“Then David said to the whole assembly, ‘Praise the LORD your God.’ So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king.” – 1 Chronicles 29:20 (NIV)
I finished reading 1 Chronicles today and have spent some time thinking about this 29th and last chapter. It serves as a fitting conclusion to the life of King David, and is a bit of contrast to the description of the end of his life that’s given to us in 1 Kings. In that account, David appears to be a shell of himself, shivering cold and under constant care as he prepares to die. In some ways, 1 Chronicles seems like the edited, made-for-TV version of David’s life, compared to the “director’s cut” version we get in 1 & 2 Samuel. Most of David’s sins and errors are glossed over in 1 Chronicles, but I think this 29th chapter portrays the true heart of this great man of God.
I’m not sure who said this exactly, but I’ve heard it said of David that “he was a great sinner, but also a great repenter”. And we have the Psalms to back up that statement. But there are several things that are clear at the end of his life. David finished his life well. Unlike his son and successor Solomon, David stayed close to God until the end. I love his prayer in this chapter. He also has a heartfelt appreciation for the generous and cheerful giving of the people to the building of the temple. David was a true leader. And although he was rich with money and power, he never forgot where the source of all of his blessings came from:
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chr. 29:14)
When you think of the fate of many of the kings that followed him on the throne, and how several were killed while on the throne and otherwise ruled in a wicked manner, it’s quite a different scene here. Although I’ve read these accounts several times now, I’m always a bit sad to see men like David exit the stage. His death was clearly the end of a great era in Old Testament days. A flawed man for sure, but a great man of prayer, faithfulness and devotion to God.