House of David – 2 Samuel 7

Chronologically this chapter would have been best suited to read after the next chapter’s events which recounts David’s victory over the neighbouring countries. After David had secured his capital, brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem and built himself a luxurious palace with the choicest wood, he wanted to build a House for God to rest in. However, it was the Lord who had given him victory over his enemies and had brought peacetime upon Israel. Rather than using this time to get reacquainted with God, David wanted to occupy himself with another time-consuming activity of building a temple that God never asked of him.

Is there something wrong with the desire to build a temple for the Lord? It is when it does not align with God’s will for our lives. The instructions that God gave to Moses were a tent or a tabernacle that symbolised His presence among the Israelites. The instructions about the Ark of the covenant as well, which was to be carried on the shoulders of the priestly clan. God did not want to live in a dedicated building in the corner of a city but wanted to live amongst His people in the centre of their camp. In the ancient world and for that matter even today, building a structure meant as a place of worship for a diety is fairly common.

The Philistines had temples for their gods built centuries before David’s desire for a place of worship. Perhaps seeing the world around him, David also wanted something similar for his God and country. We want to replicate the practices of this world to be one with it. We label it differently and quote examples from the Bible while creating our own customs and traditions. We must examine the reason and motive for our desires. Is it love for God or envy for the world and its practices? Remember that God wants our first fruits of everything and not our secondhand desires that we emulate from the traditions of this world.

We can relate to David’s urge to do something in return for God but we keep forgetting that there is nothing that God wants from us but our hearts. We feel that our tithes, offerings and even our ministries are a substitute for us spending time with our Father. Oftentimes when we are getting closer to God, satan will put an idea into our mind that consumes our time and energy and leaves us with no time to give to God. David thought that his idea was for the benefit of both God and Israel but he was seeing himself up for failure by not listening to the voice of God.

he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”

2 Samuel 7:2-3 (NIV)

Nathan’s reply to David is a very dangerous statement to tell someone in power if they are not connected with God. It is interesting to note that Nathan did not consult God before haphazardly responding to David’s desire to build the temple of God. He may have assumed that this is what God also wanted, a temple made by “the man after His heart”. As the prophet of Israel, it was his job to consult God whenever the king had any query but he short-circuited his responsibility when he assumed the Lord’s answer.

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.

2 Samuel 7:5-6 (NIV)

God was not limited to a tent but was the omnipresent caretaker of His people. However, the immature faith of the Israelites, made their understanding of God and His presence limited to a tent. God wants to dwell amidst His people and at that time was working within the scope of knowledge and maturity. He did the same with Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac and does the same also today with us as He reveals His glory to us according to our faith and maturity. The Lord responded to David through His prophet Nathan according to their maturity level.

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

2 Samuel 7:8-11 (NIV)

Though David thought God’s words were for his immediate descendants, what he did not realise was that prophecy was much weaker. Wicked people continued to press David and his descendants till they were made slaves and taken to Babylon. God allowed them to be overtaken when they moved away from Him. They were a total of twenty kings from his house that sat on the throne of Judah till Nebuchadnezzar destroyed his kingdom completely. Surely God could not have been talking about David’s kingdom on this earth but His final and everlasting kingdom ushered in by Jesus of Nazareth another one of David’s descendants.

Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

2 Samuel 7:17 (NIV)

We all have been told since our childhood that David was a man after God’s own heart but then why does he need an interpreter or seer to talk to our Lord. David had clung to God’s word ever since he was a child and whenever there were times of trouble God would always bail him out of his current predicament. Even when he was on the run from Saul, he would always consult God before making his next moves. But after becoming the king of Israel, something changed deep within him. He did not consult God before taking the giant step of relocating the Ark which resulted in the loss of life. The distance between God and David only seems to be growing as God shoots down his idea of building a temple in Jerusalem as well. Is our connection with God that weak that we need someone else to tell the will of God for our lives or have made ourselves open so that God can reach us at any point in our lives.

David’s Prayer

“How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel —the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?

2 Samuel 7:22-23 (NIV)

The people of Israel believed that they were special because the Lord had chosen among all the other nations of the world. But they have it wrong as they were ordinary people till God chose them to redeem the world of their sins. It is like Elvis walking into a music store and picking up a random guitar and playing with it. Before that point, the guitar would have been sold at the normal selling price printed on the box but after it had been played by the king the price would have skyrocketed as it was something special now. We must remind ourselves that we were worthless before Jesus came into our lives and made us whole. Having false belief in our own righteousness will always lead us away from the path of God as satan will use our egos to ‘set us apart’.

“And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever.

2 Samuel 7:25-26 (NIV)

David thanked God as he had received the answer he was looking for. His house would be blessed and his descendants will rule over the land. He even says to the Lord to do as He has promised for the sake of His name. Sometimes we also pray in a similar fashion to cajole God into keeping His promise to us. God is not like our early bosses who need cajoling but He has planned our lives much ahead of us and if He is promising us something He will definitely deliver if we stay on His path. But like David, people want the blessing of God regardless of their choice as they don’t want to bear the consequences of their actions.

Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”

2 Samuel 7:29 (NIV)

Discussion Questions

7:2 – Why does David want to build a temple? Is there something wrong with the desire to build a temple for the Lord?
7:3 – Why is Nathan saying “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you”, without consulting God?
7:6 – Was God limited to a tent?
7:17 – Why is God not talking to David directly but through Nathan?
7:23 – Were the nation of Israel special that God chose them?


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