Shortly before King David’s death he named Solomon as his successor and God’s chosen leader of Israel. In one of his last official acts, David led the nation in the amazing worship experience that is recorded in this chapter.
The Israelites had worshiped in the Tabernacle (a special tent that served as a mobile worship center) for many generations, and the time had come to build a Temple in Jerusalem. David’s godliness and strength of character are evident in his challenge in verses 1-5. While it would not be his privilege to build the Temple, he took responsibility for raising the necessary funds for the construction. David had been collecting building materials in the national treasury, but he also gave an incredibly generous offering from his personal fortune. It was important for the leaders of Israel to see the king personally invest in the Lord’s work, and when David asked for a free-will offering from them, they gave joyfully, freely, and wholeheartedly (v.9).
David’s offertory prayer in verses 10-19 is as beautiful and spiritually rich as any of his psalms. In it he acknowledged God’s power over everything (v.11-12) and His ownership of everything (v.14-16). Then David called for the congregation to join in. It must have been a sweet and holy moment of corporate worship as the people bowed their heads, communicating with their body language a deep respect and reverence for the Lord (v.20). The service continued the next day with an extraordinary offering of sacrifices and a fellowship meal, followed by a ceremony of consecration for their new king (v.21-22).
Three thousand years later the people of God (the same God worshiped by David and Solomon) are still assembling to worship together. Many of the worship elements are the same. We still hear sermons and testimonies that inspire our faith (v.1-4), we are still challenged to respond and make new commitments (v.5), we still give free-will offerings (v.6-9), and we still pray offertory prayers (v.10-19). We still enjoy times of quiet reflection with “every head bowed, every eye closed” and the “great gladness” of table fellowship (v.20, 22).
While these things remain as cherished practices of our worship, I thank God that other things have changed. No longer do we need to shed the blood of animal sacrifices, for Jesus Christ is our once-for-all sacrifice for sins. The only remnant of the old sacrificial system in the church today is the beautiful representation of the body and blood of our Savior in the Lord’s Supper. We no longer anoint kings to rule over God’s people, for Jesus Christ is our King! We set apart pastors and other ministers and we count on them to lead us, but we realize that they are just redeemed sinners leading other redeemed sinners and that we all surrender to the lordship of Jesus and submit to His authority. He is the only one in the church who deserves our unquestioning obedience. And we no longer need priests (like Zadok, v.22), for Jesus Christ is our great High Priest. When the church comes together to worship, pray, give, fellowship, or serve, we do so with confidence because Jesus opened up access to heaven’s throne for us (see Hebrews 4:14-16). Hallelujah!