God turned down David’s offer to build Him a house. David lived in a really nice house himself. Second Samuel calls it a “house of cedar,” an Old Testament way of saying “blingin’.” Meanwhile, God dwelt in a drafty old tent, so David thought he would do a favor for God and upgrade His abode. But God said,
In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word… saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’… I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name… And I will give you rest from all your enemies… Will you build me a house? The Lord declares to you that He will make you a house. – 2 Samuel 7:7-14, v. 14 paraphrased
God did not need David to build a house for Him. In fact, God was building one for David.
God said David’s offer did please Him, however (2 Chronicles 6:8), because it revealed two things about David’s heart — two things that should characterize any believer’s heart: he was filled with a desire to sacrifice for God’s kingdom, and he was completely yielded in surrender to God. These two characteristics embody the posture of “active waiting”. Let’s look at them one at a time.
David felt so overwhelmed at what God had done for him that his heart overflowed with a desire to give back to God.
This pleased God, so while God told David he could not build the temple, He did allow him to collect the materials that his son Solomon would use to build the temple. The writer of Chronicles records that David provided “a large amount” of materials, more than could be counted, and “at great pains” to himself (1 Chronicles 22:4, 1 Chronicles 22:14).
A heart that truly understands the Gospel overflows with gratefulness to God. Extravagant grace produces extravagant givers.
David knew he had been nothing when God chose him to be king: a shepherd, the lowliest occupation in Israel, and the “least” of eight sons.
God gave him everything. And even more than an earthly kingship, God gave him forgiveness of sins and an eternal inheritance in Heaven.
David’s heart burst with thanksgiving.
Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far? – 2 Samuel 7:18
He had to do something. Something big.
Have you ever stopped to think about how much you “owe” to God? Where would you be had Jesus not come to earth to save you? He had no obligation to come. What were you when He came for you? You were condemned, having sold yourself to sin. Yet, God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He voluntarily absorbed the sting of your rejection and died in shame upon a cross in your place, going through hell itself for you, just so you could live with Him in indescribable joy forever. When you understand that in your heart, it changes your attitude toward what to do with your life. How could it not?
Realizing the love of God for us produces love for God in us. Extravagant generosity compels extravagant response.
When we realize how great a debt we owe to God, we become willing servants, eager to be poured out for God and His Kingdom. If we do not feel that way, we might never have truly understood the Gospel.
Gifts that please God express a heart of deep gratefulness and passionate worship.
Jesus praised the woman, for example, who poured out the expensive perfume on His feet, not because He needed that perfume — after all, it sweetened the air for only a few minutes, and was wasted in an economic sense — but because it expressed His priceless value to her. Jesus didn’t need the perfume; it was she who needed to wash His feet with her tears and offer her most expensive possession. Jesus would wash her soul with His blood; she needed to declare His worthiness.
God calls us to be generous, not because He has needs, but because He wants us to become generous, as He is.
Generosity is not something God wants from us, you see, as much as something He wants for us.
He wants us to be consumed with His glory and filled with compassion, just like He is, moving instinctively to a world of need around us.
Toward the end of his life, David wanted again to give something to God — a field on which God would construct the temple. The owner told David he could just have it. But David responded, No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. (2 Samuel 24:24)
David would not give to God an offering that cost him nothing, because by this point he understood well that his offerings were not about meeting God’s needs, but about expressing God’s worthiness. If the gift had been about meeting God’s needs, then a free field would suffice. But to give God a gift that cost David nothing would not express to God how he felt about Him.
So, is your heart ready to be led?
The first question to ask is this: Have you offered your life to God in grateful sacrifice?
God steers moving ships — ships driven by the winds of worship, gratefulness, love to God for what He’s done, and compassion for those He cares about.