May 27 | Daily Devotion

May 27 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

The writer of Chronicles wants to give the exiled worshipping community hope. He recounts their history, tells stories of heroic feats, and even reminds them that God has forgiven past misdeeds. David, though a great king, sinned against the Lord by numbering his fighting men during a time of peace. It was an act of pride that even offended Joab, the commander of the army, who reluctantly carried out the king’s orders. The Lord was not opposed to taking inventory for the right reasons at the right time (we see many lists right in Chronicles), but this was pure, unadulterated arrogance. God disciplined the nation for David’s sin, but he also showed mercy and quickly withdrew His hand of judgment. The Chronicler encourages the exiled community to see that though the Lord disciplines, he also shows compassion and is reluctant to let His people suffer.

For His great love, His compassion, His mercy, and for His justice, God deserves praise. It’s not surprising then that worship is a constant theme in Chronicles. Great stress is laid on the Levites and their work, including the temple music leaders. In this passage, David makes lavish preparations for the construction of that very temple. He paves the way for his young, inexperienced son to succeed at this great task. In fact, while many of David’s exploits are recounted in Chronicles, prepping for temple-building is presented as the pinnacle of his kingly career. David is presented as a patron of the religious arts, a songwriter and singer, and a supporter of the musical guilds that flourished under his kingship. His reign inspired a worship renaissance, a modern-day Hillsong-like production, and most of Israel’s songs were composed during this period (thus the book of Psalms). His last contribution was setting the stage, so to speak, for the beautiful, permanent place of worship, a magnificent “cathedral” of praise to God.

Why does a king “waste” time like this? Doesn’t he have more important things to do than play his guitar and write songs and steer the church’s new building project? I mean, he’s the king! Christian thinkers have observed that worship is one of the few things that Christians do that has no utilitarian value. When we worship, we are not accomplishing anything! Theologian Marva Dawn gave her classic book on worship the tongue-in-cheek title A Royal Waste of Time. Worship has no practical value, but it has ultimate value because God is the Ultimate. He is the end, the purpose of our lives.

So anytime we can “waste” our time worshipping, let us do so! In fact, let us be inspired by the life of this great man who “wasted” his career on worship and became the greatest king in Israel’s history. Of course, when this was being written, Ezra the prophet was trying to motivate God’s people to rebuild the place of worship and again waste their lives doing what they were created to do: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. There is no greater way for us to spend our lives either. Worship is an end in itself because God is the ultimate end! We don’t worship to accomplish anything, we worship because that is what we too were created to do.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.