2 Samuel 7:1-7: After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 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.”
But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying: “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. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
I’m reaching back into the Old Testament for today’s devotional theme. This is a story that you may or may not be familiar with, but it has great relevance for us today. King David is now firmly in place as the king of Israel. Those loyal to King Saul have been defeated and David moves to establish Jerusalem as his capital city. He brings the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem and thus brings Israel’s religious, political, and military authority under his control. From lowly shepherd boy to the king of Israel, it’s quite a remarkable run for King David. With his kingdom firmly established, David turns his attention towards building a great house for God.
King David has a grand idea; he wants to build a temple for God where He can be properly worshipped. David may feel guilty that while he is living in such a beautiful palace, God is residing under a tent, in the Ark of the Covenant. Did you notice what David and the prophet Nathan neglected to do in the first couple of verses? They failed to pray and seek God’s guidance and direction. David disclosed to Nathan his plan and Nathan endorsed it without taking into account, God’s thoughts on the matter. It seemed like a good plan to honor God but the king or the prophet should have thought about seeking God’s approval first.
Remember that the Ark contained the two tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written and it was a visible reminder to the Israelites that God was present with them. Ever since the Israelites fled Egypt and wandered through the desert, the Ark of the Covenant had been housed within the tabernacle, which was a portable structure that the Israelites carried as they traveled. God was accustomed to moving around, free and unrestricted. It seems that God is not pleased with these human plans and He asks them a rhetorical question: “Wherever I have moved with all of the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’” Our plans and God’s plans are not always the same.
Why do you think God so quickly rebuffed David’s building plans? Was it a rejection of the plans or was it David as the builder that God was rejecting? In 1 Chronicles 22:5-8, David explains that God did not want him to build the temple because David had shed much blood and had fought in many wars. God revealed that David’s son, King Solomon, would be the one to build the temple. Like David, God had a plan to build a temple, but God would accomplish it in a different way.
How often in your own life has God said, “No” to your plans in order to grant you success and blessings in a different way? God’s “no” is often difficult to hear and understand. We think that we know what’s best for us but we come to realize that God sees things in a completely different way than we do. God stands above time and we can’t possible comprehend how God works out all things in order to place us exactly where He wants us. Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. So don’t despair or lose hope when you plans don’t correspond to God’s plans. You will likely go through some difficult times to arrive where God wants you to be, but in the end, you will find that God’s way is the only way.
Romans 12:12 (ESV): Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 15:13 (ESV): May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV): But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.