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—JULY 26.—2 Sam. 7:4-16.—

Golden Text—"In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust."—Psa. 71:1.

DAVID was now fairly settled and prosperous in his kingdom, and the nation was enjoying a season of rest and peace; the people were united, the Ark was in Jerusalem and the religious zeal of the nation was revived. For all these blessings David was grateful; and, desiring to give some tangible expression of his gratitude, he thought of the Ark of God, the symbol of the divine presence, dwelling in a movable tent or tabernacle while he himself dwelt in a house of cedar; and he therefore conceived the thought of utilizing the present seemingly favorable opportunity for erecting a house for the Lord where the symbol of his presence might abide continually.

With this thought in mind, David consulted with the prophet Nathan, who encouraged him to carry out his noble purpose. Both men desired to render supreme honor and reverence to the Lord and thought the time to do so had come. In this, however, they were mistaken, as God showed Nathan that night, saying, "Go and tell my servant David," etc.

God showed David that his time for the erection of the more permanent residence had not yet come, and that he had given no command to that effect yet, nor inquired, "Why build ye not me a house of cedar?" etc. (Vs. 7.) Although for a time the nation was enjoying a season of rest and peace, there was yet much to be done in the way both of conquest and of organization, which would of necessity interfere with the proposed work; besides which, the nation must not consider itself so firmly established in the land of promise, until first, according to the divine direction, they had taken full possession and subdued their enemies. When they had done this, they might consider themselves settled, and build for the Lord a more permanent residence.

It was further shown that this work of preparation would require the entire period of David's reign; but the assurance was given to David that his purpose was appreciated and that, though God's time had not yet come, nor would it come in David's time, yet his son and successor should build the house and should enjoy a peaceful and prosperous reign, while David was permitted to prepare the way for it, both by gathering and preparing the materials for its construction, and also by subduing their enemies and ordering the affairs of the kingdom. This was the work to which David was appointed: he was necessarily a man of war, although a lover of peace.

In this promise concerning the prosperous reign of David's son and heir to his throne, it is plain that there was more implied than was ever fulfilled in Solomon. True, the reign of Solomon was one of unprecedented prosperity and he did build the house of the Lord; but his kingdom did come to an end, the glory departed, the temple perished, whereas the promise to David was, "Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever."—Verse 16.

The fact is that the promise or prophecy was of twofold application, referring only partially to Solomon [R2010 : page 171] and the temple which Solomon was to build, but ultimately to David's greater Son and Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is indeed an everlasting kingdom and of whose dominion there shall be no end, and also to that glorious spiritual temple, the gospel Church, exalted and glorified with her Head, toward which all the world shall worship during the Millennial reign. The reign of David, the man of war, prefigured the preparatory work of this Gospel age—the struggles of God's people against the oppositions of sin, the preparation of the living stones for the spiritual temple; while the reign of Solomon represented the glorious reign of Christ and the wealth and wisdom and peace and prosperity which shall characterize it.

The purpose of David to build a house for the Lord which should surpass in magnificence the king's palace and every other structure, and thus be an expression on the part of the people of their supreme reverence for him and the symbol of his presence, and the Lord's sanction and subsequent execution of the generous purpose, are often referred to to-day in justification of the large outlay of the church's means in elegant church buildings and furnishments. But apparently the matter did not appear so to the apostles and the early Church; for they met from house to house and in upper rooms and erected no church buildings: they only sought some convenient place for simple accommodation. Nor do the sacred records give a single intimation that it is the duty of the church to provide in various localities elegant buildings with lofty steeples, chiming bells, grand organs, upholstered pews, stained windows, with elegant pulpit orators and trained choirs.

Nor do the temple structure and furnishment afford any precedent in justification of these things to-day. The Jewish age was a typical age; its temple and all its appointments were types of the higher spiritual things to come; the typical Ark which rested in the typical temple was a symbol of the divine presence in the midst of his future spiritual Israel; and the typical shadows pass away when the realities come.

It is very manifest, moreover, that the church buildings of to-day are more for pride and show, and to attract and hold the rich and influential, and to repel the poor, than to glorify God in any way. Let us not be deceived with the vain pretensions of earthly glory; but, shunning these things, let us remember that wherever two or three are met together in the Lord's name, that is the house of God, and there his glory is seen and felt.—John 4:23,24; Matt. 18:20.