Bible Reading Psalm 24:1-6
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation. Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. (NRSV)
Message 1 Chronicles 29:10-20, Psalm 89:1-2, 5-8,11-12a,13-15 It is All His”
INTRO: Some people wonder why we pray the Lord’s prayer. When our culture is quick to dismiss the existence of God and at the same time blame him for every bad thing in the world; why do we hold God’s name as intimately loving, yet powerfully beyond us and sacred? They wonder, when our world is busy building its own castles of achievement, why we are so concerned about his kingdom coming. They wonder, when the popular philosophy is that happiness comes through self (even selfish) fulfillment, why are we calling for God’s will to be done here on earth like it is there (in heaven)? They wonder, when there seems to be so much unanswered need in the world, how we can trust him for our daily provision. When denial and aggressive counterattack is the first defense against failure, and the second, when caught red-handed, is a strategically timed insincere apology, some may wonder why we strive to humble ourselves, admit our failures and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. And when the norm is holding on to grudges and the pursuit of getting even, some wonder why we strive to offer grace and let go of our wounds. And when our culture applauds doing what feels good in the moment, they might wonder why we exercise self-discipline in order resist or flee urges to do things that the culture would say “comes naturally”. We do all these things because
L: Jesus taught us to pray
P: For thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.
Actually, this “doxology” is not in Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer, or in the earliest records of Matthew’s version. And yet it does a wonderful job of pulling the prayer together into a neat bow, beginning and ending with honoring God. It also answers the question of why we pray the prayer in the first place. In the Children’s Time on the first day of this series, Debbie said this was a model prayer. That means we can pray it literally, (as long as we pray it earnestly;
Prayer as a Guide for 1) What to pray 2) How to pray 3) Call to living
or we can use it as an exemplary guide to (1) the kind of items for which we should be praying, (2) The attitudes with which we should be praying it, (3) and as a reminder that spurs us on to the Christian way of living, for each item is also a call for us to do something about which we pray.
These final words are based on a prayer from David in a critical time in the history of Israel. King Saul was a natural leader who was possessed by his own position and power. He became so jealous of David that he tried to assassinate him. When David did eventually take the throne, he expanded the nation’s geography and economy to a golden age that the nation has not seen before or since. He was such a great king that when they said the Messiah would come in the line of David, I suspect is was not only about -- blood lineage, but about a hope for the kind of king God’s chosen would be.
King Saul embodied all the worldly values I listed that cause people to question why we pray the prayer. Right on his heels we have the greatest king Israel has ever known as a counterpoint that valued every phrase of the prayer. Now David is about to hand over his reign to his young, inexperienced (David’s words (1 Chronicles 29:1)) son Solomon. In a theocracy, everything depended upon the ability of the king and the king alone, and on his willingness to listen and follow God’s instruction through his true prophets. The people must have been filled with nerve-wracking questions about their future in this transition of power.
They did know the next major step for their nation was to build a temple for God. It was the deepest desire of David’s heart, but God was leaving the task to his son.
On the day of transition David gathered all the leaders together. He paves the way for the Temple by giving staggering amounts of his personal treasure. (1 Chronicles 29:2ff)
Prized Possession “In my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my
personal treasures” (1 Chronicles 29:3 (NIV))
The original word is the same word God uses when he speaks of his people as his own prized possession. Ancient eastern monarchs stored treasures as a security against times of political hardship or disaster. David's gift is more than a gesture of great generosity out of his comfortable excess. He was giving up his guarantee of personal security.
At the Camp Michigamme Day worship service, District Superintendent Scott Harmon spoke on Jesus’ encounter with the rich ruler in Mark 10:17ff. The ruler had done well in keeping all the commandments. What more must he do to inherit eternal life? The Message says, “Jesus looked him hard in the eye – and loved him” [Jesus loves an unconditional love – no strings attached – Jesus meets people where they are and then moves them from there.] But the look revealed something else to Jesus who said, “There’s one thing left” and as The New American Standard Bible puts it – “Go and sell all you possess…”
Reorientation of Identity
That last word, while including things he owned, reached the ruler on a deeper level. Jesus was talking about his reputation, his security, his image, his appearance, his identity. The man went away sad because he was not willing to re-orient his life around following Jesus and his ways. He was not willing to let go of what possessed him. We cannot be God’s treasured possession if we possess ourselves – with other things.
In an age when many people store vast amounts to safeguard their future, David took a stance (as someone put it) of voluntary vulnerability – for the sake of building God’s house. Jesus did the same when he left all the riches of heaven to come to us in a humble human life to live among us.
Michigamme Camp Director Erica says the theme word in all camps this year is the word “Worthy”. All of us -- just as we are -- are valued and loved and treasured by God. We can find our identity in him in ways that we will never find in any other temporary security. In whatever form or avenue it may be expressed, our commitment to God comes from the core of our existence.
