Message #4 in the “Honor Series,” originally preached March 11, 2012
Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Retired Pastor
TODAY’S SPECIAL: “A ‘Drive Funny’“
A teenager who had just received her learner’s permit offered to drive her parents to church. After a hair-raising ride, they finally reached their destination.
When the mother got out of the car she said emphatically, “Thank you!”
“Anytime,” her daughter replied with a smile.
As her mother headed for the church door, she said, “I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to God.”
Today’s message continues our series on “honoring God”. We have learned that to “honor” means “to give the highest respect.” It could also be defined as “drawing attention to the one you love.”
Today we are going to look at two lives – David and his son, Solomon – both of whom are described at the start of their lives as men of “honor”. Let’s see what each of their lives of honor look like.
1. LIFE OF DAVID (1 Chronicles 29)
A. He sacrificed (vs. 1-5a)
David’s heart’s desire was to build a temple for the Lord – an house of worship for all Israel. The Lord had shown David that because he had been a man of war, he was not to build the temple. However, long before Solomon was even “thought of” (much less born!), God promised to David a son who would build the temple.
Although he could not build the temple, he could provide for it! And provide he did! Check out all that he gave from HIS OWN BELONGINGS! That was a sacrifice.
He recognized a tremendous Biblical principle: “you are not your own, for you were bought at a price…”. (1 Cor. 6:19b, 20a).
Am I holding on to ownership of anything the Lord has wonderfully giving me, or is He free to use all that I am and have for His glory?
B. He encouraged sacrifice (vs. 5b-9)
David asked (v. 5b), Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?”.
Isn’t that a funny question? Note that he DIDN’T say, “all right – you’ve seen how much I GAVE, let’s see how much YOU can give!”
David told his people, “who is WILLING TO CONSECRATE himself…to the LORD”. True giving comes first of all from a sacrificial spirit. David led by example, and as a result, his people – interestingly, the LEADERS first of all – were willing to follow.
Am I willing to follow? Am I first of all consecrated to the Lord?
C. He praised God (vs. 10-15)
Here comes the neat part. David gives 3 eternal principles which no doubt were the foundation for his life. And please note this: David is near the END of his life. Yet these principles were still his foundation, the roots of all he did:
PRINCIPLE #1: God is the Source, v. 12
“Both riches and HONOR come from YOU, and YOU reign over all”.
WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! Isn’t DAVID the KING???
But David recognized that, FIRST OF ALL, the Lord Himself is King, and all “HONOR” comes from Him!
That’s a good principle for our lives, too!
PRINCIPLE #2: We are His vessels, v. 14
I really like this line. David is praying. That’s right! After the leaders and he gave all that they gave, David leads his leaders in prayer. And one of the things he prays is, well, are you ready for it, could we pray it, are you sure you even WANT to think about praying like this? Well here goes:
“For all things come from YOU, and of YOUR own we have given YOU”.
“OF YOUR OWN” literally means, “OF YOUR HAND”.
What is David praying? He is telling God what God already knows: that EVERYTHING David and his leaders gave CAME FROM GOD in the first place! They all belonged to God! And all they were doing was acknowledging HIS ownership! They were returning to God what He both owned and gave to them for their stewardship! Wow!
Do I hold on to ownership of anything?
PRINCIPLE #3: Our lives are short, v. 15
In his prayer, David states, “our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope.” Earlier he says, “we are aliens and pilgrims before You”. Literally, we are sojourners and temporary residents.
Why, even one day the house David build will belong to someone else! Even the horse he bought will belong to someone else, or be buried. Why, even the clothes, the books, the STUFF he accumulated will either belong to someone else, or be in the fire for starter kindling.
If that is true of David, is that not only true of us!
PRINCIPLE #4: God is the chief end, v. 16
David prayed, “all this…is from Your hand, and is all Your own.”
Paul wrote, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the GLORY OF GOD.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
Our Presbyterian friends’ first creed is, “The chief end of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever.”
David understood that. Paul understood that.
D. He finished well, (v. 28)
A friend of mine once said, “I read the obituary page first thing every morning. And if I don’t see my name in it, I go ahead and shave!”
I LOVE obituaries! I have access to the web site of EVERY funeral home in our area!
OK – before you say “he’s gone off the deep end” (well, you MAY be right!) – listen to what the Chronicler says about how David finished:
“So he died in a good old age, full of days and riches and…HONOR.”
David lived well, and he died well. While the Scriptures are not silent to the struggles David had in his spiritual life, the Scriptures well sum up his entire 70 years: “he died full of HONOR”.
As per our definition, he gave the highest respected, he drew attention to the ONE HE LOVED.
I sure hope that at the end of my days that is said of me!
Wouldn’t you like that to be said of you?
2. LIFE OF SOLOMON (2 Chronicles 1; 1 Kings 11:41-43; 2 Chron. 9:29-31)
Solomon was now the new king of the combined kingdom of Israel and Judah.
At the start of his ministry as king, Solomon received a visit from the Lord. The Lord asked Solomon, “what can I give you?” And Solomon asked simply for wisdom.
Note the Lord’s response to the new King Solomon’s request:
“Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king—
wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and HONOR such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
(2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
Solomon’s new kingship began with…HONOR. How did he finish?
Scriptures give us the tenor of his life. In one sentence: God didn’t own him, but things and pleasures owned him.
He knew the testimony of his Dad’s life. He had watched it for the first 30 years of his own life. And he knew that when his dad David died, he did have a full life. And he did have riches. But most importantly, his life could be summarized with this: he lived a life of HONOR!
And what do the Scriptures say about Solomon?
“Solomon rested with his fathers [a fancy Biblical phrase which means, “he died and joined his ancestors”], and was buried…” (1 Kings 11:43; 2 Chron. 9:31”.
That’s nice. That’s what I often read in obituaries today. But what is missing?
He didn’t die a GOOD OLD AGE although both his father and he died at the same age, 70 years].
He didn’t die FULL OF DAYS AND RICHES.
And most importantly, he didn’t die FULL OF HONOR. In fact, the fact that it is not mentioned means he died WITHOUT HONOR!!!
What a sad commentary on a life that was given by God – and by his father, David – so much wisdom and instruction. Yet he threw it all away for…STUFF AND PLEASURE.
We all must ask ourselves: When our name appears in the obituary page of the paper, will it be said of us, “his was a life of HONOR?”
Such a summary statement of our lives can only be said based upon how we live our lives from this day forward. Let us each ask ourselves:
Is my life a life of sacrifice, or of accumulation?
Is my life a life of praise, or of self-gloating?
Is my life a life centered in God, His Word, and His people?
OR is my life a life lived ONLY for today?
Is my life a life of HONOR?
CLOSE IN PRAYER