1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17
37 So David left Asaph and his brothers at the covenant chest of the Eternal to serve it continually, performing the daily rituals. 38 Obed-edom and the 68 brothers served, with Obed-edom (son of Jeduthun) and Hosah as the gatekeepers.
39 Zadok (the priest) and his fellow priests lived before the congregation tent of the Eternal in the high place at Gibeon 40 to burn offerings continually to Him upon the altar in the morning and evening, as God had commanded Israel. 41-42 With them were Heman, Jeduthun, and the rest of those who are chosen and recorded here who gave testimony about the Eternal, whose loyal love never ends, using clarions, cymbals, other instruments, and songs. The sons of Jeduthun were assigned to be gatekeepers at Gibeon. 43 Once the congregation tent was prepared, all the people returned to their homes, and David returned to bless his own house.
After David moves the covenant chest to Jerusalem, Israel has two places of worship and two high priests. One is with the chest in Jerusalem, and the other is at the congregation tent in Gibeon. Although David intends to build a temple in Jerusalem and reunite the covenant chest and the congregation tent, that one worship center will not be built until his son, Solomon, is king.
17 Once David had sat in his palace, he made an observation.
David (to Nathan the prophet): I live in a sturdy house made of expensive, imported cedar, but the covenant chest of the Eternal lives in a temporary house made of curtains. This does not seem right.
Nathan: 2 If you want to build God a house, then do it. God is with you.
3 Later that night, God came to Nathan and corrected his thinking.
Eternal One: 4 Go and tell My servant David the Eternal One says: You may not build a house for Me to live in; 5 I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought Israel out of Egypt until today. I have always moved from tent to tent, from one home to another. 6 In all these places where I have walked with Israel, did I ever ask any of the judges I commanded to shepherd Israel, “Why have you not built for Me an expensive house of cedar?”
7 I, the Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies, pledge this: I moved you from the pasture, where you followed behind sheep, to the palace, where you now lead My sheep, Israel. 8 I have accompanied you wherever you have gone and have destroyed your enemies from before you. I will exalt your name to the level of the great ones who are on the earth. 9 I will select a land for My people Israel; I will plant them so they may live in their own land and not be moved again. The wicked will not exhaust them anymore, as they did from the beginning 10 and as when I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. I will humble all your enemies. I, the Eternal One, will build a house for you, instead of you building a house for Me. 11-12 At the end of your life, when your reign on earth is complete and you have joined your ancestors, I shall select one of your sons in your place, and I shall build his house. In return, he will build a house for Me, a temple where I shall dwell and where your people will worship Me. And I will establish his throne forever. 13 I shall be his Father, and he will be My son. I shall not take My loyal love from him as I took it from Saul who reigned before you. 14 I shall establish him in My temple and in My kingdom forever. His throne will last forever.
God is clever! David comes to Him, asking to build Him a house, but God turns it around on the king. God uses the opportunity to talk about something more important than a house with four walls; instead, He wants to talk about David’s house—David’s monarchy. This promise gives the Jews the inspiration they need as they rebuild the temple. Certainly buildings are fleeting, for even Solomon’s glorious temple that David draws the plans for is destroyed. But God’s promise remains. David’s descendants continue to lead His people, just as He has led the Jews back from Babylon.
15 Nathan told David exactly what the Eternal said through this vision. 16 Then King David sat before the Eternal.
David: Why have You, Eternal God, brought someone as lowly as me and my family to such a prominent place? 17 This promise was a small thing to You, O God; but it ensures the stability of my house for a long time and reveals to me future generations while regarding me as a man of importance, and their importance to You, Eternal God. 18 How else can I thank you? For You have honored Your servant, and you have come to know Your servant. 19 Eternal, for my sake and according to Your desire, You have orchestrated all this greatness and revealed all these great things. 20 Eternal, there is none like You; for all we have heard no other god exists who has revealed such things. 21 No other nation on the earth is like Your people Israel. You redeemed us to be Your people, to make Your name great by Your powerful deeds—driving out nations from before us, whom You redeemed out of Egypt. 22 You made us Your own people forever; and You, Eternal One, became our God forever. 23 Eternal, may Your promise last forever, and may You do as You have spoken over your servant and his house. 24 May Your name be established and magnified forever: “The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, God of Israel, is Israel’s God; and the house of Your servant David is established before You.” 25 You, my God, have revealed Your intention to establish my kingdom; therefore, I have the courage to pray before You. 26 Now, Eternal, You are God and have promised this good thing to Your servant. 27 You are pleased to bless the house of Your servant; may Your pleasure continue forever. For You, Eternal, have blessed and will bless forever.
18 After God blessed David’s monarchy, King David conquered the Philistines—defeating them and seizing their capital city of Gath and its towns.
2 He defeated the Moabites, who were his relatives through his ancestor Ruth, and the Moabites served David and brought him tribute.
3 He defeated Hadadezer (king of Zobah) as far as Hamath in Aram, extending the borders of Israel to the Euphrates River. 4 From Hadadezer David seized 1,000 chariots, 7,000 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. He cut the leg muscles of all the chariot horses, reserving only 100 for future use with the chariots. 5 When the armies of Damascus in Aram came to help their kinsman Hadadezer, David killed 22,000 Arameans. 6 Then David built garrisons in Damascus, and the Arameans served him and brought him tribute. The Eternal helped David, ensuring his victory, wherever he went. 7 David seized the golden shields from the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 He seized large quantities of bronze from Hadadezer’s cities of Tibhath and Cun (which Solomon later used to cast the bronze basin, pillars, and utensils for the temple). 9 When Tou (king of Hamath in Aram) heard that David had defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah, 10 he was overjoyed since he had been fighting with Hadadezer himself. Tou sent his son, Hadoram, to King David to greet him and to bless him with gold, silver, and bronze, for David had fought Hadadezer and had won the victory. 11 King David then dedicated these gifts to the Eternal along with the silver and gold he had seized from these nations: Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek.
