Importance of someone’s last words:
1) "My first desire is that", said Alexander, "My physicians alone must" carry my coffin."
2) "Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury".
3) "My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin”.
He further explained his wishes as "I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt.” The lessons to be learnt from the last three wishes of King Alexander were that he wanted his physicians to carry his coffin so people would realise that no doctor on this earth can really cure anybody. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.
His second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the path to the graveyard was to tell people that not even a fraction of gold would go with him. He spent all his life in greed for Power, earning riches but could not take anything with me. He wanted to let people realise that it is a sheer waste of time to chase after wealth.
About his third wish of having his hands dangling out of the coffin, he wanted people to know that he came empty-handed into this world and empty-handed he went from this world.
At my father’s death bed I was able to have a long conversation with him. He spoke about something close to his heart. Most people, when give a chance to talk before they die do not waste their words, they talk about things that really matter, like:
what is really important to them
the sum of their life: regrets, what they should have or shouldn’t have done.
charge: they tell the listener what they should be doing
The passage that was read to us this morning were the last words of David, the sweet singer, the beloved king of Israel and the man after God’s own heart. Through his last words, David reveals what really captured his heart and mind in his life, his vision and mission. He did not see his vision being fulfilled in his life time, but throughout his life he lived on mission to see his vision come true.
As we study this portion my prayer is that we too would have right perspective about our life’s purpose, which is not a secret but it’s plain and simple: building the kingdom of God. I hope you and I would make our lives’ purpose to be like David’s, more importantly, like the son of David, Jesus’, to be Kingdom builders.
God’s covenant to build an everlasting kingdom
God chose us to build His kingdom
God commissioned us to proclaim His kingdom
I. God’s covenant to build an everlasting kingdom
A. David’s obsession with God’s presence
iDavid assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the jofficials of the tribes, the officers of the divisions that served the king, the kcommanders of thousands, the commanders of hundreds, the lstewards of all the property and livestock of the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mmighty men and all the seasoned warriors. 2 Then King David rose to his feet and said.
What we see here is that David is fin his old age. He was a mighty warrior. All the battles he fought, all the suffering he endured in his life must have taken a toll on his body and the way he looked. There was no strength left in David. He could not even keep himself warm, the scriptures say.
And yet, he stands to address the people he had assembled. He doesn’t have to, he is a king after all. But he chooses to stand, perhaps to address them not as their king but as one of them, as their brother. Such humility, and it also shows that what he was going to say was very dear and important to him.
What a historic day it must have been. Not only for David but also for all the people who were invited. They would have come, perhaps knowing that it would be the last time they would see and hear David. What was he going to say? They all gathered to hear David’s last words.
V2 “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the ofootstool of our God, and I made preparations for building.
In his last words, David was revealing his heart’s desire. It was to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant. All he was thinking before his death was the temple he wanted to build for the ark of the covenant. That was the sum of David’s life. That was his life’s mission and purpose.
What was the ark of the covenant?
The Ark was a wooden box in which the stone tablets with the 10 commandments were kept. Above the ark there were two cherubim facing each other stretching their wings towards heaven. It basically represented the throne of God. It was representing God’s presence here on earth. This ark was kept in the most holy place in the tabernacle, which was a tent.
The ark of the covenant had played an important role in their lives. Their existence and their identity as people of God was tied to the ark of the covenant. Before they had a king, God was their king. They would come to the ark of the covenant to consult with God for important matters. God was their king and he would rule his people from his throne which was the ark of the covenant.
When David became king, he tries to bring the ark to the city of David. But one of men who were carrying the ark stumbles and another man reaches out to hold the ark to stabilise it and the Lord struck him down.
That grieved David, and he cries “How can I bring the ark of God home to me?” For David, the ark was more than a wooden box with stone tablets and a religious symbol. No, for David it was personal. It was the house of God. The very place where God dwells and he wanted God’s dwelling place to be with him.
