1 Chronicles - Building God's house

Background

Ezra is the author of both 1 and 2 Chronicles according to tradition. The book of 1 Chronicles contains stories which have already been presented in some way in 1 and 2 Kings.

Both the Northern and Southern kingdoms submitted to David's kingdom, thus uniting all Israel under him. After defeating the Philistines, David sought to move the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, succeeding on his second attempt. He then began plans to build a temple but learned from Nathan, the prophet, that he would instead build a dynasty with eternal dimensions and that God intended his son, Solomon to build the Temple instead.

Theme

(1 Chronicles 17:1 NIV) After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent."

(1 Chronicles 22:6 NIV) Then he (King David) called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel.

Question : Solomon literally built a temple for the Lord. In our present day, what tasks can we do for God that is equivalent to building His house.

What "building God's house" means

(1 Chronicles 13:14 NIV) The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the LORD blessed his household and everything he had.

All the underlined words are translated from the same Hebrew word bayith. Therefore, the word bayith can refer to both the physical house as well as the family/household associated with it. In other words, God's house or bayith is His physical church or His family.

Question : Who then is God's family?

They are His children or all the believers in Jesus Christ.

(John 1:12 NIV) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--

Therefore, when we say that we build God's house, we can refer to both building God's physical church as well as building God's family in the sense of adding to the body of believers and edifying existing believers.

What then is God's primary concern? Is it to have a beautiful church or to have His family built?

(1 Chronicles 17:4-6 NIV) "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. {5} I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. {6} Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders whom I commanded to shepherd my people, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"'

These verses show the priority of God. He is not interested in the building of His house so as to have a luxurious dwelling place (house of cedar). He was just as contented when He dwelled in a tent with the Israelites in the wilderness. God's primary concern is always His people. He is interested in a grand temple if that can provide a conducive environment of worship for His people.

How can we build God's house?

We have seen that there are two primary ways to build God's house.

1. Build God's physical church

2. Build God's family (ie body of believers)

Let's go through each of the two points to come up with practical ideas as to how we can build God's house.

Suggestions

1. Build God's physical church

Help out personally in the building project for the church
Contribute financially towards the church building project
Help to pray for the church project

2. Build God's family (ie body of believers)

Live a good Christian life so that people can see the difference in Christians
Pray for salvation of friends/loved ones
Share Jesus with friends
Meet the needs of non-Christians in tangible ways so as to win their friendship
Contribute financially towards missions
Bless missionaries in other tangible ways so that they can better build God's house

What 1 Chronicles teaches about the various ways to build God's church?

There are many ways to build God's house. We were told that when David wanted to build God a house, God told him that he was not to build it but instead his son Solomon.

(1 Chronicles 17:1-4 NIV) After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent." {2} Nathan replied to David, "Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you." {3} That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: {4} "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in.

(1 Chronicles 28:2-3 NIV) King David rose to his feet and said: "Listen to me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. {3} But God said to me, 'You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.'

David did not become bitter when he was disallowed from building God's house personally. He knew that there are many ways to build God's house.

1. Gathering people who would build God's house

(1 Chronicles 22:2 NIV) So David gave orders to assemble the aliens living in Israel, and from among them he appointed stonecutters to prepare dressed stone for building the house of God.

Likewise, the church is performing this task when it encourages people to enter the missions field. Perhaps you know someone who has a calling to go into missions but is hesitating due to some reasons. You can help by encouraging him to enter the ministry and in this way gathering people to build God's house.

2. Providing resources for the building of God's house

(1 Chronicles 22:3 NIV) He provided a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings, and more bronze than could be weighed.

We may give financially towards missions or support specific missionaries who would go out to build God's house.

3. Encourage others who have been called to build God's house

(1 Chronicles 22:6-10 NIV) Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. {7} David said to Solomon: "My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the LORD my God. {8} But this word of the LORD came to me: 'You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. {9} But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. {10} He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.'

David challenged Solomon to build the house of God and encouraged him by assuring him that he would succeed because God will be with him.

4. Pray for those who would build God's house

(1 Chronicles 22:11-12 NIV) "Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would. {12} May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God.

Based on the group's earlier discussion and the lessons from 1 Chronicles 22, what are the list of things that you would be committed to work on to build the Lord's house?

1.

2.

3.

It is beneficial to ask some group members to share what they have listed here. The leader should guide them towards making specific goals, not general ones that will be easily forgotten.

What hinders us from building God's house?

(1 Chronicles 28:2-3 NIV) King David rose to his feet and said: "Listen to me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. {3} But God said to me, 'You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.'

We do not know for sure why God disallowed David from building His house simply because David had been involved in much warfare. Surely most if not all of these wars were with God's blessings and against Israel and God's enemies, many of which are nations which are against God. Yet God prefers the temple to be build by a man of peace. What is interesting is that Solomon told us of another reason why David could not build the temple. Because he did not have time as he was too busy warding off enemies.

(1 Kings 5:3 NIV) "You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the LORD his God until the LORD put his enemies under his feet.

We could readily identify with this hindrance to building God's house. The group had earlier said that they would be committed to building God's house in specific ways. What are the hindrances that they face which may prevent them from building God's house?

1.

2.

3.

Share on how you plan to remove these hindrances.

What happens when we build God's house?

When we build God's house, He blesses us bountifully.

(1 Chronicles 17:1-10 NIV) After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent." ……{7} "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be ruler over my people Israel. {8} I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men of the earth. {9} And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning {10} and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. "'I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you:

Worksheet

How can we contribute towards building God's physical church?

1.

2.

3.

How can we work towards building God's family?

1.

2.

3.

Three areas in which I will commit myself to in building God's house are:

1.

2.

3.

What are the hindrances that you face which may prevent you from building God's house?

1.

2.

3.