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1 Chronicles 17

September 17, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar...'”

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1 Chronicles 17

“Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.’ But it happened that night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, ‘Go and tell My servant David, “Thus says the Lord: You shall not build Me a house to dwell in. For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought up Israel, even to this day, but have gone from tent to tent and from one Tabernacle to another. Wherever I have moved about with all Israel, have I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’”1 Chronicles 17:1-6 (NKJV)

It was a beautiful night up there on the roof of David’s cedar palace. Beef BB-Q, roasted vegetables, choice Golan wine, Levitical band, and singers echoing through the alleyways…all complete with a perfect view of the Tabernacle, the tent where the ark of the covenant resided. But something is eating at King David as he stares down at the Tabernacle. Is it right for the king to live in a house of cedar while the ark of the Lord is in a tent? David thought not, so he declared to his best friend, the prophet Nathan, that he would build the Lord a house of cedar like the king’s palace. It seems like a benevolent gesture, but nobody asks God if He wants a house. Nobody considers that the sheer presence of the Tabernacle is a hint that Israel will someday be in exile again. Perhaps that is why the Levites (whose job was to minister at the Tabernacle) had no inheritance in the land. Their inheritance was to serve the Lord. Because so, the Levites could keep their inheritance, no matter where the Lord caused (or drove) them to dwell.

“At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, to stand before Yahweh to serve Him, and to pronounce blessings in His name, as it is today. For this reason, Levi does not have a portion or inheritance like his brothers; the Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God told him.” Deuteronomy 10:8-9 (HCSB)

The problem with a temple is that temples themselves, with all of their opulence, can be worshipped more than the God they are built to honor. Temples can also house idols. Pagan practices incorporated into temple worship can defile a temple and infuriate God, as the bed of an adulterer can be defiled and disgust the spurned spouse. Then, God must seize the worshipful attention of His people by dramatic means. Only when Israel is ready to worship the Lord again will He allow the temple to be rebuilt. But, we are getting ahead of the story. No, David will not build a temple for God. His son, Solomon, will. But it will be destroyed, as will the temple that is rebuilt. (Ezra 1:1-3)

Ultimately, we await the New Jerusalem, the everlasting temple-city (Revelation 21:2), where Messiah Jesus builds a house for us! (John 14:1-3)

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