A grandiose building plan. A fabulous place to live. Everything you could want. And then the light dawns…
The Lord’s Message to David
King David moved into his new palace, and the Lord let his kingdom be at peace. 2 Then one day, as David was talking with Nathan the prophet, David said, “Look around! I live in a palace made of cedar, but the sacred chest has to stay in a tent.”
3 Nathan replied, “The Lord is with you, so do what you want!”
4 That night, the Lord told Nathan 5 to go to David and give him this message:
David, you are my servant, so listen to what I say. Why should you build a temple for me? 6 I didn’t live in a temple when I brought my people out of Egypt, and I don’t live in one now. A tent has always been my home wherever I have gone with them. 7 I chose leaders and told them to be like shepherds for my people Israel. But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a cedar temple for me?
8 David, this is what I, the Lord All-Powerful, say to you. I brought you in from the fields where you took care of sheep, and I made you the leader of my people. 9 Wherever you went, I helped you and destroyed your enemies right in front of your eyes. I have made you one of the most famous people in the world.
10 I have given my people Israel a land of their own where they can live in peace, and they won’t have to tremble with fear any more. Evil nations won’t bother them, as they did 11 when I let judges rule my people. And I have kept your enemies from attacking you.
Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings. 12 I’ll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried in the tomb of your ancestors. I’ll make him a strong ruler, 13 and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him. He will be the one to build a temple for me. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son.
David has a sudden attack of guilt. He has built himself a beautiful palace. He had gone to a lot of trouble and expense, and when he thinks about it, he feels bad that he has left God, the sacred chest, out in a tent.
But God speaks to him quite clearly. He doesn’t want a special Temple building. He doesn’t want a special place. He has always lived in a tent, among the people.
Whilst David’s intentions might be good, God wants to be with his people, where they are, not put away in a special place. God wants to be one with his people, living with them, going where they go – not stuck in a building. He was where they were, if a permanent structure was built, the people would have to come to him – a huge shift in the kind of relationship God had with his people.
Later a Temple was built, and with it a whole list of rules about how God could be accessed. He was no longer there amongst them, but behind several walls – and it took God a long time, and Jesus, to break back out of it!
As we think of our lives, how do we want it? Do we want God in a special place, somewhere where we have to go to him, or living with us where we are.
How are you going to make that happen in your life and your community?
Thank you Lord
that you are where I am,
you are not an aloof God,
living in a special building;
but a God who is about and about,
in all the places where your people,
Help me to remember that.
That you are in the everyday,
and not just the “special”,
and to live that way.