He wanted God’s presence and his rule in his life.
Finally, he brought the ark of the covenant to the city of David. This time, David takes utmost care as per the levitical law and appoints levites to carry the Ark and for every six steps the ark moved, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. Not only that, he danced with all his might as the ark was brought into Jerusalem.
There was something in David that desired him to seek God and his presence like no one else. Nothing else captured him the way God and his presence captured him.
His Psalm 84 talks about this desire.
How rlovely is your sdwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul tlongs, yes, ufaints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to vthe living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
wmy King and my God.
4 xBlessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever ysinging your praise!
We might feel jealous that someone is living in a posh gated society in a duplex house. We might feel jealous if someone is driving a fancy car. But look at him, David here is feeling jealous of a tiny bird that built a nest close to the altar of God in the tabernacle. He considers that bird to be blessed. He wanted the same for himself. He wanted God and his presence with him 24x 7x 365 as long as he lived.
The ark represented God’s kingdom here on earth for David and he wanted to build a permanent building for the ark. That was his life’s desire. He was obsessed with that desire. He was consumed with that passion. Perhaps he was thinking that a permanent magnificent God’s house would encourage his fellow men to seek God like he sought after him. So, he wanted to be a builder of God’s kingdom.
I must confess, I am not like David.
I do not seek God the way David sought him.
I do not honour him like David did,
I am not consumed with this mission of building the kingdom of God like David was.
David reminds all of us where our heart should be and what should be our life’s desire through his last words. There is something David did which made God call him a man after my own heart.
B. Rejection of David’s desire
3 But God said to me, p‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’
What?? David had such a God honouring desire and God rejected that? God had a different purpose for David, he was called to be a Warrior king and he was supposed to bring peace in Israel through his conquests. Preparing a way for the future.
Even though God rejects David’s desire to build the temple, he promises David to build his dynasty or David’s kingdom in 2 Sam 7.
12 mWhen your days are fulfilled and nyou lie down with your fathers, oI will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 pHe shall build a house for my name, and qI will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
God rejects David’s proposal but God blesses him with more than what he could ever imagine.
Our desires Vs God sovereign plan
There are certain lessons for us here. We always want to honour God in certain ways. But at times, God says ‘no, that’s not my plan for you.’ Sometimes, we get upset with God, ‘God I am full of talent in this particular area, but why are you asking me to do something else?’
God always has a better plan. His rejection is nothing but a door opened for fulfilling his plan.
We need to trust God. His plans are much better than ours. His plans have eternal scope. Our are limited and short-term.
God’s rejection did not disappoint David but inspired him to be part of it. We will see that in the next section
As long as his desire is fulfilled he was okay even if he was not in the limelight. For David, it’s all about God and his glory not about himself.
David was planning to build a temple but God was promising a dynasty or a kingdom that would last forever. God is making a covenant with David that he will BUILD A KINGDOM THAT WOULD LAST FOREVER. David wanted to be a temple builder, but God was telling him, ‘I am the Kingdom builder, David, and I will build it and it will endure forever and ever. And your son will reign over it. I have a plan that is not pertaining to a building near you. My vision is beyond your wildest dreams.’
C. Promise to build the church: the kingdom of God
Solomon finally built the temple. It stood there in all its glory for a few hundred years. Eventually, it was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. Now there is no temple. But more than the temple, God had promised a dynasty to David. His son will rule forever.
1000 years after David, from the line of David came Jesus, who claimed to be the personification of the tabernacle or the temple.
And he announces his kingdom through the Good news that God will forgive the sins of humanity through him. But his own people reject him and crucify him. The charge was put on the cross. “ the king of the Jews” He conquered death. Here was the son of David, who defeated death and lives forever. This king is building his kingdom, not with silver or gold, or precious stones but with people. Everyone who puts their faith and trust in him is part of this kingdom.
