Bible Focus: 2 Samuel 1-12
When the king had settled into his palace and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look, I am living in a cedar house while the ark of God sits inside tent curtains.” So Nathan told the king, “Go and do all that is on your mind, for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: “Go to my servant David and say, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you to build me a house to dwell in? From the time I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today I have not dwelt in a house; instead, I have been moving around with a tent as my dwelling. In all my journeys with all the Israelites, have I ever spoken a word to one of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, asking: Why haven’t you built me a house of cedar?’”2 Samuel 7:1-7 CSB
Someone once said to me that children are good observers but poor interpreters. That little saying struck me as true then, and it has stuck with me. In fact, I’m convinced that the saying often applies to adults as well. Human communication is fraught with error, especially on the first try. We all tend to be poor interpreters.
This potential for misinterpretation is magnified when it comes to our interactions with God. God is perfect and all-knowing; we are not. So we are bound to have some wrong assumptions about God along the way.
One of the most common errors we make is when we assume God primarily wants something from us, when in fact he primarily wants to give something to us. We might even keep trying to give God what we think he demands, while God keeps trying to tell us to accept what he has generously provided.
Saul, the first king of Israel, turned away from following God. God then instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next king, calling him “a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 15:14 CSB). Saul tried to kill David, but God protected him, and eventually Saul died in battle.
David then took the throne, and God blessed him with victory over all the enemies of Israel. Eventually David reached a point where there were no more battles to fight. David began to wonder if he should build a temple for God, and he voiced these thoughts aloud to the prophet Nathan one day.
That night, God told Nathan to tell David that God had something totally different in mind: Instead of David building a house for God, God would build a house for him. God promised that he would make a great name for David. God promised that David’s son would build God a temple. God promised that he would establish David’s throne forever, and that his kingdom would last forever.
In the midst of all these sweeping promises, God made no demands. The only choice left to David was for him to believe God and accept the kingdom–or not. David was awestruck, and prayed to God with great thankfulness, affirming that he believed God’s promises were true.
This doesn’t mean that David had achieved perfection or somehow had earned God’s blessing in all these things. Not long after, David fell into great sin of which he had to repent (see 2 Samuel 11-12). God’s decision to bless David and establish his kingdom did not depend on David. God himself would establish his kingdom and eventually bring an eternal King from David’s family line. This King was Jesus.
Jesus once said:
“Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing…Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Luke 12:22b-23,29-34 CSB
Here’s the good news: God delights to give us his kingdom. His kingdom doesn’t merely consist of riches, health, fame, or pleasure in this world. God wants to give us the eternal kingdom where we are able to enjoy him now and forever. We could never earn access into this kingdom, but he has completely provided access into this kingdom through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. The only choice we have is for us to believe Jesus and accept the kingdom–or not.
Featured image from Matteo Catanese on Unsplash.