“Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” 1 Chr 29:10-12
David understood that everything he had, at the end of his life: the kingdom, power, submission of the nations round about, glory and renown, the love of his people, his many sons and his riches and all the honor that was to his name – belonged to the LORD, and the LORD had given it to him, but he didn’t own it. He was a steward of it, because it belonged to the LORD (1 Chr 29:10-15).
When we think of our role as stewards for God, we tend to think only of material things – the money, the house, the car. But we are also stewards of the people God has put in our care. We are stewards of the reputation God has given us. We are stewards of the honor of the LORD’s name. In other words, it is our job to take care of these things – people, name, honor, power – with care and respect, because even though we might possess them for a time, they really don’t belong to us. So because we are stewards, we are responsible to see that they suffer no degradation under our stewardship, and if possible that they increase in greatness under our stewardship, because the LORD will be glorified by it.
And because David understood that he was a steward, it gave him joy to give 3000 talents of gold to the LORD for the building of His Temple out of his personal fortune. A talent was the largest unit of currency in ancient days. It was equal to 10,000 denarii. A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer.
So in today’s money, let’s set a day’s wage for a laborer at $10 /hour x 8 hours. That’s $80.00. $80 x 10,000 is $800,000. That is the value of one talent. David gave 3000 talents of gold from his personal fortune, besides the great quantity of silver. Just in gold, the value in today’s money is equal to $2,400,000,000.00. That is, if I am reading this number rightly, nearly 2 and a half billion dollars. And that is just the gold of one man! That doesn’t count the silver and precious stones.
We don’t realize, reading the Bible, that the glory of David was so great, and that he was the ancient world’s first billionaire. Then when we see how much was given by the elders of Israel, we realize that the glory of the Temple that Solomon built was very great indeed. For magnificence of wealth and splendor, it was the premier building in the ancient world.
It ought to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, since its magnificence was so much greater than the others on the list. But because it was of Hebrew construction and not Greek or pagan, it is not on the list. Anti- semitism has long roots that go way back in time!