We tend to give only passing attention to our Chronicles readings because our other chapters in Ezekiel 38 and John 4 provoke so much thought. But in Chronicles we have the end of David’s life. Consider the scene: he had made great provision for building the Temple, others had followed his example and “the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord” (1 Chronicle 29:9).

Now consider carefully how David offers the final public prayer of his life. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name” (verses 11-13).

We should take note of the sudden change of thought in the prayer. David’s mind, his vision of life and all that life really is, causes him to say, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding” (verse 14,15). Compare these thoughts with Psalm 17, especially noting his last verse.

David knew the reality of the human condition. Next, he becomes personal about his relationship with God. “I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you … direct their hearts toward you” (verses 17,18).

May we, in our prayers, plead with our Lord to direct the hearts of our brethren and sisters towards Him. As the storm clouds gather over this evil world, may our prayers grow urgent – bearing in mind the last two verses of the momentous chapter we read today in Ezekiel 38: “With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgement … So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”