The House of the Lord: David and Nathan
1 Chronicles 17:1, 2
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, See, I dwell in an house of cedars…

The event recorded in this chapter must have been separated from the events of the previous chapter by a period of several years. It is in all essential points identical with the parallel account in 2 Samuel 7., the differences being of a purely formal kind. The contrast which David felt between his own dwelling and that of the ark of the covenant awakened within him a feeling of sorrow, and led him to resolve to put an end to it by building for the latter a house worthy of it. This was a right feeling, and was commended by the Lord (see 1 Kings 8:18). But though right in itself, and indicating a true state of heart towards God, it was for other reasons not in accordance with the Divine will. David had been a man of war, and had shed much blood, and on this ground God would not allow him to carry out the desire of his heart. David communicated his desire to Nathan the prophet. The prophet, knowing well the character of David and his devotion of heart to the Lord, and that the Lord was with him in all that he did, said, out of the impulse of his heart, "Do all that is thine heart; for God is with thee." From this we learn how a man's heart may be right with God, how all that he purposes to do may be highly commendable, but for other reasons it may not be for God's glory that the Lord may use him. It may be more for that glory that he may be passed over and another be preferred. Man proposes but God disposes. Not even a prophet can step in between. Observe another truth here, How graciously David allows himself to be passed over and that another should have the honour! This is often hard to bear. Nothing but the grace of God ruling in a man's heart can enable him to do this. Moses endured forty years' trial and hardship in leading God's people out of Egypt, and yet just as he gets in sight of the promised land all his brightest anticipations are to be unrealized, and another steps in to reap the reward. David had formed the kingdom, fought the battles of the Lord, and brought up the ark to its resting-place; but just as he is about to reap a full reward in seeing the temple built for the Lord, his son is to step in and enjoy it, while David, like Moses, is to lie down and die. Life is full of unrealized anticipations; but in the case of God's people all to be realized in a brighter and better world, to a degree that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man to conceive." Oh for grace to be passed over, nay, even to rejoice in being passed over, and that others should receive the honours for which we have toiled, provided only that it is God's will and for his glory! Oh to be nothing, nothing; only a "vessel fit for the Master's use," to be used by him when he will, how he will, and where he will! This should ever be the Christian's desire and prayer. - W.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains.

WEB: It happened, when David lived in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, "Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of Yahweh is under curtains."

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