“And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David” (2 Samuel 7:4-17).
The prophet Nathan had to go back to King David and inform him of God’s plans regarding the future of Israel and the proposed Temple. In this passage we hear the Lord speak of the fact that He is the Master Builder. Maybe David in his enthusiasm and vision had lost sight of this, therefore God reminds him and tells him of His own plans for the future of Israel and David’s dynasty.
Nathan promptly took God’s word to David. What reaction was he to expect? Would David lash out as Saul no doubt would have done? The prophet had to put any thoughts of receiving a nasty reception to the back of his mind, for he was the messenger of God and must not hesitate or compromise. 1 Chronicles 17:4 amplifies the message a little, “Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in.” We see that Nathan could not spin the message to ease any tension caused by God’s refusal of David’s plan. David would not misunderstand the message either, for the words are plain enough for the most simple to understand. If only God’s messengers today would follow the example of Nathan and Paul. “We use great plainness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12). Listeners should not need a university degree to understand what the preacher is trying to convey. Nathan’s words included the reason why David was forbidden to build the Temple. David would later tell Solomon what was said to him that night. “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight” (1 Chronicles 22:7-8).
Rather than lead up to the refusal, Nathan was to immediately tell the king exactly what God said in the way He said it. Though it was a big “NO!” for David, it was not a total rejection, for the building of the Temple would happen according to God’s timing. The Lord eased any guilt David felt regarding the Ark of the Covenant being in a tent while he lived in a luxurious palace. He explained to David that He had for many centuries dwelt among the people of Israel in the Tabernacle, and since He had not complained, there was no reason to feel guilt. The lack of a permanent building was no fault of Israel but instead was God’s own choosing. David was not condemned but praised for his desire to build a Temple for God’s glory, even if those plans were rejected. “Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart” (1 Kings 8:18).
God gave David a promise that would both comfort and encourage him. Though he would not build the Temple, his son would. This promise, often called the Davidic Covenant, not only applies to David but to the future of his kingdom, which we know includes the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ as Israel’s final King. “Is not this the son of David?” (Matthew 12:23) … “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16) … “Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49) … “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt” (John 12:13-15).
God promised to plant Israel in the Land and they would never be moved from it. This promise cannot be overturned regardless how many enemies come against Israel. The fulfilment of this promise will not be complete until Jesus establishes His earthly throne in Jerusalem during what we call the Millennium. Until then Israel will suffer at the hands of wicked nations who seek to destroy her, but one day her King will take charge and repel all enemies forever. “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7) … “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33) … “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).
David, though coming from such a low position, was not only made king of Israel, but was blessed with the knowledge that his kingdom would be eternal. No other earthly king has ever received such a mighty promise. Though Solomon would build the Temple and increase the wealth and power of Israel, the kingdom would forever be named after David. After thousands of years the Star of David is still the national emblem of Israel, which is a sign of the continuation of God’s eternal promise.