To Build the Temple

1 Chronicles 17:1-15 (ESV)

Now when David lived in his house, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.” And Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God 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: It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in. For I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now, therefore, thus shall you say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be prince over my people Israel, and I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall waste them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house. When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

David had great aspirations. He wanted to care for the Ark of the Covenant. He wanted to honor God by building a permanent temple. But God would not let him. God said instead that He would have David’s son build the temple. Was this because of blood that David had spilled? Was it because God knew that in a few years, David would take Bathsheba and have her husband killed to cover up his sin? We don’t know for certain. I seem to remember that I have read that it was because of the blood that David had shed in battle. David was probably a little hurt, but he accepted the Word of the Lord from Nathan the Prophet.

It is good to want to honor God. But many times we start out honoring God in word or deed, and when time passes, we tire of it. I am certain that it is not intentional, because no one that I know of ever said, “I am tired of honoring God. I will stop doing it slowly.” I think what happens is little things come and we say, “I will do this instead of church today.” Then something else comes up, and we take more time. Then something else comes up, and we divert money that we would normally honor God with, for some other purpose. Then we don’t have time to give in God’s service (actually we do) but something comes up and we give our time to that something else...

Pretty soon, we only “honor” God when it is convenient. We “honor” Him on special occasions. We fail to give Him our hearts and minds, and we drift away.

Let’s strive today to put God back in the place of honor in our hearts. Let’s consider Him first. Let’s put Him and His purposes first in our lives. Let's build a temple for God in our hearts and minds, and visit it often. Let's give of our time and energy and money to honor God by helping others and ensuring the church is a family that can rely upon each other.

by Virgil Stripes

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