The Palace for God
1 Chronicles 29:1-10
Furthermore David the king said to all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is yet young and tender…

These words are not to be pressed unduly, nor their spirit sacrificed to the letter, in forgetfulness of the idiom of the language in which they are recorded. The patriotic king no more forgot his nation's welfare in the sense of the sacredness of the work, than the prophet who first uttered the immortal words, "I love mercy and not sacrifice," dreamed of extinguishing the altar fires and abolishing the office of the priesthood seven centuries before the "fulness of time." Their principal meaning is obvious. An edifice was formed, a pattern was already, it is written, present to his mind's eye. It was to be no regal palace, however stately, no home for oriental splendour and magnificence; it was to be consecrated for ever to the Jehovah to whom he and his people were bound by everlasting covenant. Yet the truth that no house made with hands could in any literal sense hold Him whom the heaven of heavens could not contain, was already deep in the conscience, and finding expression in the words of God's truest servant. He who was revealed to the Psalmist, the Psalmist-king well knew, no roof of cedar, no walls of stone, no building however sacred, however sumptuous, could be His real home. It could be only so far His dwelling-place, when His unseen presence could be found and realised by those who sought Him — found best by those who could rise in spirit above that imageless temple, above that altar smoke, and all the machinery of ritual, to the Father of their spirits and the God of their salvation. There is a sense, therefore, in which we may, without irreverence, almost invert the words, and yet gain, rather than lose, their true significance. The palace is not for God, we might even say, as a literal dwelling-place. To Him, the marble, and the cedar, and the palm-tree, and the olive, and the brass, and the gold are as nothing. The palace in this sense is not for God, but it is for man — not for man as merely the foremost of creatures to draw the breath of life on the earth, but for man as the worshipper, as the servant, as the conscious and devout adorer of Him who has created him in His own image; for man as the place for worship which may reclaim, and purify, and uplift his fallen nature; which may bring him into communion with his Father and his God; a place where all that appeals to his highest earthly sense may enable him to forget the things of sense, and reach out to what eye hath not seen or ear heard. And for so bold an apparent inversion of the letter, in order to bring home to our minds the inner spirit of the words, I may surely plead the example of Him who taught His people that the seventh day, which was proclaimed at Sinai to be the Sabbath of the Lord our God, was, for all that, made for man, and that the Son of Man was Lord also of the Sabbath.

(Dean Bradley.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.

WEB: David the king said to all the assembly, "Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great; for the palace is not for man, but for Yahweh God.

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