodness of God in his own life. Think of David's phenomenal offering for the temple building fund. How is this possible? David explains: "wealth and honor come from you ..." (1 Chron 29:12). It is God Who gave David his kingdom and power and position and wealth. Likewise, it is God Who gives us every good gift that we enjoy and celebrate today.
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

C I am sure you realize there are people who deny the greatness and goodness of God. We've all heard it numerous times: "Why would a God who is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful allow bad things to happen to good people?" We can also turn the question around: "Why would an all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God allow good things to happen to bad people?" After all, while seeing good people suffer is horrible, it's not much fun seeing evil people having it good either.

Often times these questions are asked by people who have suffered or whose loved ones have known grief and loss. They honestly want to know: How could God let this happen to me and to mine? Why wouldn't God stop this pain and help me? Why did God allow the Holocaust, the abduction and murder of a child, the long and painful death of a kind and gentle person, the bombings in Paris, world hunger. The critics of Christianity respond by saying God must not be all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good.

Or, consider the life of David. He had to flee for his life and live in caves and holes in the ground. Two of his sons rebelled against him and tried to be king in his place. An infant son of his died. His wife despised him. Where was the greatness and goodness of God in all of this? Yet, David never wavered in his confession that God is great and God is good.

Let me say this: sometimes the greatness and goodness of God is hidden as He deals with His people. It is only later that we realize He is working everything out for good. It is only later that we realize nothing separates us from His love. It is only later that we realize we are completely in His loving hands. So, with David we confess our God is great and our God is good.
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

II Ourselves
A Our Bible reading also makes us reflect on ourselves. Listen to what David says in verse 14:
(1 Chr 29:14) But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
"Who am I, and who are my people?" What is David saying? In humility David acknowledges that he is unworthy. David, you see, knew his sin. David knew that the natural inclination of his heart was to hate God and neighbor all the time.

Now, who is the David that is saying this? He is one of the wealthiest and most powerful kings of the Ancient World. Go back to his gift for the temple building fund: $5 billion. Even today there aren't one hundred people who would be able to give this amount of wealth away.

David was one of the richest and most powerful men on earth. He was a mover and a shaker. Yet, he knew he was unworthy "Who am I?"

On this Thanksgiving Day we would be wise to ask the same question: "Who am I?" Be humble, congregation. Recognize that though God is great and God is good you are unworthy to receive God's many blessings. Recognize you are sinners who deserve nothing and earn nothing and merit nothing. Recognize you deserve nothing and thank the Lord for what He, out of grace, has given you:
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

B David also expresses his completed dependency upon the Lord:
(1 Chr 29:14-15) But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. (15) We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers.
"Everything comes from you ..." That's what David says. That's what rich, powerful David says. At the time of David as well as today this is an usual confession because many who are rich don't think they need God. I am thinking of what we read in Proverbs:
(Prov 30:8-9) ... give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. (9) Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?'
But the poor are no better. Instead of needing God, they think they need the government to give them their daily bread.

"Everything comes from you ..." Remember that, congregation. It is not, first of all, the hard work of your hands or your mind that is responsible for food, drink, clothing, shelter. Don't credit, first of all, your wise investments and financial knowhow. Don't think that you have what you need and then some because you are so smart. Don't give the credit to the government!

"Everything comes from you ..." We depend upon God for everything because God is great and God is good. We depend upon God for everything because we, with David, are "aliens and strangers in your sight" (1 Chron 29:15). In the Ancient World, hardly anyone was as helpless and as needy as was an alien and stranger. In today's world, think of refugees -- real refugees -- who are fleeing for their lives and all that they have is what they can carry with them. That's a picture of you and me before God:
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

C David ends his time of self-reflection by mentioning the frailty of life:
(1 Chr 29:15) Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.
A shadow so easily comes and goes. A cloud can block the sun and the shadow is no more. There is evening and the shadow is no more. Human life is like that. Our time on earth is so brief and our days are so few. Yet, God cares for us:
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

III A Thankful Response
A On this Day of Thanksgiving we remember that God is great and God is good. We also remember we are so unworthy and dependent and frail.
In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years' War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, buried 5,000 of his congregation in one year, an average of 15 a day. His church was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster. In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote some words which we have sung this morning:
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers's arms,
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
Martin confessed God is great and God is good in the face of darkness and sin and frailty. Martin is like David. David, too, rejoices in God.
(1 Chr 29:13) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

B What else did David do? I already mentioned his generous gift to the temple building fund. The people saw the giving of David and their other leaders and they "rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord" (1 Chron 29:9).

It is the Apostle Paul who reminds us that the Lord loves a cheerful giver:
(2 Cor 9:7) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
These words describe David and the leaders of Israel. Do they also describe you?

C Our passage ends with a call to devotion. Notice what David prays about the people and Solomon:
(1 Chr 29:18-19) O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. (19) And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees ...
David prays for loyal hearts. David prays for devoted hearts.

God is great and God is good. We are so unworthy and dependent and frail. So my prayer, with David, is that we all remain loyal and devoted to God.

Conclusion
Notice how our passage ends with the praise and thanks of all the people:
(1 Chron 29:20) Then David said to the whole assembly, "Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king.
On this Day of Thanksgiving can we do any less?
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