Ron D Plant

Acts 13: 36 (to "fell asleep")

1 Chronicles 29: 1-5

         Acts 13 is a wonderful chapter in which the apostle Paul is speaking about the glories of Christ and the glory of His resurrection.  But today I refer to one verse in it which refers to David and speaks about him as one who, "having in his own generation ministered to the will of God, fell asleep”.  We are here amidst the generations, and so today we have the evidence of very young ones here through to very old ones.  Of David it says that, in his own generation, he “ministered to the will of God”.  Beloved, there is no greater commendation that could be given to a man or a woman than that in their generation they served the will of God.  The one who had to do with this translation of the Bible, in his early writings, said:

         Lord! let me wait for Thee alone:

         My life be only this -

         To serve Thee here on earth, unknown;

         Then share Thy heavenly bliss.

                      J N Darby (Spiritual Songs)

         The times that David went through were not easy times, neither have been the times of our brother, neither will be the times of any one of us here.  David went through great exercises, he went through exercises with his family, exercises of rejection; he went through exercises where he had to flee for his life.  You can read of all in the account of the life of David.  Our brother’s life has not included these particular things perhaps, but there will have been other things which have entered into it.  Some of us can look back on some of the times, as it again says of David, “and the times that passed over him”, 1 Chron 29: 30.  Sometimes, just for a moment, we should think of that.  There was one thing that sustained David all through it, through times when even his faith failed.  It was his respect for the ark of God.  He learned early, beloved young ones here, about the ark, which speaks of Christ, and of God’s testimony.  It says, “Behold, we heard of it at Ephratah”, Psalm 132: 6.  There are young people here who have heard of the Lord Jesus; they have heard the things connected with Him, they have heard the story of the gospel, they have heard these things, but then it says, “we found it in the fields of the wood”.  David was a man who, from that moment on, spent the whole of the rest of his life, in his generation, in seeking to find a better place for what was for God.  I would like to encourage, especially the younger ones here, as our brother’s generation of which some of us have part is beginning to pass from this scene, to do so too.  What a thing it would be to look upon the younger persons here, to see those who have not only known about the Lord Jesus, not only known about divine truth, but have found it for themselves and who have set their hearts and their lives in relation to serving the will of God.  I do not have the ability, and maybe there are many here who do not have the ability to become great persons here, surgeons, scientists and so on in this world, but you have the opportunity to be one who serves the will of God during the time that you live.  Our brother was one who served the will of God in his generation.  We could ask for no more than that.  That is the commendation that he has and, beloved, I commit to you. 

         I read the scripture in Chronicles because it speaks about David’s contributions.  All the way through his life, through his afflictions which are spoken of earlier, he gathered material for the house of God.  He had a desire to build a better place for God, to find a better place.  The house of God at the present time is not a material building; it involves what is spiritual and moral.  It involves what there is of God, an operative and formative working in the people of God, a dwelling place, where He dwells, where He finds His pleasure and His joy.  If you think of David all through his life, through the conflicts, through the sorrows, through the exercises, through the years, he put something aside from all of it.  He learnt something from all of it, about the God whom he loved.  If you look at chapter 22, there is an immense amount of treasure that he contributed, as he says, “in my affliction … for the house of Jehovah” (1 Chron 22: 14), but here in this chapter I have read he is coming to the end of his life, and he says, “Solomon my son … is young and tender”.  If you look at the younger generations here, if you look at this locality, marked largely by younger men and women, and young families, and you think of generations that are coming along, think of David’s words as he says, “Solomon my son … is young and tender, and the work is great; for this palace is not to be for man, but for Jehovah Elohim”.  Beloved brethren, it is a great thing to know what it is to have the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, to know what it is to have God for you; that is a precious thing, you can fill your life with the joy of that; but it is an even greater thing when you come to the realisation that you are to be for God.  David came, not only to an appreciation of what God was to him, but he comes to serve in his spirit and his life and in what he contributed to what he could be for God.  That is one of the greatest blessings of the present time.  Our beloved brother was one who, through the whole of his life in the testimony, from early days, was committed in relation to what was for God.  These are very fine things to me.  I cannot go into the detail, it is just the scripture that affects me, “I have given of my own property, of gold”.  It was out of his affection for the house of his God.  Affliction had dealt him its lessons, the years that have passed over us have yielded their lessons, but there was something that David had for himself that he had for his own treasure, and he made it available to God.  Beloved friends and brethren, at the present time the richness of what David brought forward here for the completion of the house of God is something which is greatly needed amongst God’s people.  It is not only the structural idea, not only the way things are built up, and the principles which govern things, not only that, but for its adorning.  Our brother loved the adorning, he loved the detail, he loved to speak of Christ.  He was able to take up the precious things and he was able to distinguish them and he was able to lay them out; and he loved it and he enjoyed it.  Beloved brethren, that is a privilege: you and I could enter into that and we could share it as a contribution to the house of God.  So he says, “gold for things of gold” - it was not only the treasure: it was the things that the treasure formed.  I just commend this to you; here it speaks of the quantity that he gave in his affection, and whilst the quantity is less than came out of his affliction, the quality - we have been taught - was higher.  It is a very wonderful thing when the things of God reach our affections, and not only our conscience.   When the things of God touch our affections, then there is a wonderful flow.  Our brother had a part in it, he not only had part in it, but he loved it, and now he is with Christ. 

         It speaks of “the sure mercies of David”, Isa 55: 3.  I wonder what that meant.  David in his lifetime, and in his last words, speaks about the bright hope that he had; he said "And he shall be as the light of the morning ... A morning without clouds; when from the sunshine, after rain, The green grass springeth from the earth”, 2 Sam 23: 4.  He had a hope in his heart that, when all the trouble and the sorrow would cease, there was a wonderful prospect for him.  That was David.  But our brother not only had the promise, but now he has the reality of it.  He found the light of the morning.  Have you got that?  It is something that is our privilege at the present time that we can come into the knowledge and blessedness of "the light of the morning ... A morning without clouds”.  Jesus is in resurrection: we had a word recently that the first resurrection has begun and soon there will be a wondrous host who will be part of it.  Our brother will be among them, and we will be among them, we will be caught up to be forever with the Lord, 1 Thess 4: 17.  Our brother had the light of morning in his heart.  May we all be helped that we might have our part, as this last verse says, “who is willing to offer to Jehovah this day?”.

         May we be encouraged, For His Name’s sake.


26th November 2010

(At the meeting for the burial of Mr John McKay)