2 Samuel 7:2-3 (KJV) That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.
There are many well-intentioned people within the Body of Christ. They have the knack for coming up with some of the most creative and innovative ideas for church growth, fundraising, and other activities. While this is all well and good, we must still be mindful and ask whether it is a good idea or a God idea?
Understanding The Context
At this point in the Scriptures, King David had long been given the honor of being called “a man after God’s own heart…” (1 Sam. 13:14;15:28;16:7). This was mainly because he would place God’s will above his own personal agenda. Although there are several instances wherein we may question David’s motivations, God Himself has testified that David’s has always had God’s Agenda in mind.
Within this particular place in Scripture, however, David is reflecting on his current state and has determined that it is not right that he “dwell in a house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells within curtains…” (2 Sam. 7:2). To anyone reading this verse, it would appear that David is making a well-intentioned assessment. Yet, what is his underlying motive for this consideration?
When we understand the cultural context in which David lived, the idea of building a temple for the nation’s deity was a sign of legitimation of the king’s right to rule. The problem with this view, however, is that the Nation of Israel has always been intended to be different from the other nations within the surrounding culture. Despite its longing to “…be like all the nations…” by having a king, this king was always meant to be a representative of God’s Kingdom Agenda, not his own. This is where the problem becomes obvious.
What is the problem? The problem is that once understanding what a temple represented during David’s era, the motivation for this idea comes into question. David needed to ensure that he would be recognized as the legitimate king of Israel, not only in the eyes of Israel, but also within the surrounding communities. Up until this point, God had always been working both in the forefront and behind the scenes on David’s behalf.
What happens next is that God sends a Word to David that while his idea is good, God has never authorized anyone to construct a fixed dwelling place for Him (vv. 5-7). The reason for this is that God cannot be confined to time/spatial limitations because of His vast, eternal omnipresence. He will not allow Himself to be limited nor subject to the control of any being. God does not move based upon the command or at the behest of any person. He is the Sovereign, Exalted Ruler Who determines the activity within His Kingdom. Although innocent in his reflective assessment, this is what David failed to understand.
With so many opinions and ideas presented to us within our lifetime, we must ensure that those “other voices” do not crowd out the voice of God.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This is important to us because we must understand that God is the One Who establishes us and causes us to be successful in life (vv.9-11). The only way He can do this is when we surrender the reins of our hearts and lives to Him and give Him the right to rule in our lives as Sovereign King. We will continuously fail to fulfill our life’s purpose if we fail to relinquish our right to govern ourselves.
In relation to our context, a good idea is great because we know that the person (more often than not) who developed it is well-intentioned. However, we have to remember that the Body of Christ is composed of members of God’s Kingdom. This means that as the Sovereign, Exalted Ruler, God alone reserves the sovereign right to decide what courses of action will take place within His Kingdom.
In our own right, we do not have the power to overrule nor overthrow the powers of darkness within the world. Neither can we cause or will ourselves into a position of prominence to effect change (Ps. 75:4-7). Every endeavor we embark upon must begin with a God idea rather than any idea of our own (Ps. 127:1). Any action based upon our own idea will result in an effort in futility.