“Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, [he] said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ And Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.’ But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, ‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I 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 for my dwelling. The Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”‘” 2 Samuel 7:1-6,11-13,16
David was a gifted man whose heart beat for his God. He led Israel with great skill, bravery, and determination, was zealous for the Lord Who had been His constant Help, and wanted to build Him a house. Why should he, a mere man, dwell in a house of cedar while God dwelt in a movable tent? Though he was commended for having this desire in his heart, God’s response through Nathan the prophet was “no.” Then He put His hand under David’s chin and lifted it up above the things of earth. He had house plans of a different kind. Once David grasped the enormity of God’s promise to his family, that his seed and kingdom, his “house,” would endure forever, and that God had a distinct and different plan for him (other than building the house), he was overwhelmed at the astounding love and favor of his God. He could not help but be consumed with Him. (1 Kings 8:18-19; 1 Chronicles 22:7-10)
“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.” 2 Samuel 7:18-22,25-29
When I have great thoughts for God, and yearn to honor Him with some deed, a project or relationship or ministry or structure, do I take time to check in with Him? And if I pray, is my prayer full of me, or Him? Do I seek only His blessing on my ideas, my wants, my efforts, or His will and rule above all? What are His plans, how and where does He intend to use my gifts? Are there more important assignments I have neglected because I have poured myself into my own agenda, and thus missed His higher plans? How might He be working through me to prepare another to take this on, to perpetuate my ‘dream,’ to do the work instead, and how does He want me occupied in the mean time? David’s example of captivation with his Lord, humility before Him (you know your servant, O Lord God!), and utter submission to Him according to His trustworthy promises, is remarkable and inspiring.
Lord, transform my desires to make them Yours. When You entrust me with ideas, resources, a home, talents, even peculiar heartaches and trials, make them all about You, not me. Deepen my trust that You own all, You know best, that Your plans are superior to mine. (Isaiah 55:9)