1 After the king had made himself at home, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look at this: Here I am comfortable in a luxurious palace of cedar and the Chest of the Covenant of God sits under a tent.”
2 Nathan told David, “Whatever is on your heart, go and do it; God is with you.”
3-6 But that night, the word of God came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell my servant David, This is God’s word on the matter: You will not build me a ‘house’ to live in. Why, I haven’t lived in a ‘house’ from the time I brought up the children of Israel from Egypt till now; I’ve gone from one tent and makeshift shelter to another. In all my travels with all Israel, did I ever say to any of the leaders I commanded to shepherd Israel, ‘Why haven’t you built me a house of cedar?’
7-10 “So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-theAngel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you; and now I’m about to make you famous, ranked with the great names on earth. I’m going to set aside a place for my people Israel and plant them there so they’ll have their own home and not be knocked around anymore; nor will evil nations afflict them as they always have, even during the days I set judges over my people Israel. And finally, I’m going to conquer all your enemies.
10-14 “And now I’m telling you this: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you’re buried with your ancestors, then I’ll raise up your child to succeed you, a child from your own body, and I’ll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom’s rule forever. I’ll be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. I will never remove my gracious love from him as I did from the one who preceded you. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will always be there, rock solid.”
15 Nathan gave David a complete and accurate report of everything he heard and saw in the vision.
1 Chronicles 17
David was in a good place. As confirmed by the prophet Nathan, whatever he does according to this heart – God will be with him. Can you imagine the confidence one must feel, especially for a king with the voice of a prophet, to have been assured of the presence of God in whatever he does? This is after all, “the man after God’s own heart”. David is what sportwriters would say, “in the zone”.
But for all the freedom that God has bestowed upon David, there comes a surprising disclaimer. David for all his exploits and deeds, could be misled into thinking that he could build a dwelling place for God – a palace to contain the very glorious presence of his Maker.
Yet God proclaimed through Nathan that it is He, the one true King himself, who will build David a house. Here God was reminding David that it was Him who made him prince, that it was Him who destroyed David’s enemies. And it is Him who will establish a place for the people of Israel and form a community where they will be blessed and prosper.
This is not a fluffly vision that Nathan caught on a whim. This is as precise and as real as it gets – a Message from the King to his chosen one. This is a story about God blessing and prospering the nation of Israel and their king, out of the goodness of His heart.
I’ve always wondered what is it like to have the voice of a man passing on a message form God. That’s the job of Nathan right there. I’ve always wondered what it is like to have God to be with me in whatever I do, according to the desire of my heart.
There’s a debate that I read recently about whether God has a specific plan for our lives. On one side, the group says He does, as evidenced by how closely and detailed He was involved in the lives of several characters, notably in the Old Testament. King David is a prime example.
And there are those who don’t believe God to be a control freak, that He gives us “creative freedom” so to speak, to act according to our heart’s desire. It would seem that this applied to David as well.
For sure, there were many occasions where I would covet David’s status as a spiritual elite. But dare I immerse myself in the work of consecration so that I may readily map my life over God’s own heart? That I could want the same things that God desires? Because honestly I don’t feel that way for the most of my waking hours.
I get distracted by voices and opinions. I’m not sure I trust this “creative freedom” that people say He has given us. My heart is full of deceit. That’s where I desperately beg for God’s intervention – for His redeeming message to strike my fickle heart. I want Him to remind me that I’m not that person in cruise mode, negotiating behind the driver seat. That it is Him who’s the reason for everything I’ve become.
I would like to believe that everything that I do in His name is for His pleasure. But once again, I’m reminded that it’s more about God who gives me every good thing, just as He has promised, to live a blessed and prosperous life. This is a story about Him reaching out to me. And while He gives me freedom to act, He’s also intricately involved behind the scenes. This isn’t about what style of management the Great CEO is using. It’s about a God who loves us and wants to build us a house. And that gives me courage – just as David prayed. God’s trust in me, as well as His involvement in my life to make sure that my steps are ordered, gives me confidence. The kind of boldness to pray the following prayer:
God. Who am I, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming, for you’ve also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow and looked on me, Master God, as a Somebody. You have spoken all these wonderful words to me, bring the God that You are. As if that weren’t enough, you’ve blessed my family so that it will continue in your presence always. Because you have blessed it, it’s really blessed – blessed for good!