(1 Chronicles 17)
Recently a good friend (you know who you are!) reminded me of a trip I made to Times Square one New Year’s Eve. It turned out to be both a thrilling and terrifying type of night, but it happened 24 years ago and I had sort of forgotten about it. If I’m being honest, I haven’t been up much past 9 PM on any New Year’s Eve since; I’m very serious about bedtime.
So no hats or horns for you today – instead I have a 1 Chronicles 17 New Year’s message of hope and refreshment.
I’ve been camped out in 1 Chronicles 17 for the last month. Every morning I resolve to move on to Chapter 18, only to find my heart beckoned back to 17. It feels rich and beautiful and important there.
The chapter opens with David and his plan. Maybe it’s all of those years of teaching school, but I love a plan. Flexibility is fine – if it’s part of the plan. Change comes hard. Is it just me?
So David has a plan and confirms it with his spiritual counsel. He’s going to build a Temple.
All systems are go . . . until the Lord weighs in and shakes things up by giving David a supernatural look at his past, present, and future.
This might conjure visions of Ebenezer Scrooge’s Ghosts of Christmas (I’m smiling with you here), but David is nothing like Scrooge and the Spirit of God is nothing like the ghosts who clank around in chains in A Christmas Carol.
The Past: God reminds David that He’s taken him from shepherd boy to king, and that He’s been with him and protected him through it all – everywhere and every day.
The Present: God tells David to remove his Temple-building workman’s cap, lay down his Temple-building tools, and pull up a seat to listen. David’s checklist for the day is altered. As it turns out, David is not going to build a Temple.
The Future: God reveals His plan for David’s tomorrow, and it’s a far better plan than David’s ever was. Not so surprising, is it?
So maybe New Year’s Day is the perfect day to step into David’s shoes and examine our own pasts, presents, and futures in a 1 Chronicles 17 kind of way – to examine where we’ve been and where we are, to open our hearts to where we’re headed, and to offer thanks to the One Who never leaves or forsakes us.
For me, it looks something like this:
Thank You, Lord, for Your presence and protection through every fiery circumstance this year. Even when I felt alone, thank You for assuring me that I was not. You know how I love a checklist and how tough this is for me, but I’m releasing my agenda to You for revision. In the struggles and joys of today, help me recognize Your promises fulfilled, Your lovingkindness extended, and Your presence in my circumstances. I am excited to experience what You have in store. I love You.
Perhaps you’ll write your own New Year’s prayer today and find yourself refreshed in a 1 Chronicles 17 kind of way. I hope so.
See you next week.