Summary: Dwelling with God is not a matter of me building a home for Him, it is a matter of God building His home in me.
This week I ran across this picture on Pinterest and I’d like to get your opinion on it.
[Show picture with this caption: “When you take care of God’s house, God will take care of your house.”]
I’m not going to ask for a show of hands, but I’d like for all of you to think about that statement for a moment and determine whether you think that statement is true or not.
Here’s another one that is similar, but slightly different:
[Show picture with caption: “Build God’s House, God will build your House.”]
How does that one strike you? [Pause]. Now let me show you the entire picture. Does that change your opinion at all?
Some of you are probably already asking why does this even matter? What harm could possibly come from that kind of thinking? After all, shouldn’t we be in the business of building God’s house?
I want you to keep these sayings in mind as we look at God’s Word this morning and then I’m going to show them to you at the end of the message and see if your opinion has changed at all.
In order to help us evaluate these statements in light of what the Bible has to say, we’re going to look at the account of someone who seemed to believe that these statements were true and see how God responds to his way of thinking.
A couple weeks ago we left off with the account of Israel’s first king, King Saul. Because of his partial obedience, which was viewed by God as disobedience, God told Saul that the kingdom was going to be taken away from him and his family and given to another. And that’s exactly what happened.
Shortly thereafter, God summoned Samuel to go the house of Jesse, where God directed him to anoint Jesse’s youngest son, David, to be king. However, David did not actually become king over all Israel until nearly 25 years later at the age of 37.
After he became king, David led the Israelites to victory over the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, which David had established as the capital. God then gave the Israelites a period of rest and during that time David built his palace there in Jerusalem.
That brings us to the passage that we’ll look at this morning – 2 Samuel chapter 7. Many commentators have referred to this chapter as the most important chapter in the Old Testament. And I think we’ll be able to see why as we look at this chapter this morning.
[Read 2 Samuel 7:1-3]
David looks at the splendor of his own palace and compares that to the tent where the Ark of the Covenant is housed. So he decides that he wants to do something for God and build a house for God.
This is the first time we are introduced to Nathan the prophet who had apparently become one of David’s trusted advisors. Most of you know that Nathan will continue to play an important role in David’s life when he later confronts David about his adulteress relationship with Bathsheba. And Nathan, without consulting God, tells David to go for it because the Lord is with him.
Before we proceed any further, let me just say that I think that for the most part David’s motives and his judgment are good. He wanted to do something for God, perhaps even out of gratefulness for what God had done for him. Certainly nothing wrong with that. And he also sought counsel from a prophet, which is also to be commended. But as we’re about to see, there is one fatal flaw in David’s reasoning here, the same one that we are prone to make.
Before we identify that fatal flaw, we need to point out that in these first three verses the stage is set for a couple of word plays that will be woven all throughout this chapter.
The first word that will be used throughout this passage is the verb “dwell”. However, what may very well be the most important use of that verb in this passage is difficult to see in our English translations, because it is translated differently there. I’ll point that out when we get there. That verb is used three times here in the first three verses:
v.1 – …the king lived (Hebrew yasab) in his house (Hebrew bayit)…
v.2 – …I dwell (yasab) in a house (bayit) of cedar, but the ark dwells (yasab)…
The second is the word “house”. As you can see that word appears twice here in the first three verses and it is also implied here that what David wants to do is to build a house for God’s ark.
[Read 2 Samuel 7: 4-9a]