Of Hand-Washing and Heart-Warming

It is a good habit to wash our hands before eating. But in the days of Jesus, the Pharisees strictly observed their tradition of washing their hands, their utensils etc before the meal. And they questioned and criticised Jesus and his disciples how come they did not observe this tradition. How did Jesus respond?

Matthew 15
3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’

Jesus criticized the Pharisees for outward observance of tradition without really obeying God’s commandment. They gave diligently to tithes to the temple and would use this as an excuse to withhold giving to their parents.

Jesus further said:
And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you?
8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”
10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”


God is more concerned with the condition of my heart – what I do and what motivates my action is much more important that what I say.

Let me beware of putting too much emphasis on outward appearances – following traditions, the customary way of worship – the form without the essence.

When I sing songs during worship service, do I mean what I sing? When I give tithes, is it from a heart of gratitude and response to God’s goodness? Do I go to church as a matter of habit? Is my ministry out of expectations put on me by friends, pastors, church leaders?

Jesus explained the parable to Peter:

17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

But what comes out of my mouth proceeds from the condition of my heart. Are my thoughts pleasing to God? Is my motive pure? Do I really love God with actions? How do I treat our neighbours? Actions speak louder than words. But even actions ultimately result from the heart. How is my heart? When I honour God with my lips, is my heart near to God? Do I worship God in vain because of shallow observance of tradition?

Let me beware and remember: Things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart. How is my heart?

Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me to sustain me. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen

Musings from the Garden

The parable of the sower is a familiar one for many: 4 kinds of soil with 4 results. Only 1 seed = gospel (good news of Jesus) yet there are two categories of the results: the saved and the unsaved.

Matthew 13
18 “Listen then to the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown with seed beside the road.

20 The one sown with seed on the rocky places, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution occurs because of the word, immediately he falls away.

22 And the one sown with seed among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the anxiety of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

23 But the one sown with seed on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.”

I used to wonder a bit about what is the difference between soil 2 & soil 3. One thing is similar: both are affected by the concerns of the world = affliction, persecution (v.21) and anxiety of the world (v.22). The difference is soil 2 falls away. The person received the good news with joy but he turned away from his belief when hardships come. Soil 3 becomes unfruitful. This person is like the plant that grows with the thorns. The cares of the world prevent him from bearing fruit:1) fruit of the Spirit; bearing fruit like 2) sharing the gospel to make disciples of people.

To be like soil no. 3 is to be like a believer of Jesus yet not bearing the semblance of Jesus. To be unfruitful is like having no joy, no patience, no love, no peace, no faithfulness, no gentleness, no goodness or kindness and no self-control. To be an unfruitful Christian is because his focus is on the “anxiety of the world” and the “deceitfulness of wealth” not on the ‘Power of the Word.”

To be fruitful, I need to ‘hear’ (really listen, read and study) the Word, ‘understand’ (really live and apply it to my daily living). To be fruitful is to bless my neighbor as I obey God’s command to love him with all my being. How do I bless my neighbor? I love them like Jesus loves me. I forgive as I am forgiven. I give as Jesus gives. I multiply the gifts and make more givers out of my giving = that is making disciples of all nations. That is the great commission of being a fruitful follower of Jesus. So help me God.

Today is another day to bear fruit and be fruitful, dear friend.

When Silence is Gold…

Have you ever been accused of anything? I have. How did you respond? I had the need to explain myself – to defend myself. I felt wronged. I had to right myself.

Jesus too was accused. He was put on trial, accused wrongly. And what did he do? What did he say? Let’s see..

The Inquisition of Jesus
Matthew 27:11-14
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate *said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.

Whoa! How did he do that? He did not answer (v. 12) He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge. (v.14) Not a word, not a sound!

So the governor was quite amazed.

Ahhhh.. Jesus’ silence amazed his accuser. Jesus did not need to explain or defend himself because he knew he did no wrong. He knew he was sent to do the Father’s will.

Bottom line: There is sense of quiet confidence in solitude, standing alone even when everything and everyone is against you. There is assurance of self-identity. Who am I? I’m the beloved Son of God. There is confidence of a purpose-driven act. What do I need to do? I have to obey my Father in heaven. In this, I rest my case. I can be quiet. No need for words.

