“DIRECT THEIR HEARTS TOWARD …”
We tend to give only passing attention to our Chronicles reading because our other readings in Ezekiel 38 and John 4 provoke so much thought. But in Chronicles we have the climax at the end of David’s life. Consider the scene: he had made great provision for building the Temple, others had followed his example and “the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord” [1 Chron.29 v.9].
Now consider carefully how David offers the final public prayer of his life. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” [v.11-13]
We should take special note of the sudden change of thought in the prayer! David’s mind, his vision of life and all that life really is, causes him to say, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” [v.14,15] Put his thoughts alongside his 17th Psalm, especially noting his last verse.
David was totally honest and faced the true reality of the human position. Next he becomes very personal about his relationship with God. “I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you … direct their hearts toward you.” [v.17,18]
May we, in our prayers, plead with our Lord to direct the hearts of our brethren and sisters more and more toward him. As the storm clouds of God’s anger with our ever more evil world increase – may our prayers grow even more urgent – bearing in mind the last 2 verses of the momentous 38th chapter we read today in Ezekiel.: “With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgement … So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”