David: Leaving a Legacy
2 Samuel 7: 1-13; 1 Kings 2: 1-4
David: Leaving a Legacy
So we are continuing today our series on David and looking at David’s life and the lessons we can learn from David’s life. And today we’re going to be looking at the end of David‘s life when he is seeking to leave a real, true legacy behind. We begin actually in the very early portions of David’s time as king. And we can see that David is concerned about one big thing: the Temple. This continues through to the end of his life too. David is concerned that he does not overshadow the Lord; for his own personal frame and our position to not overshadow the Lord’s. And one of the things he’s really concerned about with this is that he recognizes he has a palace made of cedar and God has a tent. That’s why he wants to build a house of cedar for God, like the one he has.
That actually is a very sound motivation for him. It makes a lot of sense. It makes so much sense that even the prophet Nathan, when asked whether it’s a good idea or not, just says, “sounds like a great idea to me.” Even Nathan doesn’t ask God what God thinks; even the best of us, even the prophets, are human and make mistakes. But that night God speaks with Nathan and says that no, David cannot build the Temple, instead a future son of David will build the Temple.
It is interesting that at this point Solomon had not yet been born. So at this point Solomon, the promised son who will build the temple, is just that: he’s a promise. In part what God is saying is “I will build your house, I will build your legacy David.” A note here is that this promise is at the very beginning of David’s life. David wants to build a temple very early, and he holds onto this idea that God deserves a temple for decades. Through everything that happens in his life, through all the ups and all the downs, his passion for honoring God doesn’t waver; and he ends his life wanting to build the temple he wanted to build 40 years earlier.
Something else to think about though is that in a different scripture around this time frame we see that God does not want David to build the temple because David had shed blood; because David was a warrior. Now that was fine: God wanted David to be a warrior. God wanted his people to have warriors. But he did not want a warrior to build the temple; rather he needed a peaceful person to build the temple.
This is important to remember. The instructions for the temple and for the tabernacle, which was the tent that God was currently dwelling in, included many instructions to have pure items. The rocks needed to be of one piece. There could be no tools used at the site when the temple is finally built. The altar, the foundation stones, the wall stones, everything had to be built offsite and carried in. The cloth that was used in the walls of the tabernacle, and on the priest’s clothes, had to be pure and without blemish. The animals that were sacrificed had to be pure and without blemish. And here we see the one commissioning the construction has to have clean hands. Pure. Holy.
It is within that idea that David talks about building a house of cedar for God. He recognizes that he and the other nobles of the land of Israel are living in houses of cedar. Cedar is the best wood that you could buy anywhere in the area, and he saw the nobles and the king living in houses of cedar while God lives in a tent. Which was fine when all of Israel lived in a tent, but now they don’t. Now only the poor live in tents. And God should not be living in the house of a poor person, David is saying.
It is interesting to me to remember that that is a very high priority for David that God not be considered among the poor, but it doesn’t seem a very high priority for God. When you look at this passage, you can see God kind of chastising David: “when did I ever worry about living in a tent?” It doesn’t seem a high priority that the temple or the tabernacle be the best in the land, but it does seem a high-priority that the location and the dwelling, whatever that dwelling is, be pure, and holy, and clean.
I think the purpose of everything being holy and everything being clean, and even everything being the best in the way that David is trying to go for, is that God is indeed holy. And this shows the holiness of the Lord. The point was to ensure that you can’t just phone in worship. You can’t just take the leftovers and come and worship. You had to have the best. This ensures the people understand what worship was. Worship is important. It holds our understanding of who God is in our lives. God deserves the best because of who God is: because God made all that there is. God deserves the best because it ultimately all comes from God anyway. We are merely stewards of what we have with task with use of everything we have for God’s glory. And part of that is to remember our position and our place with God. And what helps us to do that is bringing the best to worship.
In Bucyrus we have a food ministry, and we have the bread services, and we have our fifth Sunday meals. These things feed the hungry. In Springhill we have a lot to do with education. We provide our resources for a backpack, we provide our resources for the school, and we have these children that we adopt for Christmas. We use our building in Springhill for groups to meet there; groups like 4H.
We steward God‘s resources, both monetary and God‘s resources of the building, in ways that benefit people and show our honor and our reverence to God the way that David did. And part of that is providing our best in worship. Part of that is singing with everything we have, praying intently, in bringing our first fruits in offering.
That’s the beginning of David’s life. And as David’s life is getting ready to end he begins to want to prepare his son Solomon for this task that he had wanted to do for decades. And he prepares his son Solomon to do it here by purchasing and providing the construction material. He gathers materials from all over the kingdom. He purchases some from nearby, getting the best cedar in the Cedars of Lebanon to the north. He gets everything he can and he builds up this giant pile of resources in Jerusalem. Part of those resources is the location itself. He gets a location: the hill across the valley from his palace, a hill that’s actually a little bit higher than his palace so that the temple will over look the City of David, and be reminding people by it’s very location that God is more important than the king within the kingdom. But perhaps more than anything he wanted to communicate that idea to his son Solomon himself.