Of Last Will & Testament… Of Memories & Legacies

Have you ever wondered about the end of your life? How? Where? When? Or would you rather not think about it? Death is a reality of life. Christians need not fear death because we know what happens after we die. I am not afraid of death, I just hope that it would not be too painful to bear. I wonder how my final days will be.

There once was a Biblical hero who knew how, where, when he would die, doing all that God told him to do before he died.

Deuteronomy 30-34 recorded all that Moses did in his final days. It was like his last will and testament.

1) Moses’ will: He charged the people to remember God’s word – obey and be blessed, rebel and be cursed. (ch. 30)

2) Moses’ legacy: He passed on the baton. He told the people that Joshua would take his place and lead them into the promise land.  He encouraged Joshua. (31:1-8)

3) Moses’ testament: He wrote down the law as God instructed. He read the written law to the Israelites to warn them to carefully obey God. (31:9-18)

4) Moses’ song: (31:19-22) God’s words for the song were vv.20-21 expanded into chapter 32 as Moses’ song. The song is their life (32:47). The song is written so they will know who God is, what He did for them, and remember to obey Him.

5) Moses’ benediction: he blessed each of the tribes of Israel. (ch. 33)

Moses’ last conversation with God: (32:48-52)
On that same day the Lord told Moses, “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”

No regrets… no further plea to enter the promise land. He already did that in Deut. 3:23-28.

Moses’ final moments: (ch. 34)
1) His last journey: He climbed Mount Nebo. v.1
2) His last vision: He saw the whole promise land. v.2-3
3) His last call: He heard God’s final words. v.4
4) His death: He died in Moab. v.5
5) His burial: God buried him. v. 6
6) His physical condition: at 120, he could see clearly, he was strong. He climbed Mount Nebo to see the whole land God promised to give His people. v. 7
7) His wake: The Israelites mourned 30 days for him. v. 8
8) His successor: Joshua was filled with spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands on him. The people listened to Joshua and obeyed what God commanded Moses. v. 9

Moses’ epitaph: vv. 10-12
Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

What a life! 

To ponder:
I do not know when my last days will be. When that day comes, what will be said of my life? Will there be a song? Will there be a blessing? Will there be a legacy? Will there be sadness? Will there be a celebration? Will there be a memory of God’s goodness and faithfulness?

I am not Moses nor I need to be. I might not be able to do such great signs and wonders as Moses or show such mighty power or perform awesome deeds as he did. But at the end of the journey, will it be said that I am one whom the Lord knew face to face? Or rather, will I be able to pass on with certainty that I knew the Lord face to face?

New Year Day musings on Numbers and years

New year’s day Musings on Numbers and Years…

Of numbers in an epitaph… Epitaph is a phrase or statement written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone.

It’s been said it’s not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts. In the account of Genesis 4 & 5. There are many names listed in these passages; and each one had a number attached to his name. How long he lived. It was recorded how old each was when he first became a father, the name of the first born, then how long he lived to have other sons and daughters. The last fact being, how old he was when he died.

Of all the names listed, Methuselah had the highest at 969 and guess who had the lowest at 365? Enoch. In Genesis 5 (NRSV), 4 short verses recorded the life of Enoch. These are the facts of his life:

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Interesting facts about Enoch:
1) He had the shortest days but he was the father of one who lived the longest.
2) At 65, he was one of two youngest fathers – the other one was Mahalalel.
3) He was the only one described with walking faithfully with God. and how old was he? He was already 65 years old.
4) He was the only one whose biography did not end with ‘Then he died.’ It ended with “He was no more.”
5) And his was the only end with an explanation. He was no more ‘because’ God took him away.
Where did the others go? How did they die? Didn’t God also take them away?

More observations with corresponding questions to ponder:
1) Enoch walked with God 300 years. He started when he became a father.
Q1: He was 65 when he started walking with God. How old does one have to be before starting to walk faithfully with God? How was he doing before 65? Why 65? Something to do with the gift of a child maybe? Bottom line: It is never too late to start walking with God.

