Did you know that King David once set out to build a temple for the Ark of the Lord and God told him not to? Apparently it happened well into David’s reign when Israel was living in a time of peace. David had a palace and he decided that it was high time that he built a proper place for the object which was the symbol of God’s presence with His people.
David spoke to his Man of God, Nathan, who agreed that it would be a great idea to do just that. But that night God spoke to Nathan and told him that it was not David’s place to go building a house for God. God had chosen to live in a tent with His people through their journey to the Promised Land and again He was choosing when he would upgrade to a temple.
He talked to Nathan about an heir of David’s whose kingdom will be established forever. Who would suffer at the hands of other humans, but who God would never remove His love from. I can only conclude that he was talking about Jesus, who chose to live amongst His people too.
Later in his life David set out to help his son, Solomon, build the temple for God and he revealed the reason that God had not allowed him to build the temple (1 Chronicles 21:20) “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name.'”
Two things in these few verses really catch my heart. Firstly that God seemed not to admire all the wars and killing which had been a part of David’s early years as king. My heart wants to follow a God who loves peace. I want to be part of a people who follow a God who will lead in this real (and sometimes awful) world, but will lead us towards peace as we obey him.
And secondly, my mother-heart is filled with inspiration as I am reminded that, like David, some of my own dreams are not even for me to fulfil. But God willing, some of them will be for my children to fulfil. As I raise my kids in the sight and guidance of God and try to prepare them for what the future holds, He too is preparing them for His purposes.
My prayer after reading these stories (2 Samuel 7:1-29 and 1 Chonicles 22:2-10) is of thanks to God that He is a God who loves peace; and of asking for His guidance as I think about how I should spend my time and energy; and finally of thanks again that He has plans for my children which are built into my own dreams.
I wonder what dreams our hearts hold dear that we will only see fulfilled in our children’s lives?