Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: September 18, 2016
Text: 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, 19
PRAYING FOR OUR CHILDREN
1 Chronicles 29:10-13, 19
Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: 'Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 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 in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name....
Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.' 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, 19
God invites us to bring the biggest things in our lives to him in prayer. Yet, too many times we try to manage the things by ourselves. We try to orchestrate the life we want. We forget God. Forgetting that God is beside us, waiting to hear from us, we push on driving harder and harder until we collapse.
God knows the things that are deepest in our hearts. He knows what keeps us up at night or what wakes us up early in the morning. He longs to cheer for us, but more than that, to carry us. When we bring our big prayers before our big God, He works in a big way.
Written by an unknown author, the Chronicles are a history of the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. They were likely written to encourage and guide the Jewish community that had returned from their exile in Babylonia. Once more in the land that God had given to them, the community seeks to reestablish its identity and life as God's covenant people.
The books addresses three critical questions for post-exile Jews: (1) who are the heirs of God's promises after Israel's dislocation while in exile? (2) What will become of their central religious and political institutions after the exile-the throne of Dave and the Temple? (3) How are they to understand the exile experience in light of God's law and grace, His judgment and forgiveness?
Our sermon text takes place in the now-reunited kingdom of Israel, which has unified around the throne of King David. The verses the sermon focuses on are part on are part of a service of dedication for the newly-constructed Temple. In the context of this act of worship, David prays for his son Solomon.
1. David begins his prayer with the acknowledgment that God owns everything (vv. 10-11). That's easy to affirm in theory, but harder in practice. To what extent do you really believe that all you have actually belong to God and is given to you to steward and use wisely? Consider your time, your energy, and your financial resources? Quickly inventory your calendar and check book-do these things mirror God's priorities?
2. The late Bishop Edwin Hughes once delivered a rousing sermon on "God's Ownership" that upset a rich parishioner. The wealthy man took the bishop home for lunch, then took him on a stroll through his extravagant estate. "Now are you going to tell me," he demanded when the tour was complete, "that all this land does not belong to me?" Bishop Hughes smiled and replied, "Ask me that same question a hundred years from now." At the end of the game, the toys all go back in the box-you cannot take them with you. How does this realization affect the way you live?
3. David continues by affirming that whatever we have is a result of God's generosity toward us (v. 12). Children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127). In light of this, how are you stewarding the gift of your children? For those without children as well as those with, how are you living out the vows you take each time we baptize a child-that we will help the parents raise their children as Christians?
4. Since children are a gift of God, how are you doing in offering them and their lives back to God? Do you find yourself easily giving your kids to the Lord in prayer or do you struggle with the desire to control them and their lives?
5. Our lives are gifts of God as well. In light of 1 Chronicles 29 and Romans 12:1-2, how can we offer our lives back to God as an act of stewardship and sacrifice? Name three very concrete things you could do to devote yourself more fully to God:
6. Our lives are gifts of God as well. In light of 1 Chronicles 29 and Romans 12:1-2, how can we offer our lives back to God as an act of stewardship and sacrifice? Name three very concrete things you could do to devote yourself more fully to God:
7. Consider the requests that David made. What would it look like in your life, the life of your children, and the lives of others if those things came to pass?
8. Write a prayer either for yourself, for your child, or for a friend asking God to do in your/their lives something similar to what David requested for Solomon. Consider making a copy and giving it to them.
Almighty and merciful Father, restore our souls in Jesus Christ, that we may be merciful and kind even as you are. Let your forgiveness make us willing to forgive all wrong which we have suffered, and to ask forgiveness for every wrong which we have done. Give us the spirit of Him who dwelt among men in great humility, and was meek and lowly of heart. Let the same mind be in us which was also in Him. And grant that, being rooted and grounded in the mystery of the Word made flesh, we may receive the power to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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