And he promises that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against the kingdom he is building. If David was so desirous to build a temple of God, which would’ve been made of stone and brick, how much more you and I should desire a kingdom that God is building which is of people and lasts forever.
You want to have a vision for your life? Have a vision to build the kingdom of God.
As we study further, we see that God chooses David’s son Solomon to build the temple. But God honours and blesses David’s desire much more than he could have ever imagined. God was making a covenant with David that he will be a builder of the kingdom that would last forever.
Today God is building that kingdom. Jesus Christ is the foundation of that kingdom. What God promised to David, is happening as we worshipped this morning. God kept his promise by helping Solomon build the temple. God will keep his promise of building His son’s kingdom, it will certainly happen.
Our God is a covenant making and Covenant keeping God.
II. God chose us to build His kingdom
3 But God said to me, p‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ 4 Yet the LORD God of Israel qchose me from all my father’s house to be king over Israel rforever. sFor he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father’s thouse, and among my father’s sons he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. 5 And of uall my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) he vhas chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 6 He said to me, ‘It is wSolomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
In vs.4, David reminds, not only his Son Solomon but also all the men who gathered to hear him, that His family was chosen by God for a very specific purpose. Look at the number of times he repeats that the God of Israel had chosen his family, him and now his son Solomon for a very specific purpose: to build the temple of God. A place of worship to God, which would shine the glory of God and spread the kingdom of God to the nations around.
For David, it was an incredible honour and privilege that God the creator of heaven and earth who brought them out of Egypt and…
David was not chosen by the authorities of the world but by God who made heaven and earth. David did not take that lightly. He dedicated his life’s purpose to align with the plan of God .
1. David provided everything:
God did not choose David to build the temple, but his son. But, David did not relax once he came to know that it was now Solomon’s responsibility. Instead, David did everything he could to provide for the construction of the temple. V11. onwards he gives the blueprints of the temple to his son, He also gives gold and silver for vessels of the temple. If you can think of a requirement for the temple, David had already thought about it and provided it. And we thought he was busy doing a secular job of winning wars.
No, he was doing that too, but parallel David had some other agenda in his life. He was doing everything a king required to do, but at the same time, he dedicated his life to accumulating what was needed to build the kingdom of God.
That is how much he cherished God for choosing him for His purposes.
2. God called us to be kingdom builders
From the movie 1917…
During World War I, two British soldiers -- Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake -- receive seemingly impossible orders. In a race against time, they must cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades -- including Blake's own brother.
The British empire carefully chooses two soldiers. One of whose brother is in the enemy territory and will go into battle next day. If Lance Cpl Blake fails, then along with 1600 soldiers his own brother would die too. The choosing here was not only intentional but also there was a greater purpose beyond family loyalty.
established them as a nation has chosen him.
My daughter was all excited when she was chosen as a class monitor. All the sportspersons talk proudly that they are chosen to represent the nation at the international event like olympics.
Just like God chose David’s family today he chooses each one of us to build his kingdom. He doesn’t need us to be the builders of his kingdom but in his sovereign grace, God is partnering with each one of us to build his kingdom.
John 15: 16 a
16 You did not choose me, but zI chose you and appointed you that you should go and abear fruit
9 But you are za chosen race, aa royal bpriesthood, ca holy nation, da people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you eout of darkness into fhis marvelous light.
How are we proclaiming the good news to the people around us. Where the kingdom of God is proclaimed, there people would walk from death to life.
Do we have a heart like lance Crpl. Blake that if we ignore our calling there will be consequences?
God did not chose us to build our own kingdoms here on earth and accumulate wealth for ourselves and our children and the generations to come. He chose us to use every resource and blessing we have received from him to build his kingdom.
Perhaps this morning we need to examine our hearts. How are we doing when it comes to the mission of God?
Often times, our Christian life is all about us. We are obsessed with self. I need to be fed spiritually, I need to be taken care of, I am going through difficult times, My life is hopeless, my future is bleak.
Even though David was not the one, he did everything he could to build the temple of God.