Great Giving and Great Joy Go Together
“The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders,
for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.
David the king also rejoiced greatly.” (1 Chronicles 29:9 (NIV))
David gives, then challenges the leaders of the nation to do the same, and they too gave a tremendous amount. The people rejoiced at the response because the leaders gave freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. Note that the focus in this text is not on the amount given, or the type of giving, or even the potential impact of the gift. The focus is on the extent of the willing and joyful commitment to which the people poured their lives into God’s mission.
They didn’t do it to get something from God. They did it because they truly and unconditionally loved God and were thankful for the opportunity to give and to serve him with their treasure, their time, and their talents -- because of who God is and what he had done.
The Old Testament sees relationship with God as a joyful privilege and everything flows from that. True happiness cannot be found in the momentary exhilaration of self-gratification. We are most capable of joy when we can find ways to give ourselves to something greater – something that will make our world a better place for others and ourselves…
The immensely accomplished David stands in front of all these admiring people. You’d think his day of his retirement it should have been all about him.
David prays. Like in the Lord’s prayer, the first thing said makes sure everyone knows it is not about us. It is not about the nation, not even about Temple they are about to build, not about rituals or traditions, nor is it even about his son who is taking the throne. It is all about God himself.
It is all His
“Yours Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”
(1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
Powerful, praiseworthy, possession
In the triad of power, glory and kingdom, we see what most people crave – to be secure and have influence, to be appreciated for their impact, and to have control and rule over life.
Who are we?
David had more right to claim this triad than anyone, and yet he said every last bit of it belongs to God. David drives this point home as his prayer continues, “who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you. (1 Chronicles 29:14)
The wealth that would fill most people with a sense of pride and power drives David to humbly recognize that, at best; all they were doing was giving back to God what God had graciously granted them to receive in the first place. It is all his before we had it, It is all his while we have it, it
Foreigners and strangers
is all his as we use it…
David adds that
“we are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors.” (1 Chronicles 29:15)
– a phrase typically used of outsiders who had no rights or claims. God instructed the nation to welcome them because at one time they were the wandering foreigners in need of a home. When David uses this phrase about themselves, he is recognizing their history, but also that it is still God who owns everything, and it is only by God’s permission that they are allowed to live and dwell and prosper and have any rights.
In a day of transition between kings, in a day when the glory of the nation has reached its peak, in a day when the cause of the faith seems lost in a world which enthrones only human efforts, David’s prayer (and the Lord’s prayer) assures us that God is still the king of all, that he desires to welcome us into a relationship with him and he invites us to come before him in humility, thankfulness, obedience, generosity, and especially joy.
Managing a life of worship
… keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands (1 Chronicles 29:18b-19)
And with that assurance, David concludes his prayer by turning to the future, asking that God would sustain in the hearts of the people their desire to be generous, joyful, and willing servants; and to give the new leader wholehearted devotion to keep God’s ways.
If God owns all, we will surrender the control of personal power, glory, and rule; and see ourselves as managers of our lives that already belong to him, and whatever we are building in our life is not for us but for him. And If we want to manage our lives well, we will recognize that God is in the center of everything good that is accomplished, be it at school, work, church, or with relationships, and so we will seek to discover his will so that we can know how to use the time, talent, energy, ability, and material resources he has given us to benefit his purposes.
As we build our lives for God, it is not to manipulate blessings out of God, but is our unconditional love and grateful joy-filled worship of him in whom we live and move and have our being – for the opportunity he gives us to live and love and become.
We are going to pray. As we do, let it begin a meditation that moves through the days ahead about what it may mean for us to pray the prayer and realize God owns all, and how we might manage our lives according to the Lord’s prayer, according to the wishes of the one who owns everything. What might we do different? with what attitude changes? This closing prayer is drawn from the listed text from Psalm 89, Contemporary English Version… Let’s pray.
Closing Prayer Our Lord, I will sing of your love forever. Everyone yet to be born will hear me praise your faithfulness. I will tell them, “God’s love can always be trusted, and his faithfulness lasts as long as the heavens.” You are Lord God All-Powerful! No one is as loving and faithful as you are. The heavens and the earth belong to you. And so does the world with all its people because you created them and everything else. You are strong and mighty! Your kingdom is ruled by justice and fairness with love and faithfulness leading the way. Our Lord, you bless those who join in the festival and walk in the brightness of your presence. (CEV) Amen. (Psalm 89:1-2, 8, 11-12a,13-15)
Now go in the name of the God who does not withhold his love, but faithfully listens to the prayers of those who reverently worship him. Amen.
Closing Hymn # 354 (vv 1,2,4) I Surrender All