1 Chronicles 28:1-21
There are two observations from today’s reading. The first comes from a biblical studies perspective and is designed to help you grow in your handling of scripture. The second comes from a pastoral, devotional perspective, designed to help you in your spiritual formation.
It was mentioned in the introduction that the Chronicler had a very different perspective on the history of Israel than the writer of Samuel and Kings. This difference is most evident in relationship to the building of the Temple. In the Samuel/Kings account, it is mentioned that David desired to build the Temple, but that it was Solomon who was the real mastermind behind the construction. According to the Chronicler it was actually David who did all the work for the Temple construction — plans, preparations, and financing — while Solomon simply executed his father’s instructions.
First of all, let us be clear. This apparent discrepancy does not mean that the Bible contradicts itself. When you match up both stories you will see that both are accurate and true, but are told from different perspectives. The writer of Samuel and Kings was trying to show the sovereignty and grace of God in spite of the wickedness of His people. Therefore, he hung out all the dirty laundry of the royal families for the world to see. The Chronicler, on the other hand, leaves out all the nastiness in an effort to show how God was preserving His plans for the Temple and proper worship throughout the generations.
The perspective of the Chronicler on the role of Solomon in the construction of the Temple actually solves a great mystery that was created by the account of 1 Kings; how could such a wise man fall so far away from God?
In 1 Kings Solomon asks God for a discerning heart, and it appears that, as a result of this discerning heart Solomon comes up with these wonderful plans for the Temple. While it doesn’t specifically say that, the flow of the story definitely implies it. At the height of Solomon’s glory it seems that he is the wisest, most godly man to have ever lived. Then, in a whiplash-inducing reversal, Solomon takes a nose-dive off the cliff of paganism and never recovers. How could this happen to a man with such wisdom?
The Chronicler makes it clear. Solomon was just the “wrist” in the building of the Temple. He was just the physical means to get the job done, but not the heart and soul behind it. Solomon asked for a discerning heart, and God gave it to him, but what if he never really used it to its full potential? It seems that, throughout Solomon’s entire career, his wisdom was more externally focused. He became enraptured in science, art, politics, architecture, and Temple building, but, perhaps, he never really had a heart for God. Notice that he spent 7 years to build the Temple, but 14 to build his own house. He loved women, power, and money.
If the plans for the Temple were truly a gift from the Spirit to David, and Solomon was just the physical means to accomplish the job, then it makes more sense why he could have strayed so far away from the heart of God and the true purpose of the Temple. It also makes sense why he is repeatedly warned by his father and the Lord to keep his heart focused and not get distracted.
Look at v. 9 again. David told Solomon to serve the Lord wholeheartedly and with a willing mind because the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. Yikes! Let’s ponder that for a moment.
The phrase “every motive behind the thoughts” is literally translated “the formation, or the root source, behind the thinking process.” The term translated “formation” comes from pottery and is used to describe what a potter does to clay when making a pot.
This same phrase is found in Genesis 6:5
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the Earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”
This verse was the explanation for why God was justified in sending the great flood to destroy the human population.
David was warning Solomon that God sees past all our smoke screens, pleasantries, and Christian nice-nice, and knows what we are really all about. We can’t fool Him.
Here’s the bottom line. God didn’t care how wonderful Solomon looked on the outside. It was the “formation of his thoughts” that would be the measuring stick for God. David was a man after God’s own heart because the Spirit of the Lord had His hands on the raw clay of David’s mind. What do the hands look like that are forming your thoughts today?