After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” 2 Samuel 7.1-16 (NIV)

DAVID WANTED TO MANIPULATE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE

The first reason why David wanted to build a Temple – a house for God – was because he wanted to honor God. That’s the main reason and that’s a worthy reason.

The second reason is a more selfish reason. David wanted to establish himself. Remember that before David there was only one human king in Israel. And God removed that king after a while and replaced him with David. How could David be sure that he would not suffer the same fate?

If David got the chance to build a temple in Jerusalem next to his palace, he would accomplish two things. One, he would get to do a good thing for God. God would then owe him one. And two, he would have control over the people. The Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of God’s presence. The worship life of the people – the festivals, the Holy Days, the daily sacrifices – revolved around the Ark. Whoever has control of the Ark is in control of the religious life of Israel. Whoever is in control of the religious life of Israel is in control of the people.

GOD SET DAVID STRAIGHT

But God did not let David manipulate his way into power. God reminded David how he became king of Israel. Everything good in David’s life is because of God’s grace. Even though David never asked, God already anointed him to become the king of Israel. So why should he manipulate his way now?

God wanted David to be king so he anointed him. He protected him. God made it possible for this sheepherder to become the king of Israel simply because God wanted David to lead his people. The people needed a king like David so God made him king.

GOD WANTS US TO LEAD

From the creation story in Genesis all the way to the new heaven and new earth prophecies in Revelation, there is one very important theme throughout the Bible: God gives us both authority and responsibility over everything else in his name. God wants us to lead in his name.

Authority and responsibility are the essence leadership. Both must be present for us to lead well in Jesus name. God has given us the authority to lead our family, our workplace, and our church. We don’t need to manipulate our way into authority because God always want us to lead. We just need to focus on our responsibility.

LEAD WITH AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY

Authority and responsibility must go hand in hand in order for you to lead well.

Some bad leaders like to give people responsibility without giving them the authority that is necessary. This will never work. There will be confusion and eventually frustration.

Other bad leaders are not willing to live up to their responsibility. Responsibility is hard. But unless you live up to our responsibility, we will lose our authority.

God is reminding David to focus on being a responsible king. God has given him the authority and he will give it to his descendants – as long as they also live up to their responsibility.

When you read the rest of 2 Samuel, you will learn that David was far from perfect. In fact, if you read 1 Kings 1, you would think that he died a petty old man.

But David had two things going for him. One, David has heart for God. This is what we read over and over in the Bible about David. God says David is a man after God’s own heart.

But we cannot forget that David also took his responsibility over his people very seriously. When he was young, he led his soldiers into battle. After he made mistakes, he would own up to it and seek God’s forgiveness. David would always put his people first. He put God first. He embraced his responsibility even before he had the authority. That is why God made him king.