2) Two times in his whole biography of 4 verses, Enoch was described as walking faithfully with God.
Q2: If a very short biography of 4 sentences were to describe my life, would there be any faithfully walking with God in them? How faithful?

3) At 365 years when others lived at least twice as much, Enoch lived the shortest.
Q3: Is life just a number? How long is long? How short is short? Bottom line: how much of the whole was spent walking with God?

4) To be no more (NIV & NRSV), that was Enoch’s end. No more on earth. In NASB: he was not. In other words, he stopped being. He was not found. What happens when a person is no more? Will people try to find him? Or would they not care any less? That he was not found implies that people looked for him. He was missed.

5) Because – this is a big word for life and living. Because God took him away.
Q5: When I am no more, what would be the reason? Is it because God’s purpose for my life has been done? Is there still something hanging in the air?

Final Question: In this moment of my being, I am Marlene – still existing. Just existing? What am I doing? What is the reason? Who is the reason? When I am no more, would it be ‘because God took me away?’ Because I walked faithfully with Him? Faithful enough for God to take me away?

Today is a new day. Let me start today – walk faithfully with God. So help me God.

New Year’s Eve Musings: Inventory-Taking

So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

How does God love me? Let me count the ways. What? Concrete and abstract. How? While I can count the concrete, I can only ‘number’ the abstract. To number is to put a value to the things counted.

Time: chronos and kyros. Chronos time equals seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years. Kyros is about significant events caught in time.

Today, I live for certain number of chronos time. On my first day, God saved my mom from a life-threatening delivery. More gracious moments between then and now: graduations, first job, wedding day, the day I miscarried Gabriel; birth of my 3 children; mom’s kidney transplant; the day I learned of my cancer; treatments; depression, menopause, mom died, dad dying, marital conflicts, relationship breakdowns, reconciliations, anxiety, healing, ups and downs on this journey called life.

Many things and people in life are worth counting and numbering. But oftentimes, it is the immeasurable that is most precious. How do I measure the amount of air in each breath that I take? Covid tells me how precious that is! When I look up the clear sky, can I count the clouds or the stars reminding me of the Creator?

I also learned that ‘less’ is often more. The less time, the more precious the moment. The less space, the more important the usage. The less resources, the more valuable the efficient management thereof.

Clothes, cars, money can be counted. At any one time especially in such a time as this, I do not need to wear all of the clothes in the closet nor can I eat all the food in the ref, nor do I need to ride in all the cars to go to the place I need or want to be. I only need enough cloth to keep me warm and covered. I only need some food to be full. I only need a space enough to lay my head and body on to sleep. Even when/if I do not have a car, I have two feet to walk.

More than counting, I need to put a ‘number’ to each gift that an infinite Creator bestows on His finite creature like me. The past year, how many times did God forgive me of impatience, complaints, pride, laziness, indulgence, vanity, selfishness? How can I measure God’s mercy? Do I treasure God’s grace? Can I number the love of family, the companionship and encouragement of friends and mentors? I think, remember, share with others God’s gifts, tell of His great love, grace and mercy.

Counting and numbering: not just today but every day – with each breath that I take, let me count, let me remember and number, let me measure and treasure.

The Gift that No one Asked for…

One morning, I heard my mother-in-law praying: Tsu-ah, di ho goa eh sue kah tengh hey siu ho e ng hok sai di. (Lord, please grant my son long life that he might serve you.)

Longevity.. one thing hubby has never asked and would never ask for. I realized that while she wished the Lord would take her soon, my mom-in-law hoped that her son would live a long long life.

Do we not wish the same for our children? I do not know about how long is long but one thing I am sure of: I pray that my children would not precede me to leave this world.

When my children were small, and during the times they were sick, and I worried about their well-being, I often pondered: would I be willing to give them up if God asked? Just like what He asked of Abraham… And each time, I surmised it would not be an easy yes!

Christmas thought: God gave us the gift of His Son – the gift that no one asked for. In my small limited human capacity to think and feel as a parent, I wonder how would it feel when one gives up his/her own precious child as a gift and had the gift rejected?

