This was a glorious and godly era of Israelite history. Indeed, David and Solomon’s 80 year reign was the high water mark for the Old Testament people of God. It would have seemed that if God were to bring the Messiah along, this would be a great time to do it. Instead, though the glory of these two monarchs was bright, God would wait until Israel was at its bleakest point, and then He sent the Morning Star. The lineage of David would eventually bring One who “was born a child, and yet a king” and whose glory was like the Sun at midday. This passage presents to us two good and godly kings. But all their regal splendor is but a shadow and a type of the divine splendor and glory of Jesus, the Son of David: the Mighty Warrior and the true Prince of Peace.
1 Chronicles 28:8-10
Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
Summary of the Text
David summons all Israel to a farewell speech (v. 1). David reveals his heart’s desire of building a permanent house for God (v. 2). He also tells how God forbade him to undertake this task (v. 3). The speech emphasizes that God chose David to be king, and then Solomon to be king after him (vs. 4-5). We see also that David passes the scepter on to Solomon (1 Chr. 29:22-23) along with the responsibility to build the temple (vs. 6-7). This is an act of both establishing Solomon’s right to the Kingdom, and preventing a civil war or dispute over the rightful heir to the throne.
David then gives a very poignant exhortation to the people as to how they ought to behave themselves after his passing and in the building of the temple (v. 8). He then gives a specific commission to his son Solomon, as to how he ought to behave himself in building the House of God (vs. 9-10). These commands, promises and warnings, though given to Old Testament saints, are just as pertinent and instructive for us New Testament believers.
Commands, Promises, & Warnings
David gives a command and a promise for God’s people to “keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God (v. 8)”. Keep [shamar שָׁמַר] – to guard the maturation process of a garden or a flock/herd, to observe the forward progression of growth; same word used in Gen. 2:15. Seek [darash דָּרַשׁ] – to rub, beat, tread, or trample out a path. This exhortation still rings true today: we’re still to keep and seek for all the commandments of God (1 Jn. 3:23). Further, the motivation here is the promise of possessing the good land and leaving an inheritance for our children.
In David’s final commission to his son (vs. 9-10), he exhorts him to know the God of his father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and willing mind. To know God is the great aim of the believer’s life; and yet we are often content to just know about God. When this is the case, we will most certainly serve Him with imperfect hearts and unwilling minds. We can acknowledge Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him (Isa. 29:13). Notice that both to the people (v. 8) and to Solomon (v. 9), David is emphatic that they seek God. He is deeply concerned that their faith be a living faith and not a heartless religion.
At the end of verse 9, there is a fascinating word-play: “If thou seek him, he (the one who searcheth all hearts) will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”
If you seek God, you’ll find that God was the One who first sought you. If you love Him, you find that it was He who loved you first (1 Jn. 4:19).
However, the warning is: if you forsake God (cut off his bands, law, covenant), you’ll find that it is God rejecting you. You can break God’s law, but God will not break His law; He will fulfill it. If you refuse to obey His law (i.e. repent & believe the Gospel) He will honor the terms of His law, and you will be forsaken, left no defense.
You seek God, you find that He was the one who sought you. You forsake God, and you find that He is the one that has forsaken you. His presence is life, His judgement is death. His face is full of light, life and blessing; but when He turns His back, darkness, death and the curse of eternal wrath. And all this is entirely just (Rom. 9:14). Lewis once memorably said, “There are only two sorts of people, those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.’” All get what they really want.
The Better David & The Better Solomon
The Gospel teaches us that none of us have perfectly kept God’s law. We have all forsaken it, and the wages of this sin is death. Christ is the Better David, and the Better Solomon. God is pleased to let His Son’s merit stand in our stead, and that His righteousness shall be the believer’s defense, hope and peace.
He, as the better David, has conquered our enemies, and He, as the better Solomon has perfectly kept the command to build the house of God, He was strong and has done it (v. 10). He has established the house of God, He dwells in the house of God (1 Cor. 6:19), to do the will of God; and the will of God is that we would seek after the God who seeks after us.
David won peace for Israel, Solomon administered this peace for God’s people to enjoy. Christ’s death showed Him to be the Better David, and His resurrection showed Him to be the Better Solomon. David could not build the temple because he had shed blood, but Jesus could not build it until He shed His blood. By rising again Christ showed Himself the Better Solomon whom God had chosen to eternally rule over the house of God with peace. Christ alone can build the house of God, and by His Spirit within us He enables us to be strong and do it as well. Think on this, and let this assure your heart, Christ is the only one who can conquer your sin. Christ is the only one whose reign and rule brings peace.