1 Chronicles 17-19

The Tabernacle, The Ark, The Heart

Now that the Ark is in Jerusalem David is thinking that his living in a cedar palace while the Ark is in a tent is just not right. So he decides to build a house for the Ark. He tells Nathan the prophet of his plans and Nathan is all on board with the idea and tells David to go for it because God is with him. One little detail escaped them both.  What does God want? Nobody bothered to ask.

Although David is a man after God’s heart and he has learned to call on God when he is in a tough spot, he, like us, has some blind spots in his understanding of God and how he is to relate to him. For years the nation of Israel had drifted from their understanding of God. David grew up in an era where people did what was right in their own eyes. This is fertile ground for pride to set in. I think we, as a nation, have fallen into the same trap. For instance, I can remember as a child in the 1950’s in Southern California that the stores would all be closed on Sunday, every Sunday. Now it is get that Thanksgiving dinner over so we can get to the Mall for the early opening of the Black Friday sales! Sunday is a major shopping day and any knowledge of a Sabbath rest has been lost or redefined as shopping being our Sabbath rest. Are we guilty of doing what we think is right without consulting God?  I think so.

David has what seems like a good idea and Nathan agrees but no one asked God. So at night, when the busyness of the day has calmed down, God spoke to Nathan and reminded Him that God is God, He has a plan, and Nathan was to give David a message. In that message God reminds David of what He has done for David, what He is doing, and tells David what He plans to do.  In my Bible I count 19 places where He begins with “I” and gives a rebuking reminder to David of who is God and who God is.

 In verse 16 we read that David got the message loud and clear. He goes to the Ark and sits before the Lord.  There David prays a prayer of repentance. This really illustrates what a believer after God’s heart does.

The Ark was to be in the Most Holy place of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was to be in the center of the people. In the kingdom the Tabernacle will be replaced by the Temple but the illustration is the same. The Temple, or in reality the Lord God, is to be in the center of the people and the Kingdom.

Jesus said in Luke 17:20-21 that the Kingdom of God is within the person who believes. After he said that a young man who was rich and powerful asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus saw that his possessions, riches, and power, were hindering him and not giving him peace. Jesus told the man to get rid of them and follow Him. The man went away sad because of what he had to do. Jesus said it was hard for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. Luke 18:18-30

It is not impossible however, for we read in the next chapter that a chief tax collector named Zaccheus also sought out Jesus and when Jesus called to him to come Zaccheus did. Zaccheus was more than willing to give up his possessions and to receive Jesus into his home. In Luke 19:9 we read, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too, is a son of Abraham.’” NASB

The house Jesus was speaking of was not the building but the heart of Zaccheus. Zaccheus was a child of Abraham because of his faith in Jesus. Abraham, the father of many nations, including the Jews, is also the father of faith. Those who put their faith in God are children of Abraham.

The response of Zaccheus to Jesus taking up residence in his heart was immediate.  He set about changing his life by getting rid of the stumbling blocks to his faith. This was David’s response as well. Although David was not allowed to build the temple he did his part in the construction of it by gathering the materials, and more importantly, setting the example. David was looking for the Kingdom that was yet to come.

A Christian’s heart is the present Temple of the Holy Spirit. God dwells within. Like the Ark being with David in Jerusalem and David having access to the God represented by the Ark, a Christian can boldly approach the throne of God in prayer. Hebrews 4:16

I confess. I have lots of ideas, but God has a plan. Over the years I have learned that there is a temptation to act out on my ideas. The emotions say, “act now, this is a really good idea!” The problem with that is if I act without consulting the Lord I have let my emotions take control and that usually doesn’t turn out well. Hebrews 6:19&20 tells us that we can go to the throne of God behind the veil and speak to God any time. David demonstrated this visually to us when he went to the Ark. What we see him do in response to the Word he received, we can do spiritually in prayer. When David met God at the Ark he found an anchor for his soul. His plan changed because when he received the Word of God, when he met with God, he found that God was putting David’s house in proper order so God could bless David according to God’s plan..

The same is true for us. As we study the Word of God, we need to remember that God is speaking to us and He has a plan for us. We need to be praying the Word of God into our lives and actions, especially when the Holy Spirit is convicting us! Jude 20&21 are great words of wisdom to us and give us the process in just two verses! Jude is the book right before Revelation. I encourage you to put them into practice.

Start with this attitude. Thy will be done!

Pastor Dave