We may here observe,
I. How handsomely David spoke to the great men of Israel, to engage them to contribute towards the building of the temple. It is our duty to provoke one another to love and to good works, not only to do good ourselves, but to draw in others to do good too as much as we can. There were many very rich men in Israel; they were all to share in the benefit of the temple, and of those peaceable days which were to befriend the building of it; and therefore, though David would not impose on them, as a tax, what they should give towards it, he would recommend the present as a fair occasion for a free-will offering, because what is done in works of piety and charity should be done willingly and not by constraint; for God loves a cheerful giver. 1. He would have them consider that Solomon was young and tender, and needed help; but that he was the person whom God had chosen to do this work, and therefore was well worthy their assistance. It is good service to encourage those in the work of God that are as yet young and tender. 2. That the world was great, and all hands should contribute to the carrying of it on. The palace to be built was not for man, but for the Lord God; and the more was contributed towards the building the more magnificent it would be, and therefore the better would it answer the intention. 3. He tells them what great preparations had been made for this work. He did not intend to throw all the burden upon them, nor that it should be built wholly by contributions, but that they should show their good will, by adding to what was done (1 Chron. 29:2): I have prepared with all my might, that is, “I have made it my business.” Work for God must be done with all our might, or we shall bring nothing to pass in it. 4. He sets them a good example. Besides what was dedicated to this service out of the spoils and presents of the neighbouring nations, which was for the building of the house (of which before, 1 Chron. 22:14), he had, out of his own share, offered largely for the beautifying and enriching of it, 3000 talents of gold and 7000 talents of silver (1 Chron. 29:4, 5), and this because he had set his affection on the house of his God. He gave all this, not as Papists build churches, in commutation of penance, or to make atonement for sin, nor as Pharisees give alms, to be seen of men; but purely because he loved the habitation of God’s house; so he professed (Ps. 26:8) and here he proved it. Those who set their affection upon the service of God will think no pains nor cost too much to bestow upon it; and then our offerings are pleasing to God when they come from love. Those that set their affection on things above will set their affection on the house of God, through which our way to heaven lies. Now this he gives them an account of, to stir them up to do likewise. Note, Those who would draw others to do that which is good must themselves lead. Those especially who are advanced above others in place and dignity should particularly contrive how to make their light shine before men, because the influence of their example is more powerful and extensive than that of other people. 5. He stirs them up to do as he had done (1 Chron. 29:5): And who then is willing to concentrate his service this day unto the Lord? (1.) We must each of us, in our several places, serve the Lord, and consecrate our service to him, separate it from other things that are foreign and interfere with it, and direct and design it for the honour and glory of God. (2.) We must make the service of God our business, must fill our hands to the Lord, so the Hebrew phrase is. Those who engage themselves in the service of God will have their hands full; there is work enough for the whole man in that service. The filling of our hands with the service of God intimates that we must serve him only, serve him liberally, and serve him in the strength of grace derived from him. (3.) We must be free herein, do it willingly and speedily, do it this day, when we are in a good mind. Who is willing? Now let him show it.
II. How handsomely they all contributed towards the building of the temple when they were thus stirred up to it. Though they were persuaded to it, yet it is said, They offered willingly, 1 Chron. 29:6. So he said who knew their hearts. Nay, they offered with a perfect heart, from a good principle and with a sincere respect to the glory of God, 1 Chron. 29:9. How generous they were appears by the sum total of the contributions, 1 Chron. 29:7. They gave like themselves, like princes, like princes of Israel. And a pleasant day’s work it was; for, 1. The people rejoiced, which may be meant of the people themselves that offered: they were glad of the opportunity of honouring God thus with their substance, and glad of the prospect of bringing this good work to perfection. Or the common people rejoiced in the generosity of their princes, that they had such rulers over them as were forward to this good work. Every Israelite is glad to see temple work carried on with vigour. 2. David rejoiced with great joy to see the good effects of his psalms and the other helps of devotion he had furnished them with, rejoiced that his son and successor would have those about him that were so well affected to the house of God, and that this work, upon which his heart was so much set, was likely to go on. Note, It is a great reviving to good men, when they are leaving the world, to see those they leave behind zealous for religion and likely to keep it up. Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace.
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