A sacred box called the ark of the covenant represented the presence of God to Israel. The ark rested in the tabernacle—a tent erected as a meeting place for God and Israel. But David’s spiritual devotion deemed it unacceptable that the Lord’s holy presence did not have a permanent dwelling place. He desired to build a temple for God. But the Lord would not allow David to build a house for him, because David was a man of war who had shed blood.
The Lord did make several gracious concessions, however. God approved the building of the temple and revealed to David the detailed plans for its construction. Likewise, God chose Solomon, David’s son and heir to the throne, to build the temple. Then the Lord graciously allowed David to lead the offering to secure the resources Solomon would need to build the temple.
The people and the leaders responded with generosity. First Chronicles 29:1–9 records the offering given by David, his leaders, and the people of Israel for the temple project. It is estimated that they collected some 375 tons of gold, silver, and precious stones for the temple. It must have been a remarkable scene. The chronicler reports, “Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly” (v. 9).
In response to this generous offering, David prayed a prayer that is even more remarkable than the offering that prompted it, because it reveals the theological convictions that led to the generous offering. His prayer teaches us a generous hand flows from a godly heart.
One day a mother sent her teenaged son down to the florist to pick up some flowers for the dinner table. He obeyed. But he didn’t like it. He did not want his friends to see him. Without a doubt, they would make fun of him and his flowers. But not too long after this, the young man fell in love with a beautiful young lady who stole his heart. And he returned to that same florist’s shop to buy a bouquet for the object of his affection. This time, however, he carried the flowers down the street with great pride and joy. The teen did not care who saw him or what they would think and say. He was just thinking of the love of his life and of how happy she would be to get the flowers and how happy he was to be the one to bring them to her.
In the same way, how you manage your money expresses your devotion to God. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21). You cannot give willingly, regularly, proportionally, sacrificially, and joyfully without a proper perspective on God, yourself, and your material possessions.
H. B. Charles Jr., It Happens after Prayer: Biblical Motivation for Believing Prayer (Chicago, IL: Lift Every Voice, 2013).
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