If you’ve been keeping up with your Bible reading up to this point, you are to be congratulated, and surely by this point you’ve come to understand the real benefit that this discipline is to your spiritual life and Bible knowledge. Yea, for you! Keep it up, and imagine how much better you’ll know the Bible, how many more general Bible connections you’ll have made, how much your discernment (good judgment) will have grown, how much better you’ll know the Lord, how much you shall have grown at the end of this study. So, now, let’s take a look at a few things in our reading today.
Sometimes, it’s not our job to build the Temple — David was naturally overwhelmed with joy and gratitude with what God had done for him up to that point. Moreover, it appears to have been David’s private plan to make Jerusalem not only his capital, but the permanent home of his God’s Ark, altar, and worship. So, David sought the LORD’s permission for this plan (via Nathan the prophet) — what a concept: asking God what He would like before just shoving it into God’s lap! In a number of places in the story of David’s life it is clear that David knew how to give God the kind of gifts that He really wants. I’m thinking that God would wish for more Davids and fewer offerings of strange fire that foolish men try to foist upon God — but I digress. Initially Nathan encouraged it, but that same night Nathan received a word from the LORD against it. David was not to build the Temple; his son would. That had to have been disappointing to David, but God had good reasons: (1) David was a man of war and had a lot of blood on his hands (“But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’” 1 Chronicles 28:3, NAS95.), and (2) it appears that God had a type/ante-type teaching device in mind for a comparison between Solomon and Jesus. And as things ironically turned out, David wanted to build a house for God, and instead God promises that He will build a house for David!
The point for us is that there may be times in our lives of potential service to the Lord that the Lord may say “no” to — for His own reasons. Having and raising children, serving as a missionary to a particular part of the world that you have a heart for, serving as an elder or deacon, using this or that talent in His service — but we never get the chance, the door of opportunity never opens, maybe because of physical handicaps, maybe because of gender, maybe money, and maybe because God has simply said no. To David’s great credit he obediently submitted to God’s will; we’d do well to learn to accept “no” or at least wait patiently for His “yes”.
David’s amazing prayer — But in saying no to David, God was also saying a really big yes to his family’s future. And despite any disappointment David might have felt, his genuine response of love and gratitude overcame everything else, as his prayer reveals. David was truly a man after God’s own heart and he shows us a glimpse of what that’s all about in this prayer. It shows love, relationship with the LORD, and praise lost in wonder. What’s your prayer life like? It’s not like we need to be poetic or something; it’s just that we need to allow ourselves to reveal ourselves to the Lord.
David’s steamroller conquests — David’s conquests continue to mount up. His kingdom controls more and more of the surrounding territories. The nation of Israel is developing into a real regional power that is reaching toward the Euphrates in the north toward the border of Egypt — just as God had promised it would. Later, Solomon’s kingdom would more firmly control these nations, but David (by God’s power) is laying the groundwork for a strong kingdom. God’s word always comes to pass; our job is just to faithfully do what we’ve been told.
David’s covenant kindness to Mephibosheth — With all of David’s successes, with a burgeoning kingdom to control, and with all the battles that he planned and executed you might think that David might have forgotten about his covenant with his dear friend, Jonathan. But you’d be wrong. David remembered his friend and wanted to do whatever could be done to honor the friendship and covenant and he found Mephibosheth, a handicapped grandson of Saul and son of Jonathan. David brought him to his own table in Jerusalem, and gave his servant the permanent work of farming for him in his absence. Loyalty, remembrance, and honor; they aren’t just words. They are the essence of friendship and covenant. It’s what we expect from a human friendship; and it’s the kind of “friendship” we get from the Lord. But is it the kind of friendship we offer to Him?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.