Day 96—Who Am I?—“Examination” 1 Chronicles 28:1 – 29:30
April 6, 2021, 10:06 AM

Day 96—Who Am I?—“Examination” 1 Chronicles 28:1 – 29:30

In our reading, David is still very much in control. It is David who gives Solomon the plans for the Temple; David who has raised all the money to build the temple; David who encouraged other leaders to financially support the project. For all intents and purposes, David is the inspiration, leader and inspiration for the building of the Temple, doing all that he can other than actually constructing it. This connection between David and the Temple is important because it binds together the House of David and the house of the LORD.

In today’s reading, we do not read about David’s prolonged death, or the presence of the young woman to ‘keep him warm’ (talk about horrible jobs one could have in the King’s court), but there is a beautiful prayer that includes the phrase we have heard from David before… “who am I?” As if being the greatest king in the history of Israel were not something to stand on, David prays in great humility before the gathered people to God.

And then, nearing the end of his life, David prays to the LORD in words familiar to us from our own church service:

“For all things come of you, O LORD, and of thine own have we given thee.” (! Chronicles 29:14)

“Yours, O LORD, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head over all,” 1 Chronicles 29: 11)

Both are familiar as offertory sentences from our own service. The Prayer Book, of course, finds its basis in the words of Holy Scripture, and an estimated 85% comes directly from our Bibles

To his son, Solomon, David says these words: “Be strong and of good courage, and act.” (1Chronicles 28:20)  Can I unpack that for a moment? I could just put the whole prayer in here, but listen to this small, powerful phrase. Be strong…and act. I love that phrase. Don’t just sit around looking at your plans, don’t keep talking about your plans, don’t simply admire all that has been accomplished—get out there and do something for God!!! ACT!!! Solomon needs to move forward now with all that God, and his father, David, have provided him. Do you ever feel stuck in indecision or that you are wallowing in options or possibilities? Remember the first two letter of God’s name—GO! The first two letters of the word Gospel—GO! One word verbs that push us out of our comfort zones on the mission of God.

David continues: “Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you,” (1 Chronicles: 20)

This is why David is considered the greatest of all the kings. David speaks to his son with confidence, not hubris. David trusts God, and he tells Solomon that he can do the same. His faith, and his humility before God provide great correctives to his occasional waywardness, and to his insecurity and pride during incidents such as the census. David GETS it. At least both of our long stories about him in the books of Samuel and Chronicles seem to indicate this.

And to end this, please read today’s contemplation by Richard Foster, author of wonderful, and now classic Christian books including “The Celebration of Discipline” and “Prayer”. Foster refers to an “Examen” which is a fancy word for examination. I have fallen out of the discipline of this myself, to be honest. But I have written about it, practiced it and now re-remembered it.

Foster’s words suggest that David knew who he was, and what his sins were. Note the similarity of the words in our reading for today and in Psalm 139—a psalm attributed to David (not all the psalms were written by David):

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139: 23-24

And so, for today, I end with the short explanation for the Examen, a useful practice at the end of the day that may bring peace and healing into your evening hours, and a more restful sleep:

Steps of the Examen
As you begin, invite God into your prayer and ask for the grace to see yourself honestly as you review your day. Then, at a meditative pace, review your day using the five steps below as a guide. You can prayerfully meditate on your responses or journal as you move through the reflections.

  1. Express gratitude
    Recall your day and name anything for which you are particularly grateful. Thank God for these gifts.
  2. Review the day
    Review the events of your day. Move from morning to night and notice where you felt God’s presence. (No detail is too small or too mundane.*) Were there any invitations to grow in faith, hope or charity? How did you respond to these invitations?
  3. Name your sorrows
    Name those things from the day for which you are sorry. Include both actions and regrets, things you did or did not do.
  4. Seek forgiveness
    Ask God to forgive you. If there is someone you may have hurt and with whom you should reconcile, resolve now to reconcile with them and ask their forgiveness.
  5. Ask for grace for tomorrow
    Conclude by thanking God for the gift of your life and this day. Then, ask for the grace you need to see God’s presence more clearly and to conform yourself to Jesus Christ more closely tomorrow.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others,

ML

 

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