Part of what he’s trying to do at the end of his life is to teach Solomon that same love of God that he had, and to teach Solomon the same knowledge of God that he had. Remember the kings passage includes the instruction: “Be strong, be courageous, 3 and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.” It’s worth remembering that David believes that the law is a good thing; he believes that following the law puts a person on the right path and helps the person lead a good and productive life. Following the law and the commands of Jesus puts you on a path toward a meaningful and a good life. That may not appear in material blessings. You may not change your circumstances on the outside. But there’s a meaning in your life because you’re serving God, and you see it in those little things you can do for other people and for yourself.
Finally David breathes his last, and after that we see that Solomon has indeed taken his words to heart. Solomon gets told by God to ask God for anything and it will be given, and Solomon asked for wisdom. You know that story. Solomon seems to have understood what David was talking about regarding what we need from God and what God can provide. Solomon gets to work very quickly on building his father’s dream of the Temple. Indeed he finishes the construction from the materials that David left and a few more the Solomon would add on. And that temple would survive, the materials that David provided would survive for over 470 years. The temple was a lasting testimony and a lasting legacy of David and Solomon.
What Legacy are you leaving? When David set out to leave a legacy he left two main things for his legacy. First, he left the teachings he provided to his children, mainly to Solomon. And his teachings are mainly to follow the Lord and to follow the Commandments of God and you will have a good life. David‘s final message to his son, as was read in the Kings passage, is follow the Lord as I have done; follow God I do not regret it. There are wonderful stories of the good things that we did that grandparents can tell their grandchildren as they are leaving a legacy. It didn’t always stick for all of David‘s children, we’re not responsible for the landing. But we must try to leave something for those that follow.
The other legacy that David leaves is that he prepares his son to succeed in the challenges he faces. David tries to make sure that life is going to be better for his son than it was for him. He abdicated the throne so that he can physically bless the kingship of his son and anoint a successor, which causes a lot of his leaders to pledge loyalty to the new king because the old King is still around. It’s hard to go against the wishes of a dying man when he’s still there. And actually that helps Solomon avoid a lot of the problems that Saul’s son had at the beginning of David‘s rule and that Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, will have as well. And of course David leaves the temple project, and he provides for the temple project: he acquires land, acquires materials, he acquires a workforce and sets a schedule for them (you could read that in 1 Chronicles). He provides the blueprints for the temple also. All Solomon really had to do is basically put water in the paint and make sure he doesn’t go outside line and has the right color paint with the right number. David has everything planned out so that his son will succeed in building this massive project.
Are you leaving a legacy? We’ve had to start watching what we put on TV with that Caleb around. We had to start watching what we say. I know we do better than a lot of people with that, but we’re still human. We’ve had to start watching what we’re doing because Caleb is watching us, and sometimes he imitates what we do and imitates what we say. Children learn not only what you want them to learn, but also what you might not. They watch everything and everything you do teaches them a lesson of some kind.
So what are you teaching your children? Does what you’re teaching your children and your grandchildren include the goodness of God? Does it include the importance of worship? Do you bring the children and the grandchildren with you to worship? If you do, how are you worshipping when you’re there? They’re watching. Do you even come yourself? There is an importance conveyed in simply coming yourself. Parental attendance in worship correlates to children continuing to worship after leaving the household. Everything you do communicates what you believe about God. Everything you do communicates what you believe about worship. Teach the importance of God and teach the importance of worship the way David did to his children.
Also David provides materially for his children and for the worship of God long after he was gone. I’m going to assume you’re providing for your children financially after your death as best you can, but have you thought about the church? Did you know you can put Church in your will? Crazy! You may not even be able to supply a cent to the offering plate now, but you can throw a line in your will and give something then. There are endowments you can give through. There are foundations and scholarships set up with this church that your legacy could extend for quite some time. Memorials create a lasting legacy for individuals.
Look around the sanctuary. You can see the windows with names in them. This building is the legacy of the people who came before; people who gave to the church so that you could have a place to worship in 2018. And part of that going into the future is our visioning process that we’re going through, trying to figure out who we are and who we want to be. That’s why we put the timeline up over there: so you could supply who we’ve been in the past and what you think is important about this church so we can then go forward to amplify what God has already made us, and be that much better at stewarding our resources. Think about the legacy you’re leaving today. Think about the legacy want to leave. Then bring those together. Because you still have time to make sure the legacy you leave is the legacy want to. Let’s make that happen. Amen.