David now had peace. The long civil war with Ishbosheth had ended. All of Israel now recognized David as king over Israel. Jerusalem had been taken from the Jebusites, and the capital was relocated from Hebron to Jerusalem. Philistine aggression had been defeated. They had been driven back to Philistia. David had built himself a house of cedar.
“Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains’” (2 Samuel 7:1-2; 1 Chronicles 17:1). David desired to build a house for the Lord. David wanted to show his appreciation to the Lord. God had done so very much for him. David ran this plan past the ears of Nathan the prophet. Nathan thought the idea to be good (2 Samuel 7:3; 1 Chronicles 17:2).
God rejected David’s plan (2 Samuel 7:4-11; 1 Chronicles 17:3-10). Nathan was to tell David: (1) The plan was rejected (1 Chronicles 17:4). It is worth noticing that though the plan was rejected, God still referred to David as “My servant” (2 Samuel 7:5; 1 Chronicles 17:4). (2) God did not depend upon man, but man did depend upon God (2 Samuel 7:5-11; 1 Chronicles 17:4-10). (a) God had never requested a house from man (2 Samuel 7:6-7; 1 Chronicles 17:5-6). (b) God does not literally dwell in earthly houses. Solomon said, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built” (1 Kings 8:27). God said, “Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool, where is the house that you will build Me?” (Isaiah 66:1). Stephen said, “The most high does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48). Paul declared, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24). The ark of the covenant represented His presence (Notice: Numbers 10:33, 35-36; Joshua 6:6-8; 7:6-7; 1 Samuel 4:3, 7; 6:19-20; 1 Chronicles 16:4, 37). It is only in this sense that God dwelt in the tabernacle/temple (2 Samuel 7:6; 1 Chronicles 17:5). (c) Man depends on God. It was God, who freed Israel from Egypt (2 Samuel 7:6; 1 Chronicles 17:5). It was God, who made David to be ruler over Israel (2 Samuel 7:8; 1 Chronicles 17:7). It was God, “Who had given them rest from their enemies” (2 Samuel 7:9-11; 1 Chronicles 17:8-10).
(1) God said that He would make David a house (2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Chronicles 17:10). The New King James footnotes this saying “that is, a royal dynasty.” The term “house” is conjoined with the term “kingdom” in context (2 Samuel 7:16). This royal seed-line would not be removed as had Saul’s (2 Samuel 7:15; 1 Chronicles 17:13).
(2) A house for God would be built (2 Samuel 7:12-13; 1 Chronicles 17:11-12). It would be built after David died (2 Samuel 7:12-13; 1 Chronicles 17:11-12). It would be built by a son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13; 1 Chronicles 17:11-12).
Who’s the “son”? Who’s the house builder? (a) A common explanation is that this refers to Solomon. Solomon, the son of David, did build the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3-4). God provided the pattern by which the temple was to be constructed (1 Chronicles 28). The difficulty with this view is that certain words from this text are applied to Jesus [(1) 2 Samuel 7:14a; 1 Chronicles 17:13a cf. Hebrews 1:5]. (2) 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Chronicles 17:11 cf. Acts 2:29-30. (b) Some have suggested that this refers to Jesus. Jesus, the son of David, did build a house (Matthew 16:10 cf. 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5). The difficulty with this view is that it seems impossible that some of these words apply to Jesus (2 Samuel 7:14b-15). (c) The best solution, I think, is to understand “son” to be inclusive of the entire royal seed-line which would come through David. The terms “seed” and “son” are sometimes used of posterity. The temple builders come through David. Solomon built the physical temple. Zerubbabel, another in the lineage of David, rebuilt the physical temple. Jesus built the church, a spiritual temple.
David praised God saying, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18; 1 Chronicles 17:16) … “You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides you” (2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Chronicles 17:20) … “So let your name be magnified forever” (2 Samuel 7:26).
God let David know certain things (2 Samuel 7:20). What was it that he knew? What is it that caused such praise? (1) David learned of a continuing seed-line that would not be cut off. (2) He learned of a house that would be built. David would be given the pattern (1 Chronicles 28). (3) It seems to me that, though not stated here in so many words, David was told of the house builder, the resurrected Christ (Acts 2:29-31 cf. Psalm 16:8-ff).
Brethren how blessed we are to be a part of this house! We are a part of the house that He built to the glory of God.
Man of Blood
Why is it that David was not allowed to build the temple, but Solomon was? The answer is given. God told David, “You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood” (1 Chronicles 28:3).
Isn’t it the case that God had sent David into war at times? Yes, such is the case (e.g., 1 Samuel 23:2; 23:4; 30:8; 2 Samuel 5:19; 5:22-23; 1 Chronicles 14:10; 14:14).
How then is it that God would reject David? The answer seems to be found in antitype-type relationships. David’s reign was one of war. He established his throne with force. Solomon’s reign was known for its relative peace and prosperity. This is typical of Jesus, “The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), who would build for God a spiritual temple.