Six of our grand-boys are coming here tomorrow for a day together. I’ve planned some games and stocked up on snacks, even gotten the (awful) “unicorn sparkle” ice cream one of them asked for.
It’s been a busy summer, and I haven’t had them over as much as I like, so I’m really excited to get them for an all day, Cousins Camp.
Grand-boy time is golden because it’s young and fleeting. I’m glad the reasons to celebrate in these passages don’t grow old and expire.
I Chronicles 28-29
It must’ve been a day-of-all-days. The Israelites celebrate by sacrificing thousands of animals with a dinner-on-the grounds, an all-day “brew-n-barbecue.” David hands off the temple building plans he’s been working on to his son, Solomon, along with piles and piles of raw materials he’s collected. And they re-enact Solomon’s coronation to make it official.
These two days get two whole chapters at the end of this book of mostly dull names and numbers. I love how the stale details of 1 Chronicles get swallowed up in a massive praise party with sliders.
David charges Solomon to have courage to build God’s temple, and he reminds him that he’s got a lot of help. God’s people are ready to join in and contribute. He tells how he’s donating his own personal wealth–gold and silver by the ton–and asks who else among them will be generous? The people respond with so much giving that David exuberantly gives God the praise, “Riches and glory come from you; you’re ruler over all…,” 1 Ch 28:20-21, 29:3-9, 12, MSG.
But before all this, he tells Solomon what matters most, which is to “…get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he’ll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he’ll leave you for good,” 1 Ch 28:9-10, MSG.
God’s said this same thing with different words over and over throughout the Bible. I’ve been keeping a list because it’s so remarkable to me that God can be known in words on the pages of a book. And that if we look for him, he makes sure we find him. We can count on it.
Jesus said to knock, seek, ask, and find in both Matthew and Luke, and that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field that can be found. Isaiah the prophet had already written the same thing hundreds of years earlier, “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord,” Mt 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10; Mt 13:44; Is 45:3
God doesn’t hide. He wants to be known. He wants to be found. This is why he gave Moses his law on Mt Sinai, so we’d know who he is and what’s important to him. Showing us what God is like is one of the reasons Jesus came. And he said the Holy Spirit would come “…to guide you into all truth, making it known to you,” which is exactly what Proverbs already said first, “I will make my words known to you,” Ps 16:11; Pr 11:23; Jn 14:5-14, 16:13, 15.
Jeremiah the prophet wrote, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart; I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” What’s more, God “confides in those who fear him,” and he “rewards those who earnestly seek him.” With all the goodies he has at his disposal, I’m pretty sure God can be depended on to know what the good stuff is when it comes to rewarding us, 2 Ch 15:2; Je 29:13-14; Ps 25:14; La 3:25; He 11:6.
God’s not too lofty and too high for us to find. His magnificence and glory are great, but they don’t elevate him out of reach of each of us who wants to connect with him. In fact, he seeks us; he looks for worshippers; he comes down to see who’s looking for him, “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him,” 2 Ch 16:9; Ps 53:2, 119:176; Jn 4:23.
It’s staggering to believe that the God-of-the-Universe lets ordinary human beings hear him, see him, and feel him through his word and prayer in our day-to-day, walking-around lives. And not only does he let us, he longs for us, he watches for us, he’s on the lookout, no matter who we may be or what we might have done, Php 1:8; Lk 15:20.
For all the highs and lows of David’s life, he ends well. He keeps the faith; he calls on everyone to seek God, to study his word, and to know him. This is the key to David’s going the distance at the end of his life: he never stops reaching out to the God who keeps reaching out first, 1 Ch 28:8-10.
Thank you, God, for being the Lord of Creation and of intimate meetings with coffee and cream; for being the God who moves mountains and moves in me; for being the King of Kings who rides on the wings of cherubim and lets me tuck in behind you.
I’m feelin’ like celebratin’ already, but there’s more reasons next…
Paul compares the results of what Adam and Jesus did: death through one, life through the other. Though death may have gotten the upper hand through Adam’s sin, those who come out on top “grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right that the one man Jesus Christ provides,” Ro 5:17-19, MSG.
The worst that Adam’s sin did is bring death, but Jesus’ death gives life to everyone who believes him, starting right this minute. Sin doesn’t win. Jesus does. Life does. And it’s “a life that goes on and on and on, world without end,” Ro 5:20-21, MSG.
Sure, there are low moments. There’s real suffering we live with. But sin doesn’t have the last word—Jesus does. His last words at the end of the Bible are, “Behold, I make all things new,” present tense, because he swallows up death and sorrow with life and hope, and there’s just no end to joy, both now and forever, Re 21:5, NASB.
There are even more reasons to celebrate next…
David tells how to get invited to God’s dinner table. There’s a noble list of virtues here that gets us on the guest list. But the glory of the gospel is that even whores and thieves get included. Liars and cheats. Adulterers and murderers. People without any of these guest-worthy virtues, because Jesus’ virtue covers us all with his goodness. We get his invitation with our name on it, Ro 5:6-8.
We all get on God’s guest list by extravagant grace, because Jesus has made the way, and what he’s done more than makes up for our mistakes, Ro 3:21-24.
God’s invitation through Jesus is scandalously generous, and it doesn’t make sense unless you see yourself with the unworthy rabble and riff-raff. But when you do, you realize it doesn’t have to make sense. It makes worshippers, who wanna celebrate for all they’re worth.
A God who wants relationship?
A Savior who wins?
An invitation with my name on it?
That’s a whole lotta reasons to celebrate.
1 Chronicles 28-29, Romas 5:12-21, and Psalm 15 are selected for today in The One Year Bible.