What are we doing today to build the kingdom of God?
How is God’s choosing us reflecting in the way we are living today?
Which dynasty are we building? God’s or ours?
God did not choose us to be self focused, but kingdom focused. It’s not about us, but it is all about His kingdom and his rule.
God not only promised that he will build a kingdom that would last forever but he also chose each one of us to be kingdom builders.
III. God commissioned us to proclaim His kingdom
A. Call to be rooted in the word
The call for the nation to be rooted in the word
8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever.
David was passing on the baton to the next generation. He knew what kind of project he was asking them to accomplish. He knew very well the human heart and its deceptions and selfishness. So, he charges not only his son but also the entire nation to observe and seek the commands of God.
Missions happen out of a deep conviction which God alone can bring, when we have a personal relationship with him, when we learn to cherish his commands. Otherwise, it is a burden and a job to be done. It will be a duty.
The call to his son Solomon to be rooted in the word
9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a ywhole heart and with a willing mind, zfor the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. aIf you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Be careful now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; bbe strong and do it.”
David’s call to his son was to know the Lord. It’s not the way you and I use the word I know. But here ‘know’ means how a husband knows his wife and a wife knows her husband. It’s an intimate personal relationship.
You can’t fool God. He knows your heart and your motives. But if we seek him with a sincere and upright heart he will reveal himself. Whatever beats in his heart would beat in our hearts too. We will be completely and perfectly aligned to his will. If we align with God like that, then the mission of God to build his kingdom would not be a burden or a thing to be done. But it will be a natural outcome of our relationship with God.
If you ever wonder why you are unable to talk about God, it’s a fear of course but more than that it speaks volumes about how much we know God and how we seek him.
Finally, David encourages his son with a promise. That God would be with him in his mission of building his kingdom.
B. He will be with us
20 Then David said to Solomon his son, m“Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished
This sounds exactly the same as Moses commissioned Joshua before conquering the promised land in Joshua 1:6. The giants were living in the land, powerful enemies out there. But seek God and his commands and you will prosper and conquer the land, because God is with you wherever you go. They conquered the promised land, because God was with them.
David’s final words to his son Solomon were asking him to be strong and courageous in doing what God was asking him to do. And Solomon could do it because God was with him. He would not leave him nor forsake him. Just as God promised, Solomon went on to build the temple.
C. God commissioned us to build the kingdom
Just like David encouraged his son that God would be with him and charged him to finish building the temple, we see a similar thing in Mat 28.
h“All authority iin heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 jGo therefore and kmake disciples of lall nations, jbaptizing them min2 nthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them oto observe all that pI have commanded you. And behold, qI am with you always, to rthe end of the age.”
If you love me you will obey my commandments. Jesus says.
Those are the last words of Jesus, recorded in scripture before his ascension, not only to his disciples but also for all of us. Again these are not the last words of a dying man but the last words of a king who conquered death. So, now he is charging all of us like David charged his son Solomon. Go therefore and preach the Gospel and build my kingdom.
God was with Israel when they conquered the promised land.
God was with Solomon and he did build the temple.
The same God who was with Solomon and who raised Jesus from the dead is with us today. We have nothing to be afraid of. We can trust God when he says I will be with you always. He will be with us always.
Let’s not shrink back from proclaiming the kingdom of God. May it be our life’s mission. Let’s build his kingdom and also continue to inspire the next generation and charge them, like David did, to be builders of the kingdom of God.
We as a church need to be thinking what is next for us. God called us to this city. God established our church in this city. God built us a place to meet. God is sustaining us even through these terrible days.
Our prayer for all of us is that we become kingdom oriented. That our lifestyles would be like David’s, on a mission for God 24 x7. And that we would become Kingdom Builders.
We will not be just a brick in the kingdom of God but an organic being which grows and continues to gather many more people to be part of the kingdom of God.
As we embark on this Journey, let us remember the promise, God is with us.