Summary: In this chapter Nathan presents two different oracles from God to David, tied together by different understandings of the word "house." David wants to build a house for God; God instead intends to build David's house.
2 SAMUEL 7: 1-17 [The Life of David]
WHEN GOD SAYS NO TO OUR DREAMS
In this chapter Nathan presents two different oracles from God to David, tied together by different understandings of the word "house." David wants to build a house for God; God instead intends to build David's house.
It's a wonderful thing to dream of doing something to honor God. Now for the first time since ascending the throne David was in a position to do something that had probably been in his heart for a long time. He was established in his new house and secure from his Philistine enemies. What should David do for God in this interlude of calm and peace?
Often people come to this place in their lives and become bored and restless. Rather than using their stability as a base from which to do good, they focus on themselves in an effort to become more secure or find more pleasure. David though wanted to use his time, resources, and knowledge to honor God. I have known a score of Christians who have come to a place in their lives where they wanted to do something special for God. [Chafin, Kenneth. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol 8: 1, 2 Samuel. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 258.]
Let's look and learn from David's noble attempt to do something, extravagant, something extraordinary for the God who had in His time established him.
I. A Concern for God's House, 1-3.
II. A Heaven-Sent Correction, 4-7.
III. A Prophecy to Consider, 8-11.
IV. A Divine Covenant, 11c-17.
With time to think David began to consider what was the most important thing, the most important undertaking he could do for God and his people. Verse 1: "Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies,"
David was very conscious of God's presence in his life. After David had become well settled in Jerusalem and was enjoying a period of peace, his thoughts turned to the idea of building a more permanent structure in which the Lord could reside among His people.
So he calls his friend and confidant, the prophet Nathan, to discuss the project with him in verse 2. "the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains."
One of the factors that caused him to declare his interest and intention to Nathan was the contrast between the house in which he now lived and the tent that he had provided for the ark of God David felt the tent was no longer suitable, especially in comparison with his own elaborate palace of cedar.
Not everyone is bothered by the contrast between their opulent lifestyle and the neglect of the church. David's attitude would have thrilled the prophet Haggai who railed against God's people because they built for themselves "paneled houses" while the temple lay in ruins (Hag. 1:2–4).
It isn't hard to see why Nathan was impressed by David's desire and gave his blessing to the project in verse 3. ‘Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you."
That's a good friend. Good friends encourage you and vice versa. He knew that David want to serve and please God. So the prophet Nathan encouraged him to do what was on his heart.
Notice the godliness of David. During this season of rest, he meditating on God's word. Then he mulls over godly matters in the presence of a godly man. The way a man spends his leisure time says a great deal about him. In Psalm 119:63, David declared that his friends were those who feared God.
II. A Heaven Sent Correction, 4-7.
Now 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 and wants to encourage his friend. This doesn't mean Nathan is a false prophet. It simply means there needs to be evaluation and confirmation regarding any dream or plan we have.
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. Well, let's look at what God has to say to David in verses 4-7. "But in the same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying,  "Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord, "Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in?  "For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle.  "Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?' "