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How the Temple came to be built where it was. 1 Chronicles 21
How the Temple came to be built on Mount Moriah
1 Chronicles 21

A couple of weeks ago we began a series in the Book of Chronicles.

-Chronicles is thought to have been written by the Ezra sometime after the Israelites returned to Israel after spending 70 years in captivity in Babylon
-Chronicles was written that the returned Jews might be encouraged and know that they had not been forgotten by God and that the promises of God made to their forefathers still belonged to them
-Chronicles begins in a most interesting fashion, starting with a 9 chapter genealogy that covers 3500 years of history. This chronology begins with Adam and goes to about the year 450 BC.
-The big emphasis of 1 Chronicles 1-9 involves tracing the line of David- to whom God made this promise "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me, your throne will be established forever" 2 Samuel 7:16
-The history of 1 Chronicles 1-9 belongs to us who are the followers of Christ- for it traces the history that leads to Jesus.

An interesting feature of Chronicles

Because of the purpose of Chronicles - which features the line of David most prominently (the line of promise leading to King Jesus), many of the sins of David are glossed over - i.e his sleeping with Bathsheba and then murdering her husband.

One sin of David that is not omitted, and which may at first seem trivial to us (but wasn't), was his numbering of the fighting men of Israel. This sin is detailed in 2 Kings 24 and in the passage we are going to consider this morning - 1 Chronicles 21.

In this chapter David sends out Joab (his top general- who was not normally a good guy) with this as his job description: Report back to me how many men we have who are capable of going to war. Joab objected, discerning such a thing to be wrong in the sight of God (for it smacked of pride and self sufficiency). David over ruled him and away Joab went. Nine months and 20 days later Joab returned with the answer.

For David's sin, God punished Israel- the result being that 70,000 men, within short order, died from a plague.

As mind boggling as the number 70,000 is- as it relates to David's sin- something incredibly good came out of the situation.

What good came from David's sin and the punishment of God upon him and the people?

The spot for the Temple of the Lord (which David for a long time was wanting to build) was revealed.


THE TEMPLE AND ITS IMPORTANCE

-The plans, building, organization, and dedication of the Temple consumes the 16 or so chapters of Chronicles (up to 2 Chronicles 8)
-The Temple became the centre for the worship of the Lord in Israel and for believers the world over
-The Temple was a big deal because it was dedicated as place of prayer for all nations
-In its time it was the most important building on earth-- for not only did God presence Himself there in a special way but it also was where the Ark of the Lord. More than that, the Temple became the sanctioned place for making ones sacrifices for sin (sacrifices which ultimately lead one to Christ and his once for all sacrifice for sin).

As the Temple was important, so too was its location- hence the account of 1 Chronicles 21 which tells us how the Temple came to be built where it was- Mount Moriah (the very same place where Abraham took Isaac in Genesis 18 and the same area where Christ was crucified).

READ TEXT

Note during reading these key phrases and statements

v.8 "I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."
v.13 "Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great"
v. 24 "I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing"
v.26 "He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering." This being reminiscent of when fire fell from heaven and consumed the offering that Elijah offered during the showdown between him and prophets of Baal. 1 Kings 18


LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, APPLICATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. Despite the slings and arrows of the skeptics you can trust your Bible

Various skeptics have a field day when it comes to comparing 1 Chronicles 21 with 2 Kings 24.

While both passages tell the same account, with different purposes in mind and details included, there are what appear to be some troubling discrepancies as it regards numbers used. Don't be troubled!

The variances people like to focus on

1. The number of soldiers recorded. 1.3 million versus 1.1 million
2. The amount paid for the property 50 shekels of silver versus 600 shekels of gold
3. The years of famine. 7 versus 3

As for the number of soldiers. The 1.3 million in 2 Kings might include the excluded Levites and Benjamites or it may be that the 1.3 included the active army plus the reserves. Either one, there's a reasonable explanation for the variance

As for the amount paid. The 50 shekels of silver in 2 Kings was for the threshing floor and the oxen. In 1 Chronicles the 600 shekels of gold was for the purchase of the entire area for the temple and its grounds. It's a reasonable explanation

As the number of years of famine. While the NIV and various other translation say 3 years of famine in 2 Kings 24, it the Septuagint version of the text it actually says 7. The Septuagint was a copy of the original and as such it's possible that a copyist made a copying error and put the number 7 by mistake. It's also possible that the the Israelites were in the midst of famine already. 2 Samuel 21:1 says; "During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years." It's possible that this famine plus the almost a year it took Joab to count the troops was part of the 7 years refenced in 2 Samuel 24. Either way, its a reasonable explanation

Conclusion:

Don't let your faith in the Bible and in Christ be shaken by skeptics and haters. You can trust your Bible. You can trust God. There is no reason to doubt.

