1 Chronicles 28:9-10 (NLT) | "Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek Him, you will find Him. If your forsake Him, He will reject you forever. So that this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build the Temple as His sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work."
I just love the Old Testament. The ancient stories of God’s people and how His plans continually prevail speak to me in such a relevant way today. There’s always such a significant takeaway from the lessons those people learned. I really love this part where David is instructing Solomon on building the temple. David had just said previously in the same chapter that it was his desire to build God’s temple, and he had made all the preparations to build, and God said 'no'.
I can just feel that deep inside. Have you ever delegated something that you REALLY wanted to handle, to control, to see through? You know how you have that feeling to micromanage the whole thing? To tell the person you’re handing it over to how to do it, when to do it, and how long to do each part? I get the feeling David feels that here. Maybe something like I did the first time I left my seven-month-old firstborn with grandparents while I went to youth camp. I ended up typing out a couple of pages of instructions and including labels on EVERYTHING. I needed this to happen exactly the way I wanted to do it.
I bet David felt that way. It was his baby and his passion that he didn’t get to fulfill.
However, David doesn’t start with the pages and pages of instructions (he gets to that later). He doesn’t take Solomon first thing and show him every single instruction of the plan. What’s so powerful to me in this story that David starts the whole process with this:
“Learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately.”
There’s a great and powerful work to be done, and it starts with an intimate relationship with our Holy God.
We get the “BE strong and DO the work part” that David closes that paragraph with. Most of our life involves a lot of doing and working. In fact, all of the instructions, the details, the doing overtakes almost every part of our lives. We are constantly being strong, handling it, working it, doing it – ALL. Doing is necessary, but sometimes it's easy to get lost in the details of what you’re trying to accomplish, and forget the part about being with God and knowing Him intimately.
Sometimes it’s easier to DO than to BE, right?
It’s easy to cross things off the list, run the errands, be busy. It’s really challenging to sit still and be with God. It’s difficult to sit in the presence of God listening, praying, waiting.
But David had learned the secret. The secret of what we receive when we grow that intimate relationship with God on a daily basis. As we continually to learn to know Him intimately we get to know His voice, which leads us on the path to take, and helps us weed out the distractions and hindrances in that work that we do. We get to know His heart and desires for us. And when we sit and listen to his heart, we develop the ability to hear His voice and His leading with those instructions that follow.
Psalm 37:23 NLT | "The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall because the Lord holds them by the hand.”
He delights in every detail. Think about how much effort we put into the details of our lives. We make each day by ordering all that we are going to do. Work, busy, details, phone calls, taking care of children. All details. But God even orders those daily steps. And we can miss that when we are too busy to be intimately with Him and listen to Him.
I think our time is our most valuable resource. And I bet most of us would call God the
number one priority in our lives. We may do a lot for Him, but He really isn’t first in our lives unless we are investing time with Him.
The year we started our church was very overwhelming to me (understatement!!!!). I was now a pastor’s wife and, of course, I would say, God was my priority. But I was overwhelmed with my circumstances – we moved (hard all by itself), were adjusting to a new place, had two small children, and were starting a church. So much doing.
But I was not waking up everyday, ready to live out the details of my life with purpose, and cultivating that intimacy with God. I was not spending time with Him and the lack of that was obvious in my frazzled life.
My focus was splintered and I was running in my own strength. God got my attention by how I was getting my own kids attention.
My youngest, Chloe, has always run, like, 100 miles an hour. Spinning, twirling, jumping, talking non-stop. She never slows down. To get out the door each I would say, “Chloe, go put your shoes on.” She would never stop to look at me, would zoom down the hall, and I would never see her again. She was distracted, busy.
Again I would say, “Chloe, put your shoes on.”
“Okay, momma.” But, no. She was scurrying around, but no shoes on.
I would have to squat down, make her stop to look at my eyes, focus, and say it again. I had to get her attention and she would obey.
God pointed out to me like a lightning bolt to my heart one day, in the middle of this and that, that I was just like Chloe. He needed my attention. I was going every which direction, but to Him. I needed rest, peace, direction, and help. He was speaking to me all day long, but many times I just wasn’t paying attention. I needed to remember to stop, focus and look to Him. To learn to know my God intimately once again.
Psalm 47:10 | “Be still and know that I am God.”
Out of the Message version it says, “Step out of the rushing traffic and take a long look at God.”
We can’t do this multi-tasking or 'never stopping'. It says "step away from it all and take a long look". Give Him your attention and spend some time. That is so hard. It’s counter-intuitive to our minds as we are doing this big work.
But time spent with Him is worth it. Investing time in building intimacy with God invites the supernatural God to move miraculously in your everyday details.
Casey Graves is a wife, momma to two girls, and co-pastor/planter of Foundations Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She enjoys a good cup of coffee with a friend or a family date day when she finds some spare time. What draws her to Sanctuary is her desire to truly share her vulnerabilities and struggles to help others dealing with similar wounds and insecurities that come with ministry. Casey recently published her first book, Perfectly Weak, now available at Amazon, and blogs at We Are Perfectly Weak.