07 January 2012

Building a legacy

David wanted to build the temple, but because of his years of war, God did not permit him (1 Chronicles 17:1-15), promising instead that his son Solomon would build it. Yet David, a man who deeply loved God, did not throw up his hands and cast aside his vision when he learned he would not be the one to build it. Instead, he provided the necessary scaffolding for his son. He worked diligently to ensure that Solomon would have what he needed when the time came because he recognized his son, was "young and in experienced" (1 Chronicles 22:5) and the temple would need to be "exceedingly magnificent". As Christians, we can learn a lot about parenting from David's provision for Solomon.

First, he provided materially. David ensured that Solomon would have sufficient building supplies when the time came for him to build the temple. He provided cut stone, wood, and iron, and bronze "beyond weighing" for the temple (v. 2-4). David knew what would be needed for the project and he set to providing it for him.

As parents, providing materially for our children's spiritual walk is also important. Ensuring that they have Bibles will help provide scaffolding for their growth. Beyond this, exposing them to good literature, music, and art, Christian or not, will encourage their growth.

Second, he provided a story.  In verses 6-10, David tells his son about God, specifically about God's plan for David, Solomon, and the temple. He explains to him that God has not permitted him to build the temple, but that Solomon is to build it. Solomon can see that his father's heart is dedicated to the things of God (v. 7). Through this story, David is able to demonstrate how important God is to him.  David also demonstrates the story is not finished, that it continues with Solomon. 

As parents, we also should share our story with our children. We should be diligent to teach them about how God has worked, and is continuing to work, in our lives. We should not stop there, though. As we share our history, we should not conclude with "the end." Rather, we should project our story into the future, reminding our children that God wants them in the story.

Third, he provided instruction. Actually, David offers a benediction of sorts (v. 11-16).  "Now, my son, the LORD be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the LORD your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the LORD commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and work! The LORD be with you!” David grounds his blessing in the power of God to do what he has commanded. He desires wisdom for his son and encourages him to hold to the word of the Lord. He does not stop there; he tells him to "arise and work." Solomon is not just to ponder the wisdom of God, he is to actually move forward in building the temple; nor is he to charge ahead without wisdom. Rather, David encouraged work wisely grounded.

Christian parents are also to wisely instruct our children. David offers a benedictory prayer of sorts. He gives blessing and instruction, grounded in the word of the Lord. Pray for your kids. Pray with your kids. Instruct them in the way they are to go.

Finally, he provided helpers. In verse 17, we read that "David commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son." 

The Christian church is a body of believers, a community. We should not expect to go it alone in our parenting. We should seek help and encouragement from others, just as we provide help and encouragement to them. 

Daily Reading: Matthew 15, Numbers 18, 1 Corinthians 2, 3 John, Song of Solomon 1, Psalm 140, Proverbs 21, 1 Chronicles 22, Ezekiel 48, Romans 16

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