These weren’t just any surrounding nations; these nations each have long histories as adversaries of Israel. Edom, descended from Jacob’s older brother Esau, lost any chance of being God’s chosen people when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for stew. Moab and Ammon were formed by the descendants of an incestuous relationship between Abraham’s nephew Lot and Lot’s daughters. The Philistines, although not related to the Israelites, were frequent enemies whose military prowess threatened Israelite tribes on many occasions. And the Amalekites, also descended from Esau, were almost constant enemies of the Israelites, employing ruthless tactics in their war mongering. By subduing these nations, David not only secures the safety of Israel, but he reaffirms God’s selection of Israel as His people over all the other nations in the land.
12 One of David’s chiefs, Abishai (son of Zeruiah), defeated 18,000 Edomites in the valley of Salt. 13 He built garrisons in Edom, and all the people of that nation served David. The Eternal helped David wherever he went.
14 David was a just and righteous ruler over all Israel—over his people and the lands he conquered. 15 Joab (son of Zeruiah) led the army; Jehoshaphat (son of Ahilud) was the recorder; 16 Zadok (son of Ahitub) and Abimelech (son of Abiathar) were priests; Shavsha was secretary; 17 Benaiah (son of Jehoiada) governed the Cherethites and the Pelethites. David’s own sons were his trusted chiefs giving him advice.
Paul sounds a sober warning. God’s wrath is here; it is not some far-off future event. Paul says that God’s wrath is already at work in the world in what is effectively God’s “hands-off” policy. God, he says, steps aside and gives us over to idolatry, sexual sins, and depraved minds. Human sin and depravity are both its cause and effect. You see, we are not only punished for our sins, but we are punished by our sins. If God’s salvation consists essentially of His presence with us, then His wrath consists of His absence or separation from us. The bad news is this: God’s wrath is real. Without the good news of Jesus, no hope exists.
2 So you can see there are no excuses for any of us. If your eyes shift their focus from yourselves to others—to judge how they are doing—you have already condemned yourselves! You don’t realize that you are pointing your fingers at others for the exact things you do as well. 2 There’s no doubt that the judgment of God will justly fall upon hypocrites who practice such things. 3 Here’s what is happening: you attack and criticize others and then turn around to commit the same offenses yourselves! Do you think you will somehow dodge God’s judgment? 4 Do you take the kindness of God for granted? Do you see His patience and tolerance as signs that He is a pushover when it comes to sin? How could you not know that His kindness is guiding our hearts to turn away from distractions and habitual sin to walk a new path?[a]
5 But because your heart is obstinate and shameless, you’re storing up wrath that will count against you. On the day of His choosing, God’s wrath and judgment will be unleashed to make things right. 6 As it goes, everyone will receive what his actions in life have cultivated. 7 Whoever has labored diligently and patiently to do what is right—seeking glory, honor, and immortality—God will grant him endless joy in life eternal. 8 But selfish individuals who make trouble, resist the truth, or sell out to wickedness will meet a very different fate—they will find fury and indignation as the fruit of living in the wrong. 9 Suffering and pain await everyone whose life is marked by evil living (first for the Jew, and next for the non-Jew). 10 But if you do what is right, you will receive glory, admiration, and peace (again, first for the Jew, then for the non-Jew). 11 God has no favorites.
12 If one lives life without knowledge of the law—the teachings of the Torah—he will sin and die apart from the law. If someone else lives life under the law, his sin will be judged by what the law teaches. 13 Here’s my point: just because a person hears the law read or recited does not mean he is right before the one True God; it is following the law that makes one right, not just hearing it. 14-15 For instance, some outsiders who are not required to follow the law often live quite naturally by its teachings. Even though the law wasn’t given to them, in themselves they have the law. Here’s the thing: their lives demonstrate that God has inscribed the law’s teachings on their hearts. On judgment day, their consciences will testify for them, and their thoughts will both accuse and defend them. 16 This good news given to me declares that this affirmation and accusation will take place on that day when God, through Jesus, the Anointed One, judges every person’s life secrets.
17 Listen, if you claim to be a Jew, count on the law, and boast in your relationship with God; 18 if you know His will and can determine what is essential (because you have been instructed in the law); and 19 if you stand convinced that you are chosen to be a guide to the blind, a light to those who live in darkness, 20 a teacher of foolish wanderers and children, and have in the law what is essentially the form of knowledge and truth— 21 then tell me, why don’t you practice what you preach? If you are going to sermonize against stealing, then stop stealing. 22 If you are going to teach others not to commit adultery, then be completely faithful to your spouse. If you hate idolatry, then stop robbing the temples! 23 If you pride yourself in having God’s law, then stop dishonoring God by failing to keep its teaching. 24 Here’s what it says: “Because of you, God’s reputation is slandered by those outside the covenant.”[b]
16 The Eternal will reign as King forever.
The other nations will be swept off His land.
17 O Eternal One, You have heard the longings of the poor and lowly.
You will strengthen them; You who are of heaven will hear them,
18 Vindicating the orphan and the oppressed
so that men who are of the earth will terrify them no more.
8 Whoever gains a wise heart loves his own soul,
and whoever preserves understanding experiences true goodness.
9 A false witness will not escape punishment,
and whoever breathes lies will not survive.