David had brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel and he realized he lived in an amazing cedar home but the Ark stayed in a tent, the Tabernacle. He wanted to build a cedar house for the Ark. Let’s read about it in 2 Samuel 7. Verses 1-3 read,
Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
David was excited for his idea. He checked with Nathan the prophet and Nathan was excited for the project and assumed God’s approval. Why wouldn’t God approve of being glorified with a home constructed of the finest Cedar? How often have we said to ourselves “God is with me, I should do whatever is in my heart?” Our plans are not always God’s plans, even when they appear to be what He would want. Verses 4-7 read,
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
First, though David had the idea and not a command, and Nathan presumed God’s approval rather than inquire, The Lord was gentle with them both. He spoke to Nathan in a dream and gave him the message for David. He could have given David the message directly since David was also a prophet (Acts 3:20). But he included Nathan in the honor of receiving His Word and discipline.
God told David and Nathan He had never had a ‘house’ before and He had done His great works, miracles, and care for His people without having one. He had never asked for one. Sometimes we think we are doing something great for God. But what can we do for God, really? God doesn’t need us to do a thing for Him. It is His people He wants us to do and care for. What could we imagine God needs from us? Stephen said it this way in Acts 7:48-50,
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’
We do not find God by doing what we assume He needs. He doesn’t need anything. We find God by seeking what He wants and wills. We repent. We abide in Him, spend time with Him, read His Word, listen to Him, and share our heart with Him as He shares His heart with us. We draw close to Him and He will draw close to us (James 4:8). Paul said it this way in Acts 17:24-28,
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
God had chosen David for an important job. He had chosen someone else to build His Temple. If David had built it, it would not have been as God commanded. It would have taken Solomon’s job away from Him. David was not right for the job of building the Temple. Other than already having a great job for God, he was disqualified from building the Temple because he was a warrior as God had made him. God wanted no human blood or war on the Temple. He wanted the Temple to be built by His provision not men’s efforts. He wanted a house of peace and prayer. In 1 Chronicles 28:2-5 David said,
“Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God, and I made preparations for building. 3 But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ 4 Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me from all my father's house to be king over Israel forever. For he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father's house, and among my father's sons he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.
David, the warrior king, the shepherd king, and the man after God’s own heart had been chosen to establish Israel’s throne to seed the Messiah who would be the Eternal King and Lion of Judah. Verses 8-11a read,
Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel.
God had great plans for David and he was fulfilling them. He had great plans for the Davidic line as well; The Messiah would come out of this line. The Lord spoke and gave David a beautiful promise about the Messiah Jesus and also about David’s son Solomon Verses 11b-14a read,
And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.
The Lord doesn’t need anything from you or me! He gives us rest. He builds us a house. Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4).
Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit and established His house in us to dwell in us. We are the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). In doing so, He cares for us and He sanctifies us. That requires love and discipline. God becomes our Father and we His sons and daughters. Verses 14-17 read,
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
David wanted to build the Temple. But that wasn’t the plans God had for him. David was disappointed but God had encouraged the king by reminding him of his great purpose and by telling him the Temple would be built by his son. God had encouraged David by showing him a glimpse of Jesus. He encouraged the king by telling him it would be He who made a house for David and not David who made a house for God.
Why would God allow one person to do what you desire to do, but not you? David’s prayer of praise to God answers that for us. Verses 18-21 read,
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! 20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! 21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.
The Lord showed David His greatness. He showed Israel His greatness and He showed the world His greatness. God will be glorified through His promises, through His will and through our obedience to Him. Maybe you want to begin that ministry, but maybe God wants Susie B to have that ministry because He knows the future and how it will flourish and be done as He wants in her hands. He has something different for you that will thrive in your hands and glorify Him all the more. God is bigger and better than we can imagine! He knows more and He knows better. He will let you become who you are meant to be (the image of Christ) and He will have you fulfill your purposes if you submit to His will, not yours. Verses 22-29 read,
Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? 24 And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God. 25 And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. 26 And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27 For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 29 Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”
Believer, God has made you promises. God has made a new covenant with you. Trust Him to keep His word and complete His work in you. Be about your Father’s business, and let Him make His business yours.