June 4, 2006 – June 10, 2006
“Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:12, 13.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 750–753.
“The house where God is worshiped should be in accordance with His character and majesty. There are small churches that ever will be small because they place their own interests above the interests of God’s cause. While they have large, convenient houses for themselves, and are constantly improving their premises, they are content to have a most unsuitable place for the worship of God, where His holy presence is to dwell. They wonder that Joseph and Mary were obliged to find shelter in a stable, and that there the Saviour was born; but they are willing to expend upon themselves a large part of their means, while the house of worship is shamefully neglected. How often they say: ‘The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’ [Haggai 1:2.] But the word of the Lord to them is: ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?’ [Verse 4.]
“The house where Jesus is to meet with His people should be neat and attractive. If there are but few believers in a place, put up a neat but humble house, and by dedicating it to God invite Jesus to come as your guest. How does He look upon His people when they have every convenience that heart could wish, but are willing to meet for His worship in a barn, some miserable, out-of-the-way building, or some cheap, forsaken apartment? You work for your friends, you expend means to make everything around them as attractive as possible; but Jesus, the One who gave everything for you, even His precious life,—He who is the Majesty of heaven, the King of kings and Lord of lords,—is favored with a place on earth but little better than the stable which was His first home. Shall we not look at these things as God looks at them? Shall we not test our motives and see what kind of faith we possess?
“ ‘God loveth a cheerful giver,’ [11 Corinthians 9:7] and those who love Him will give freely and cheerfully when by so doing they can advance His cause and promote His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 268, 269.
“The glory of the first temple, the splendor of its service, could not recommend them [the Israelites] to God; for that which is alone of value in His sight, they did not offer. They did not bring Him the sacrifice of a humble and contrite spirit.” Prophets and Kings, 565.
1 With what reception did David meet when he went to make his sacrifice, the atonement for his sin against God of following customs of the surrounding heathen nations? 11 Samuel 24:20–23.
note: “The threshing-floor of Araunah is offered him freely, where to build an altar unto the Lord; also cattle, and everything needful for the sacrifice.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.
2 How did David respond to Araunah’s offer? 11 Samuel 24:24.
note: “David tells him who would make this generous offering, that the Lord will accept the sacrifice which he is willing to make, but that he would not come before the Lord with an offering which cost him nothing. He would buy it of him for full price. He offered there burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.
3 How did God accept David’s offering? 11 Samuel 24:25.
note: “God accepted the offerings by answering David in sending fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. The angel of the Lord was commanded to put his sword into his sheath, and cease his work of destruction.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.
4 What important lesson may be drawn from David’s experience? Consider Mark 12:41–44; Acts 5:1–5.
note: “If all were devoted to God, a precious light would shine forth from them, which would have a direct influence upon all who are brought in contact with them. But all need a work done for them. Some are far from God, variable and unstable as water. Some have no idea of sacrifice. When they desire any pleasure, or any article of dress, or any special indulgence, they do not consider whether they can do without the article, or deny themselves of the pleasure, and make a freewill offering to God. How many have considered that they were required to make some sacrifice? Although it may be of less value than that of the wealthy man in possession of his thousands, yet that which really costs self-denial would be a precious sacrifice, and an offering to God. . . .
“Your stinted offerings are brought to God almost unwillingly, while in self-gratification means are spent lavishly. How much of the wages earned finds its way into the treasury of God to aid in the advancement of his work in saving souls? They [the youth] give a mite each week, and feel that they do much. But they have no sense that they are each stewards of God over their little, as are the wealthy over their larger possession. God has been robbed, and themselves indulged, their pleasures consulted, their tastes gratified, without a thought that God would make close investigation of how they have used their Lord’s goods. While they unhesitatingly gratify their supposed wants (which are not wants in reality), and withhold from God the offering they ought to make, he will no more accept the little pittance they hand in to the treasury than he accepted the offering of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who purposed to rob God in their offerings.” Review and Herald, August 10, 1886.
5 What did David do after he was forbidden to build the temple? 1 Chronicles 29:1–3.
note: “The first temple had been erected during the most prosperous period of Israel’s history. Vast stores of treasure for this purpose had been collected by King David, and the plans for its construction were made by divine inspiration. 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19. Solomon, the wisest of Israel’s monarchs, had completed the work. This temple was the most magnificent building which the world ever saw.” The Great Controversy, 23.
6 What did King David ask of the others? 1 Chronicles 29:5, last part.
note: “David’s exhortation to Solomon, and his appeal to the burden-bearers of the nation, should be kept in mind by those who are in positions of trust in the Lord’s cause today. In this our day God’s people will prosper only so long as they keep His precepts; and those who bear responsibilities are called upon to consecrate their service to the Lord. . . . Laborers in the field at home and abroad,—all are to render faithful service by using their talents wholly for God. The Lord is not pleased with half-hearted service. To Him we owe all that we have and are.” Review and Herald, September 14, 1905.
7 What effect did David’s call for consecrated service have on the leading men in Israel? How did the people show their interest? 1 Chronicles 29:6–8.
note: “With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 752, 753.
“The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle and the erection of the temple illustrates a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by Christians of any later date. They had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt and were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses, saying: ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering.’ [Exodus 25:2.]
“His people had small possessions and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them—to build a tabernacle for God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey His voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord, and pleased Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender His own?
“No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required, and were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated. Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly. They rejoiced in the prospect of a building being erected for the worship of God, and donated more than enough for the purpose.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 77, 78.
8 How were the people affected by their actions? 1 Chronicles 29:9.
note: “David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love could realize that their silver and gold are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that He has lent His creatures. All that they possess is His.
“There are high and holy objects that require means, and money thus invested will yield to the giver more elevated and permanent enjoyment than if it were expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to Him and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth cannot corrupt, that fire cannot consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes; it is secure.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 78, 79.
9 Whom did David acknowledge as the real owner of all the gifts that they had made? 1 Chronicles 29:14–16.
note: “David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king’s efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.
10 What was the design of God’s providence in bringing about circumstances where means were required of the people to build God’s house? 1 Chronicles 29:17.
note: “All that man receives of God’s bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them—to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.’ [1 Chronicles 29:14.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.