In today's reading of I Chronicles 26-29 we see the incredible detail and organization in which king David's kingdom has operated. Thousands and thousands serve and each has been strategically fitted into a specific position. King David has elected hundreds of leaders to ensure that nothing is overlooked. The standard of excellence is in everything. Israel has risen to become a world power under David's leadership. Now David is stepping down, he is handing over the rule of the kingdom to his son Solomon. David has worked diligently to position Solomon to be a great successful king. Solomon has zero experience and the responsibility will be great, but the Lord has spoken to David that Solomon is to be the next king. I found the words that David speaks to his son Solomon in front of all Israel to be so powerful.
I Chr 28:8 "So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever."
They say if you want to know what is most important to a person then listen carefully to their last words. These are David's last words as king of Israel. What is David saying?
He has told Solomon that if he will follow all of God's commands they will possess this good land...forever. David's mindset was this land is part of our inheritance from the Lord. It was given to us as a gift from God. If we obey His commands, this land will always be a possession for the righteous. For how long? Forever...
The significance of the earth in biblical times was very different than how most Christians view the earth today. David looked at the earth as an eternal possession for the righteous. Many Christians today, believe that our time left here on earth is short. 3-5 years tops and then we are out of here, heaven bound. Many already have their bags packed and are just waiting to leave.
As we see in I Chronicles, David has designed and built a kingdom with the intent to possess the land. He tells Solomon to carefully follow the Lord's commands so the earth will always remain a possession for them and their descendants..forever. David wrote songs with this same mindset.
Ps.37:9(nkjv)"For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth."
Those who do evil will be removed, but those who wait on the Lord will be given the earth as an inheritance. Has God given the righteous the earth as an inheritance to possess? In Proverbs we learn that Solomon carried this same mindset.
Prv.10:30(nkjv)"The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth."
Solomon's proverb taught that it was the unrighteousness that were going to be removed. The righteous would always inhabit the earth.
Just a side note on heaven. Many times in scripture we see references to heaven being destroyed or passing away. This is not referring to the streets of gold, or the city of God. This is referring to the created realm above the earth. The sky, clouds and beyond.
Now when Jesus came He declared, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Mt 24:35
If Jesus tells us that the earth is going to pass away, how can the earth be our possession forever? The earth in its present form will be destroyed eventually. In fact the earth we now live in is not in its original form. The earth has been destroyed once since it was originally created.
2 Pet.2:4-5(NIV)"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if He did not spare the ancient world when we brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others"
The earth, God originally created has already been destroyed once. Peter refers to it as the "ancient world". It was destroyed by the flood. The rainbow is a reminder of God's promise never again to destroy the earth by water. When the ancient world was destroyed, the earth was cleansed of unrighteousness. The ungodly were destroyed, Noah and his family were left to inhabit the new earth.
So the earth has passed away once and it is going to pass away again. God has promised us that He will destroy this present earth with fire. Just as God cleansed the earth of unrighteousness once in the days of Noah, God is going to do it again.
2 Pet.3:5-7(NIV)"But we deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."
God is very clear that the earth is going to be destroyed by fire. But, how can we be sure that this is not the end of the earth? I would recommend reading all of 2 Peter chapters 2-3. Peter tells us after the destruction of this present earth, the new earth will be revealed, a home of righteousness. God will remove the ungodly once again, and the righteous will possess the earth.
2 Pet.3:12b-13(NIV)"That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."
So the question to consider is: are we leaving this old world behind or has God given us this land as a possession? And are we leaving to go live with God or is He coming to live with us? When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He told them to pray "your kingdom come"(Matthew 6:9) We are to pray that God's kingdom will come to earth. In Hebrews, God's word says that we are looking for a city that is to come.
Heb.13:14(NIV)"For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."
This is the city that we often describe as heaven. It is the city that Revelations describes as having streets of gold. Let's take a look at the Revelations account, the coming of this wonderful city as it enters into the earth.
Rev.21:1-4(NIV)"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
This is the city that we refer to as "heaven". At the end of John's vision from God, John sees this city coming down to the earth from out of the sky. A loud voice from the throne says, now God will live with His people. Consider this question once again; are we leaving to go live with God or is He coming to live with us?
David had a mindset that the earth was a gift to us from God, and that as long as we carefully followed His commands that we would always possess the earth.
What is your mindset? Are you committed to building His kingdom here in the earth or have you already packed your bags?