This Christmas and everyday Christmas, let me not belittle the precious gift that God gave me. Let me treasure Jesus – the Christ in Christmas – the Reason for the season. The Gift that I did not ask for yet I receive so freely and abundantly.

Enable me, Lord to live a life worthy of your Gift.

The Call

The Calling…

Have you ever been called to answer a difficult question in class? What happens when a teacher asked ‘Where and when was the treaty of NATO signed? Who signed them?’ Would you raise your hand or bow your head and pray the teacher calls someone else?

In the Old Testament, Jeremiah had a call. God called him to do a difficult task.
God called him verbally in a challenging place and time to be a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

(Jeremiah’s appointment was planned long before he was conceived (v.5). How does it feel to know that God’s plan for me is so well in advance – long long time even before I came to be? It is well-thought of. It means I am of great importance to him. It means he has an important job for me to do. To be set apart means to be called for something special – a unique purpose.)

6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

(To be a prophet is to be God’s messenger to the people – to speak on God’s behalf. Jeremiah’s excuse was ‘I am too young, inexperienced. I am not eloquent.’ Sounds like the excuse of Moses (Exo. 4:10) or perhaps yours?)

7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

(God’s assurance: No excuse and no fear – for I am with you and I will help you.)

9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

(God’s action: God enables those he calls. He assures Jeremiah He will give him the words to say. God speaks very specifically what Jeremiah will do.)

11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

(God’s accommodation: God asked: What do you see, Jeremiah? God starts with what I see. God knows what I am seeing and what I will see. He knows the answer before he asks. He asks because he wants me to tell him.)

“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”

(God’s assurance: God said you are correct. I am watching with you. You are seeing what I see. And I will see to it that all I say, I will do.)

13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”

“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”

(God assures again and again: He wants us to practice seeing and telling him what we see.)

14 The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord.

(God explains further. He tells Jeremiah exactly what is going to happen.)

17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

(God’s armor: God himself confirms and affirms the calling. He enables and equips. God calls Jeremiah to get ready to accept the challenge, to stand up and speak out bravely – not to be afraid of the enemies. God himself will make Jeremiah strong to stand up against people of power. God assures him that he will win in spite of resistance because God himself will be with Jeremiah. God will rescue him from all that is against him.)

When I was in high school, the most popular topic or question among my peers was How do I know God’s will for me? It is like asking What is God calling me to do? How can I be sure it is the right thing to do? What if I hear it wrong? What if I cannot do it well enough? What if I am not good enough?

When God calls:
1) He speaks clearly: through his words in the Bible, through fellow Christians around me, through the Holy Spirit when I pray and listen attentively.
My calling to write a book came through friends over a long period of time. I procrastinate with excuses – I do not know how to write a book. I need an editor. I do not know an editor.

2) He assures strongly: Do not be afraid. I will be with you. I will help you.
When God provided an editor, I was overwhelmed with anxiety how to start the journey. God continued to encourage me with his Word. He gives me the words to write. He answered my prayer when I was feeling helpless and wordless. When I was feeling lost, he showed me the way.

3) He affirms these promises through circumstances. Pathways open one step at a time. Even when a door is closed, windows open. Even when my book proposal was turned down, the process became a stepping stone for the journey. I wrote a testimony in compliance to the proposal requirement of the publishing company. This testimony became the cornerstone of my book – 4 standing stones on which to build the structure of my book. Because the initial proposal did not become a book, God showed me a better one. He sent me an editor to give discerning guidance – turning my words into a better channel for his glory.

Indeed, his thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways higher than mine. When God calls, he accompanies all the way! Praise His name.

The Way of Hope

In an episode from the TV series Amsterdam, there was a story of the depressed American Chinese youth, Amy who stepped off the subway platform onto an oncoming train. It tells us that depression is a silent killer. A pastor once preached that it is the 2nd most deadly disease – next to cancer.

