[May 01]--Any Final Words?

1 Chronicles 29:10-20

No matter how eloquent a person has been during his life, people tend to attach a lot more significance to his final words more than any others. The Lord had used David to provide a lot of beautiful inspired poetry, such as the 23rd Psalm. But now, as he lay dying, he wanted to leave some final thoughts to both his son and Israel as a whole. Here’s what was on his mind.

First and foremost in his speech is praise for his Savior God. He's eternal: From everlasting to everlasting he has always been, and he never changes. He's all-powerful, and there is no one like him in strength, power, and might. He's sovereign, meaning he's ultimately in charge of everything.

As someone told me in my Sunday School days, we praise him for who he is, and we thank him for what he’s done. The next few verses (14-16) deal with thanking God for his goodness which he'd shown them. David’s humility was quite a contrast to the pride which most people display: He even understood that all our “gifts” to God are only returning to him what belongs to him in the first place. Earlier he'd written in the 23rd Psalm that God's "goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life." Now, at the end of his earthly life, he could look back and personally testify that God's love and mercy had constantly been behind, before, above, and everywhere around him.

He also noted the brevity and fragility of life in this world (vs. 15). Samuel Johnson noted that "The gallows doth wonderfully concentrate the mind," and this was certainly an appropriate time for him to focus on this subject. Of course, we’re all one breath away from eternity, and most of us have no idea how long we have.

Finally, he expressed concerned prayer for the next generation. He loved his fellow Israelites, and he was concerned that they continue to be faithful to the Lord who'd blessed and protected them. The incredible generosity they'd shown in providing supplies for the upcoming temple was wonderful, but he wanted them to continue in this spirit. Also close to his heart was the welfare of his son. He knew firsthand the pressures of being king, and how easy it is to slip away from faithfulness to the Lord. He prayed for wisdom for Solomon, not only to know the right course of action, but to wholeheartedly follow the God of Israel.

Now that I think about it, the concerns that David expressed on his deathbed are actually not bad for us today. No matter how many more years (or days) he gives us here, we should always be focused on praising the Lord for who he is, thanking him for what he’s done, keeping the eternal perspective, and praying for the next generation. He became famous for killing a giant, but this man himself became one of the greatest giants in all of God’s word.

Father, my priorities have to be constantly realigned. Transform me, renew my mind, please.

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