Further: READ YOUR BIBLE AND BE A DOER OF IT


2. We have an enemy named Satan- who we must stand guard against and resist

"Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel" v.1

In John 10:10 Jesus says of Satan; "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;" Jesus then says of himself "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

In 1 Peter 5:8 it says of Satan; 'Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

For the first time in the Old Testament "Satan" is used as a personal name for the Devil.

In this case Satan tempts David. David took the bait and fell into sin, despite the protestation of a most unusual person (Joab- a very violent man- who in this passage shows himself to be righteous in comparison to David-- which in itself highlights how wicked a thing David had done)

Some thoughts and facts as it regards temptations

-Temptations come from the World, our own Flesh, and the Devil.
-While God tests us, God does not tempt anyone to sin. He is perfect and holy
-No temptation has seized us that is common to man and God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but will provide a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:31. i.e David did not heed the protestation of Joab.
-While Satan is our adversary and accuser, Jesus is our friend and advocate-- and for us who are in Christ, when we do sin, Jesus intercedes for us. 1 John 2:1-2

We have an enemy called Satan. He is real and yet he is also limited and a defeated foe.

Satan cannot act without God's permission. His evil intent is restricted by God and no matter what he does, God's holy and unalterable purposes are never frustrated.

Our call is the resist the Devil (for he will flee from us- James 4:7), to say no to temptation, to live according to the teachings of the Word of God. Our calling is to live holy lives, seeking to be like Christ.

3. We must guard our hearts against the sin of PRIDE AND SELF SUFFICIENCY

In Proverbs 16:18 it says; "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."

Thinking too highly of oneself is a big problem

Self sufficiency is related to pride and is the foolish notion that we don't need God, that we have the resources to do it ourself, that we can get by on what we have.

We must always be humble. We must always be looking to God for our daily supply. His wisdom and His provision is what we need.

All of what we have: money, strength, looks, ability, can be gone in a flash.

We must learn to depend on God and never rely upon our own strength. Our goal is to be Spirit led, Spirit directed, Spirit empowered people who give praise and thanks to God for what He does


4. The only solution to our sin is to REPENT AND SEEK THE FORGIVENESS AND MERCY OF GOD- ultimately and graciously found in Christ alone.

Because He loves us, because He's holy, because He's just and righteous, God disciplines us and punishes for sin. Such was David's experience for his pride and the spirit of self sufficiency.

What's most amazing about the punishment that David received was God's telling him to pick his punishment. I find that slightly overwhelming and totally concur with David who said in v.13 "I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands."

While there are always consequences for sin, we must never fail to seek God's forgiveness for them.

I'm glad that God doesn't routinely make us pick our punishment. I'm also glad that He does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10)

For us David sets a pattern of how to be right with God.

a. He confessed His sin
b. He took responsibility for his sin. He did not deny his guilt or pass the blame. He owned it as his sin.
c. He mourned over His sin
d. He sought the face and forgiveness of God

Note v.8 "I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."

When we break God's laws and commands the confession of our sin is important. "I have sinned. I have done wrong. I have acted wickedly."

We also need to have the right heart-- for God is not interested in mere words. We need to have penitent hearts. Hearts that are saddened. Hearts that are committed to change

Furthermore: The forgiveness of God must be sought. This forgiveness is available as it always has been-- by grace-- for forgiveness is not what we deserve and it cannot be earned.

This forgiveness is received in Christ and by his shed blood.

1 John 1:9 encourages us with these words "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."


Praise God: There is a solution for our sin and the judgment that we deserve; There can be forgiveness: Such is found the shed blood of Christ on the cross.

As David found forgiveness and grace, we can find it too-- in Jesus who died on the very same set of hills that David offered his sacrifice to God on.

5. Do not despair: God can bring good out of evil

1 Chronicles 21 is a text book example of God bringing good out of evil (also note how the evil actions of men resulted in Jesus' death but our salvation)

David did evil, God brought good out of it and in the mysterious fashion that often defines the working of God, the location for God's holy Temple and the most important place on Earth was revealed.

While the how of God bringing good out of evil remains a mystery it is a great truth to which you and I are to hold onto.

The question: "What good can or could ever come of this --- and you fill in the blank" is a question that only God can answer and He does in incredible fashion over and over again in Christ.

Such reminds me of the work of Christ so described in Isaiah 61:1-3 which says; "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.


The Key for us experiencing the miracle of God bringing good out of evil- our committing our way to Christ. Our waiting upon the Lord. Our seeking the mind and character of Christ.


CONCLUSION

Some important things to remember from today's lesson

1. Despite the slings and arrows of skeptics- you can trust your Bible. Keep in it!
2. We have an enemy named Satan- who we must stand guard against-- He is a defeated foe
3. We must guard our hearts against the sins of PRIDE and SELF SUFFICIENCY
4. The only solution to our sin is to REPENT and seek the FORGIVENESS and MERCY of God. God's mercy and grace is awesome!
5. Do not despair- God can bring good out of evil. Hold on to your faith. Wait upon the Lord.