A friend once asked if I have ever thought to take my own life. Honestly, I have never considered suicide as an option to escape from depression, or to stop the pain, grief or sadness. I have thought about disappearing though. What if I don’t come home.. what if I suddenly died – hit by a truck, or killed by someone, or struck by a serious deadly disease? But most of all, I have asked and longed for Jesus to return soon. Not a very noble longing… but hopeful longing so the suffering will end…

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB

This is the Bible verse for today. This is often my means of not ‘escaping’ depression but my way of ‘facing’ depression. In a word, it’s called Hope. That is also the word that Dr. Goodman (from the TV series Amsterdam) replied his colleague-oncologist regarding sickness.

Hope is a big word – not as emphasised as love or faith. But it is one of the three that remains. (1 Cor. 13:13) Hope is the sandwich filling… faith, hope and love.

My faith in the Word of God gives me hope and enables me to love. My hope that suffering will end soon allows me to continue and persevere in my suffering. My hope that one day, Jesus will return and I will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air, this hope sustains me to persist in choosing joy.

Faith and hope seem synonymous. Faith supports hope as hope is the evidence of faith. Because I believe, I have hope. Because I trust God’s promises are true, I rejoice in hope to doing better today, to becoming a better person tomorrow.

Because I believe that hubby loves me, I have hope that he is striving to be a better husband and father. This hope enables me to persist in love.

When our high school batch, Builders ’79 from Hope Christian High School celebrated our 40th anniversary, a classmate proposed that we use faith, hope and love in our theme. So we agreed on: Giving hope by faith in love… We decided that we would raise money to help people with educational and health care needs. We would give hope because we believe that God has been good to us. We want to pay it forward. We trust that God will enable us to reach our goal. We pray that as we hope and trust, we are covered in love – God’s love, our love for God and for our neighbours. Love motivates us to give hope. Faith enables us to give hope. Hope is a good thing.

Now faith is the assurance of things HOPED for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

How are you, my friend? Are you living hopefully? What are you hoping for? There is a Filipino saying: Habang may buhay, may pag-asa. As long as there is life, there is hope.

Where is your hope? On what do you place your hope? On people? On circumstances? On your own capabilities? All these things do not last. Only God’s Word is eternal. His promises are true and trustworthy. Read the Bible and know God – He alone is the source of faith, hope and love. These three remain.

Hope is the means to face depression. Hope in God. God is the sure source of our hope. He is faithful to His Word. His promises never fail. His purpose will never be thwarted.

Isaiah 55

1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

A House for the Lord; A Heart for God

King David loved God. He wanted to build a house for the Lord – a temple where the ark of the Lord could stay. The ark of covenant represented God’s presence. During the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promise land, the ark was in the tent of tabernacle; constantly being moved from place to place.

But God told David that he was not the one to build Him a house. Instead, God promised David that his son would be the one to build as He will establish his throne forever. (1 Chron. 17:4, 12)

Even as he would not build God’s house, David prepared for it. How?
1 Chronicles 22
vv. 2-4: David prepared builders and building materials from the iron for the nails, more bronze than could be weighed to more cedar logs that could be counted.

v. 5 David reasoned that his son, Solomon was young and inexperienced for the task as “the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations.”

vv. 6-14 David prepared and called Solomon for the task.
1) God’s promise: David shared God’s desire to his son. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ (vv. 9-10)

2) David’s Prayer: David prayed for his son to claim God’s promise to grant him success for the task. He prayed for the Lord to give Solomon wisdom so he may keep the law of the Lord. David assured his son that he would have success if he is careful to obey God. He encouraged Solomon to be strong and not be afraid. (vv. 11-13)

3) David’s charge to the people: David called upon the leaders of Israel to support and help Solomon in the task of building the temple. Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.” (vv.18-19)

From beginning to end, it’s all about the Lord, his God: The Lord’s presence (v.18), the Lord’s promise (v.9-10), the Lord’s provision of land and rest (v.9,18). At the heart of all of David’s preparations is his “heart and soul devoted to seek the Lord”…. “for the Name of the Lord.” (v.19)

How is my heart? What motivates me in the things that I do? For whom am I doing all that I do each day? Why am I doing what I do? Where do I draw strength to keep doing? Is the Lord, my God in all of them?

Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me to seek and love you fully for your glory. Amen.