2 Samuel 7:1-16 A Heart of Gold
2 Samuel 7:1-16
1 When King David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies, 2 the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!” 3 Nathan replied to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.”
4 But that same night the Lord said to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: Are you the one to build a house for me to live in? 6 I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day. I have always moved from one place to another with a tent and a Tabernacle as my dwelling. 7 Yet no matter where I have gone with the Israelites, I have never once complained to Israel’s tribal leaders, the shepherds of my people Israel. I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?”’ 8 “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! 10 And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, 11 starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. “‘Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 12 For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. 15 But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. 16 Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.
David, having built himself a stately home realizes the disparity between the Ark’s dwelling conditions and his. He immediately consultes Nathan, the court prophet who readily approves his proposal. God gently puts down David’s ideas by explaining to him what truly pleases Him. God is not concerned about the external facet, and how the world perceives Him. He desires to build a secure and prosperous Israel and a Davidic dynasty that will never end. Today’s passage teaches us to above all focus on creating a heart of gold, that is pure and gracious, where God desires to dwell in.
I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent! – The Ark is now in Jerusalem and placed within tent curtains. David could not accept that the Ark, which is the symbol of God’s presence, should dwell in spartan conditions. Hence, it seems good and appropriate to provide a statelier dwelling place fit for the God of Israel. Moreover, a nation that lacks a proper temple for her god is bordering on being regarded as culturally inferior. Nathan, who is a “court prophet” readily agrees with the proposition.
I have always moved from one place to another with a tent and a Tabernacle as my dwelling – What is most appropriate in the eyes of a man, may not bode well with God for His ways are different! God retorts that ever since the days of Moses when they come out of Egypt, His presence has always been dwelling in a portable sanctuary: a tabernacle. God reserves the right to decide or to initiate how and where He should be accommodated.
I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel – God further substantiates His sovereign initiative by recounting His guidance in David’s life: I took you from the pasture,… to be ruler. And He will continue to initiate and guide David to greatness: and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men. Concerning the people of Israel, God will establish the nation in peace and safety: and I will give you rest from all your enemies.
Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you — a dynasty of kings! – God continues to make known His sovereign initiative. David really did not expect that God would build David a house – a dynasty of kings! God makes known in no uncertain terms that his kingdom will be established by one of David’s descendent: I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring. And the kingdom will be strengthened and secured by God’s own hand forever: and I will make his kingdom strong… And I will secure his royal throne forever. This descendent will be chosen by God to build a house – a temple for His dwelling. The descendent that will rule forever on the throne is none other than Christ, whose temple is His own body, which is the church. God will appoint Christ as the King of kings whose throne will be secure forever. God makes known His favor to David’s descendent, and as a loving father will administer discipline. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod; NASB translates as rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, which infers the strokes that Christ suffered that also sanctified Him (see Hebrews 5:8). However, that does not imply that Christ is inclined towards sin, but rather it is in the area of wisdom that God’s loving discipline applies. Luke records concerning Christ’s development, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52).
- God does not take pleasure dwelling in opulent buildings but in those who love Him. Churches go to great extents to raise funds so that they could build grand worship places supposing that all may see God’s glory. Unfortunately, many of these churches that take this position start to go downhill because they focus on the “growth of the church” rather than the growth of individuals. David’s proposition in building a temple stems from his inadequate understanding of what truly pleases God. God is not like the common man; He does not take pleasure in the grandeur of an opulent temple that could house the masses that gather to offer sacrifices: I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?” Instead, He takes joy in establishing a prosperous and secure nation where individuals walk in truth and in love. He goes to great lengths to make known to David what truly pleases Him: And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed; He desires to dwell in the midst of a people who loves Him. Therefore, churches must forsake their shallow and selfish ambitions and make the spiritual growth of individuals and social work the purpose of their organization. God desires to dwell in a people who love Him and who give themselves to the work of charity.
- God has in store blessings in this life for those who are like-minded and in the life to come eternal glory. David desires to build something for God, but little did he expect that God would build him an everlasting dynasty through which David’s name is forever carved in the heaven’s hall of glory. David gave, but received much more in return. He gave what is temporal and corruptible in exchange for an enduring legacy that is forever glorified in heaven. This shows that a generous and gracious person does not become poorer even when he gives, because God will restore to him many times more in this life and in the age to come, eternal glory. Jesus says to His disciples,
And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30
God is attracted to one who loves Him and who loves the people. God is determined to bless the one who pushes himself relentlessly to build a place of security for all.
- Do you take joy and pride in possessing a luxurious house or a house that is simple and practical? Are you sensitive about where you are living for fear of being judged by others? Perhaps, it is time to consider adopting God’s values system. What is considered valuable in the eyes of the society is external and shallow. But God values what is in the heart. Hence, we must focus on creating a pure heart, a fitting home for the King of the world.
- Do you find the giving of your tithes and offering a joyful act because of what God has done for you? Or do you lament the loss of material wealth that you could have otherwise gained.
Dear Lord, I desire my heart to be a place where you could dwell in freedom to express your glory, love and power to the world. As I endeavor to build a heart full of love and purity, build me an enduring legacy to rule the world with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.