Summary: God will build David a house. God is building us into his Royal household. But just as Solomon’s temple was built through the labours of many, so too, God uses us to build his church. Both are true at the same time. God builds, we labour and the Church gr
Today being our AGM, I want us to think about what it is that we’re doing here as a church. Who do we see ourselves as? What do we think our job is as the people of God? What part does God play in what we’re doing and what part do we play. And we’re going to begin by looking at 2 Sam 7.
As ch7 begins we find David settled in his new palace in his new capital city. The LORD has given him rest from all his enemies. And so he’s got time to think. And he decides that the time has come to build a house suitable for the LORD to live in. Remember that up until now the ark has been kept in a tent, which was fine while the people of Israel were living in tents, but now that they’re settled in the city he thinks it’s time to build a house for the ark to be placed in.
So he calls for his spiritual advisor, Nathan the prophet, and says, "What do you think?" Well, Nathan thinks that sounds like a great idea. After all, the Lord is with him. So he’s sure to be right. And what could be better than to build a house for the Lord. Interestingly, a few hundred years later the prophet Haggai will be complaining to the people of Israel that they’re living happily in their paneled houses while the Lord’s house lies in ruins. And here David’s already thought about giving God a house as good as his own. And so Nathan is sure that it’s the right thing to do.
Except for one thing. It isn’t! Nathan has jumped in too soon. He’s made the mistake that many of us make, of assuming that just because something sounds like a good thing it must be what God wants, without first asking God what he thinks. Nathan hasn’t asked God what he thinks. He hasn’t prayed about it. He just thinks it’s a good idea.
So Nathan gets a shock when that night the word of the Lord comes to him, to tell him that no, he doesn’t want David to build him a house. And why doesn’t he want him to build it at this point in time? Well, let’s look at what God has to say to David.
"Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6I 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 and a tabernacle. 7Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"
God doesn’t want David to build him a house. He has a tabernacle to live in, the tabernacle that he instructed Moses to build for him.
I’m reminded of what we saw last week, when they decided to carry the ark on a cart rather than on poles and when Uzzah thought that it was his job to protect God. Now David thinks it’s his job to house God. Never mind that God has already told them how to house him. A tent just isn’t good enough. But, you see, God doesn’t want to be tied down to a building. He doesn’t want to be domesticated. He’s happy to be able to move around among the people. He’s the living God; who can never be tied down to one place.
What’s more, David has it back to front again. He’s in danger of forgetting the nature of their relationship. David is where he is today because God has taken him from the pasture, from being a shepherd boy, to become the king of Israel. God is the one who’s brought him this peace, this rest from his enemies. What’s more, God isn’t finished with him yet. Not only is God planning to give him rest from his enemies, he’s going to make his name great: "9and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth."
David mustn’t think that God needs him. Rather, he still needs God to finish the work he’s doing for him. And there’s more: "11Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house." Far from David building a house for God, God plans to make a house for him. Perhaps he means the Temple that Solomon will build, but more likely he doesn’t mean a physical house at all. Rather he mean a royal house, a dynasty. The house that God will give David is the royal household of Israel. He’s going to set up the house of David. He’s going to give David a son who’ll establish his kingdom forever.