Over the last couple of months, I watched “The Voice” on TV because I enjoy seeing vocalists strive for excellence. I am also encouraged by those who make a public profession of their faith in God, and this season there was one young man in particular who wore a visible cross when he performed and acted as one has God as his Father, giving thanks to him. He is an example of someone who, hopefully, is in the midst of an intensely personal and public project, driven to succeed, for God’s glory as well as his own satisfaction. He came in second, and I am sure that God can use him, if he is willing, in the music industry, as he uses Lauren Diagle, Mercy Me, and others. Some of us boldly speak our faith when the light is on us, and others are shyer. But when the spotlight is gone, the crowd has gone home, and quietness descends, do we find ourselves to be peaceful and motivated to glorify God? It is rare for some to experience shalom in their lives, when they are at peace within themselves, with God, with others, and not undergoing any momentous ventures, family adjustments, trials or struggles physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. You may not even be able to identify the last time you would describe life as peaceful, internally, and externally. Those of us who are retired, without children at home or workplace expectations, have more of these days, although physical challenges and the illnesses of others may creep in to disturb our peace. The question for this devotion is not how much peace we have, but, “How do we glorify God with it?” This is very closely related to a previous devotion, two weeks ago, asking, “How do we use our peaceful times to grow spiritually?” Since our spiritual growth is not for our benefit alone, but to build up the body, it is logical to consider how we bear fruit in our peace, to bring God praise and generate thanksgiving for him.
When David wanted to build the Lord a temple, God revealed his plan to have Solomon, his son, a man of peace, build it instead. “Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.” (1 Chronicles 22:9) David’s life was about war—fighting for the Lord—that was how he glorified God. When the wars were over, as King of Israel, David succeeded in organizing all the people to serve in the temple, the finances to build it, ordering the army, and providing leadership for the nation of Israel (See 1 Chronicles 23-29). He used peace to continue glorifying God as King, within the constraints God had provided for him. David didn’t pout over God’s denial of his dream to build a temple, and he didn’t grumble and fight the Lord plan. The Lord gave David and Israel rest from their opposition for a purpose. God did not require David’s approval of his plan; he said, “I will give him rest…I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.” God will, so Solomon will build the temple. Period. No discussion, no majority vote. The King of kings, David’s holy boss, did not need or want David’s or Solomon’s consent. The Lord had a purpose for removing the non-believers from Canaan—to protect his people’s worship and devotion to him by limiting the influence of idolatrous nations. And so the Lord had a purpose in calling the war quits when he did (although not all the Canaanites and other “ites” had been removed). It was time for the people of God to have a magnificent place of worship. This huge thirteen-year building project required peace.
You and I often consider our peace a time of recovery and refreshment, which it should be. I think, though, that we stop short and don’t consider how we might use our time more purposefully. Families might think about how they might help another family before beginning their vacation or help an elderly neighbor before going to the movie. We don’t have to forgo our pleasurable enjoyments, but we also aren’t glorifying the Lord if we don’t consider the needs of others along with our enjoyable pursuits when resting from our work or trials. I try to use my rest times (as I sit here with an ice pack on my knee) to write, and perhaps that is one way to glorify God—writing notes to friends or family, remembering those we love with encouraging thoughts, or writing devotions, Bible studies, or even testimonies to share with others. Studying to teach, texting to those who are living alone or going through a difficult time, and calling someone on the phone are all ways to glorify God without exerting ourselves physically. Some mistaken Christians think that a believer’s life is one of ease, without difficulties or struggles. The Bible says no such thing; Jesus stated that we would have “tribulation” in this world. But since we don’t all have it at the same time, it makes sense that we will help others when our trials are minimal or completed. Matthew Henry commented on our passage, “David gives Solomon the reason why he should build the temple…Where God gives rest, he expects work. Because God had promised to establish his kingdom…God’s gracious promises should quicken and strengthen our religious service.” (1)
After coming close to burnout twice in my work life, I am a great believer in balance and times of refreshment. It’s almost impossible, though, to think logically and biblically about those “down” times when your body, mind, and emotions are exhausted and in need of recuperation. The Bible contains many warnings about the trappings and dangers of the world, and even Solomon fell to them after building God’s temple and writing scores of wise proverbs that are used by billions of people to remind us of God’s statutes. The Lord named Solomon as the one to build his temple; he has named us believers as those who will bring him praise through our inheritance. “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:11-14) This passage reminds us (twice) that we are saved to eternal life, by God, for the “praise of his glory.”
Solomon did not stop building after he completed the temple. He erected many other important buildings in Jerusalem and Israel, including his palace with a Hall of Judgement where he met with people to dispense his wisdom and judge between them. In this way, Solomon continued to glorify God with his and Israel’s peace. King Solomon also constructed a water system for Jerusalem and places of defense, a commercial depot, and a military outpost for Israel. It was the “golden age” of Israel, who had the wises king who ever lived. (2) Even the Queen of Sheba, came from far away to hear Solomon’s wisdom. But you and I know One who is wiser than Solomon. “…behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:42) We are, hopefully, not in danger of being judged for our unbelief in Christ, the Savior, as were the Pharisees, who were being warned by Jesus in Matthew 12. But we do have the Spirit of Christ in us, who convicts us of our calling to listen to his voice to fulfill our roles in the kingdom, even and especially when we are at peace.
Quietness and peace allow us the opportunity to hear the Lord’s voice more clearly in our hearts and minds as we open his Word and yield to his Spirit in us. Will we desire this, for his praise without fear that he will require of us more than we can do? Some of us are challenged by the many ideas we have about what we can do for someone or how we could help with a project, which may not be God’s priorities for us. Every time we engage in something from our imagination, we are like David when he desired to build a temple for the Lord. It was not God’s calling for him. Will you wait patiently, and continue resting, before jumping into something new, even if it seems right? How might the Lord want you to serve and glorify him when he gives you peaceful circumstances and a quiet, contented spirit? “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17)
(1) Henry, Matthew “Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible,” 1 Chronicles 22:6-16, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/1chronicles-22.html
(2) Easton’s 1897 Dictionary of the Bible, software version, on “Solomon,” M.G. Easton.
May 22, 2019