2 Samuel 7:1-17
And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;…
David looking at his own personal comfort did not say, Let me now enjoy it; I have paid dearly for it; everything in my house cost me blood; if any man is entitled to a long quiet afternoon in life, I am the man; I am thankful for this tranquillity, and nothing shall disturb it. Men of David's quality never made speeches of that kind: their peace is in their activity; their Sabbath is in their worship. So, said David, look at the condition of affairs: I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God dwelleth within curtains, etc. Truly, he was a poet with a fine sense of rhythm. Were a syllable too-much in a line it would afflict him like the puncture of an edged instrument. Without studying letters, he knew when things swung in astronomic rhythm and balance and harmony. We may have lost that fine sense of unity and practical poesy; some men have lost it in speech. God has set all things in relation. He is a God of order. He has published the universe as a poem, and all his goings fall into noble sequence. We must study that spirit and pray for it, so that we cannot rest while a picture is out of square, whilst a pillar that ought to be upright is leaning a little to the right or to the left. We ought to be flung into disorder and sense of shame by a false colour, a false note. But while this is impossible to us in a practical way, what is possible to us is a sense of moral justice, a sense of righteous relation, a sense of what is due to God. To be at ease whilst His house is without a roof is to proclaim oneself no child of Heaven.
1. Having come into personal comfort, David will do good. That is the right expression of gratitude. What can I do for the Church? What can I do for the poor? Having read many books, and acquired some information, what can I do for the ignorant?
2. Nathan and David settled the matter according to their own will. Nathan was a man who might perhaps be not indisposed to agree with the king whatever he said. He may come to another temper under Divine ministry; for that we must wait. The idea struck Nathan as a good one. Nathan had no objection. He said, The idea is beautiful; carry it out instantaneously; the Lord is evidently with thee; that is a thought the image and superscription of which cannot be mistaken; and Nathan went home to sleep. There are some things that appear to need no judgment. There are some proposals that are so beautiful and precious that we at once accept them, endorse them, and pass them on to fulfilment, and then retire to rest. The Lord taught David another lesson; he said: This thing is all wrong; it is out of season; there is much more to be done before this man can advance in the direction he has proposed: my house must not be built by his hands; I have an interest in my house: I care for the masonry as well as for the sanctuary. No blasphemer ought to be engaged in building the walls of a cathedral; no flippant man ought to touch the meanest part of God's house; and no man of blood should build s temple.
3. Yet how gentle is the Most High! Who can speak like God? It is the dignity that gives the value to the condescension. The lesson which God taught to David is to trust the providence which has been good from the very first: — "Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote," — so I am not going to forsake thee; if I had taken thee from a throne, reasoning in another direction might have been at least partially justified, but "I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel." God will have His providence judged as a whole — that is to say, he will have the mind thrown back to the point of origin, and have all the days linked, like loops of gold, like loops of light; then he will say to the subject of His gracious government: Look back at the beginning; count the days; read between the lines; study the whole, and see how all the time I have been building thee a house; and, until that house is finished, wait! What peace it would give to us all if we could adopt this holy method of criticism I Look at the beginning: Where were we? What were we? How have we been trained, watched, defended!
4. God further shows that all things are critically timed: "Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers" (v. 12) — But God never sleeps. He says: "I will put thee to rest, O brave soldier, chivalrous grand heart I will close thine eyelids, stained with rivers of tears; I bury the universe." We must leave something for the future to do. All things are written down in God's book.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;