God loved David and David loved God. David was the only person in the Bible whom God described as “a man after his own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).
David wanted to show his love and gratitude towards God in a concrete way for all that God had done for him, by building a temple or cathedral as a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, among other things (see 1 Chronicles chapter 17). David told the Prophet Nathan about his plan and the prophet thought it was a brilliant idea. Nathan told him to go ahead with his plan for God was with him.
However, Prophet Nathan was wrong; he should have consulted God first. That night, God told Nathan to inform David that he was not the person to build a house for him to dwell in. Instead, that honor and privilege would be given to his son who would inherit the throne after his death.
The reason why God rejected David’s offer to build Him a temple was that David had fought many wars and shed much blood (1 Chronicles 22:6-8). By the grace of God, the precious blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross at Calvary has cleansed us and is cleansing us from the bloody stains of sin so that we may be eligible to participate in building a house for God.
From the time David conceived the idea to build the temple through the time King Solomon actually built it, and beyond, there were poor people in Israel who could have used the money and other resources to alleviate their poverty. There were also other important projects for which the same money and resources could have been used. As kings, David and Solomon knew by experience and through Scripture because God had spoken through Moses that there would always be the poor in Israel (see Deuteronomy 15:11). And Jesus confirmed it much later (see Matthew 26.11).
Yet, God’s rejection of David’s offer to build the temple was not about the poor or other important projects. In any case, we should not allow the pursuit of any goal to stop us from helping the poor and the needy. It should be a top civic and Christian duty to help the poor and the needy among us – all the time and under all circumstances.
Solomon built the temple. It must have been a great disappointment to David that he was denied the privilege to honor God with a temple for the Almighty. Even so, David made adequate preparations and provisions for his son Solomon to build the temple (1 Chronicles chapter 22). David showed that he was, indeed, a man after God’s own heart.
The fact that God prevented David of all people from building a temple shows the importance and seriousness attached to temples, cathedrals, churches, and their builders and promoters. These houses of prayer and worship to honor God serve divine and spiritual purposes and are not opportunities for the rich or powerful to display their wealth or power for vainglory; or for self-seeking builders and promoters to enrich themselves.
David was not the first person whose offer to God was rejected; that dishonor belongs to Cain. Cain and his younger brother Abel brought offerings to God. Cain worked the soil and offered some of the fruits of his labor from the soil. Abel kept flock of animals and offered fat portions of some of the firstborn of his flock. For unknown reasons, God looked favorably on Abel’s offering, but not on Cain’s (see Genesis 4:1-5). One lesson we can learn from God’s rejection of Cain’s and David’s offers is that it is not enough to give to God; it is also important that we give sincerely from our hearts and pray and hope that what we give will be acceptable and pleasing to God.
As in all things we give towards God’s work, we should not feel pressured to give anything out of compulsion or based on man-made rules. We should give what we can from our hearts because God loves cheerful givers, and we will be rewarded accordingly (see 2 Corinthians 9:7 and Luke 6:38). We can also contribute or participate through our prayers, support, and goodwill. In the end, giving is for our own benefit because God will find ways to do what He wants to do, with or without our individual help.
When we are presented with a genuine opportunity to build or contribute to the building of a temple, cathedral or church in our community, village, town, city or country, we should give it a serious thought, consider it as an honor and a privilege, and thank God for it. In addition to whatever we are able to do, we should pray that God will find our contributions acceptable and pleasing to Him. We should remember that David, a man after God’s own heart, was denied that honor and privilege. Therefore, we should count it all joy when we are able to seize the opportunity because blessed is the person whose contributions of any kind towards the work of God are acceptable and pleasing to the Almighty.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 054-7498653. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.