Many times in the Bible the Lord directs very pointed questions to specific individuals. I find it interesting and helpful and convicting to pay attention to the context and the answers to those questions. David gets his share of them. Second Samuel 7 recounts a time when David is firmly established as a powerful king; the nation of Israel was at peace; and David had moved into his newly constructed palace. David had leisure to consider the fact that he was living in a palace of cedar while the Lord’s Ark of the Covenant was being housed in a tent. Rightfully, David was troubled by that. David consulted with the prophet Nathan about his plans to rectify the situation. Thankfully David was using his leisure time much more wisely than he had not too long before. You might remember his looking at Bathsheba from his rooftop. It appears that David has grown from simply King to King and Shepherd. Nathan initially gave his approval to David’s plan, but a night time word from the Lord changed Nathan’s mind.
Nathan was instructed to pass along a couple of questions from the Lord to David. One simply asked, “Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?” In the second question the Lord asked David to recount a time when the Lord had asked him, or any of the previous leaders of Israel, to build a house of cedar for Him. I guess these two questions could be interpreted to indicate some anger or displeasure by the Lord against David but I don’t think so. Later, God would tell David that he would not be allowed to build a house for the Lord because he was a man of war and a man of bloodshed. I think God is using this occasion, this offer from David, not to criticize David, but rather to point out a great theological truth about the coming Messiah.
The Lord proceeded to point out to David that He rather than David would be the one to build a house, meaning the Lord was going to establish a lineage for David. Certainly the Lord’s house on earth, The Temple, would be built by David’s son, Solomon. That is clear but it is equally clear that the Lord is teaching the great truth that the Savior of the world would come from David’s house and that the Savior would build a much more important house, the true house, the spiritual house that would be “a house for the Lord’s Name.”
Was the Lord displeased that David was offering something that the Lord had never asked for? Or was the Lord taking this opportunity to reward David? I think that our gracious and loving and merciful Lord was letting David in on a wonderful secret, giving him a glimpse into the future seeing that his line would be blessed far beyond his imagination. That promise may not seem like a huge deal to us, but make no mistake about it, it was huge to a Hebrew, especially a Hebrew king. I think the Lord was helping David and us to understand that His imagination and His ability are much greater than David’s or ours. David’s and our feeble attempts to serve the Lord, to put Him first, show Him that we are capable of receiving a showering of His love and blessing. Yes, you read that correctly, often we are not ready, not capable, of receiving blessing. Receiving blessing without being ready can lead to spoiling of our character. The Lord owns the whole world. He created it all. He has never relinquished control over one speck of it. He stands in readiness, willing, and able to shower us with divine favor. Please make yourself ready to be able to receive it by aligning your priorities with His, desiring to please Him, and by serving Him. As we learned from David’s failure with Bathsheba, so should we learn from David’s desire to serve the Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.