2 Samuel 7:4-17
Psalm 89:4-5, 27-30
God declares in his message to David today that he is not like the other gods in other countries who depend on the generosity of the king for their support. God, the true God, can live in a tent. He is not greater because of the house that is provided for him. Indeed, 400 years later, he destroys the temple that he speaks of today to show the Israelites that he is more than a temple.
God’s message to David is first of all, “You were going to build me a house? I will build you a house!” God then promises a dynasty for David that will last forever, far longer than the 400 years that the temple of stone will last. God promises a son of David who will be “a son to me, and I a father to him” which is a clear prophecy of something greater than David could have imagined. Rather than building the dwelling of God on earth, his son according to the flesh, descended through Mary, the stepson of Joseph, will be God among us.
David had said, “Here I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent!” This is merely an observation, and there are three ways that David could have taken it: The way he did, which is to think that God needs an upgrade. Or he might have considered himself to be greater than God, since he lives in a better house. But there is a third way that David could have looked at the situation: he could have thought, “Perhaps I should live in a tent.” Perhaps the dwelling of God in a tent should have been a symbol to David. That palace of his ended up causing a great deal of trouble. A tent is superior to a palace inasmuch as it is movable. It reflects the way we ought to be dwelling here on earth: not building palaces but setting up tents, something temporary. Our mansion is in heaven. God knew this, of course, since he is God. God could not covet a fancy house. The very idea is absurd. God possesses the universe: galaxies and stars and billions of planets; what would he want with a palace? But we possess more because we possess God, who has made a free gift of himself. What do we want with the nonsense of this earth that people spend whole lives building up?