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In this chapter God speaks to David (1Chr 17:1-15) and David speaks to God (1Chr 17:16-27). God now speaks to us through His Word and we may speak to Him in prayer in response.
This chapter is the heart of 1 Chronicles and deals with the continuing importance of the person and the work of David in connection with “the ark of the covenant of the LORD” (1Chr 17:1), the full name of the ark.
This chapter is about three houses:
1. the house which David built (1Chr 17:1),
2. the house to be built for God (1Chr 17:4; 11; 12) and
3. the spiritual house of David, the lineage that runs to Christ (1Chr 17:16; 23; 27).
The Desire of David
David’s life is reaching a new stage here. Earlier he went to his own house to bless it (1Chr 16:43). Now he gets spiritual exercises about God’s house. Exercises about God’s house take place in one’s own house, your own living environment. If there are no such exercises at home, they are not there in God’s house.
But he who only has an eye and time for his own house, has no time to care for God’s house (Hag 1:4). Whosoever is content to remain in the door of his own tent shall not go out to the tent of God (Exo 33:7-10). Those who cannot run their own house cannot take care of the church of God either (1Tim 3:5). The one cannot be seen apart from the other.
When David sits at rest in his house, he realizes the incongruity that exists between his own dwelling place and that of the ark. Also for us the question may be: can we have satisfaction in our own prosperity, our own, often luxurious, living environment, while we have no eye for the city as a picture of the church in its daily revelation, where God dwells?
David Is Not Allowed to Build a House for God
From what David says in 1Chr 17:1, Nathan understands what he means. Nathan doesn’t say in so many words that David can build the temple, just like David himself didn’t say. This intention of David as such is not wrong. Therefore the prophet encourages him. Stimulating each other to do something for the Lord is good. However, the first, humanly understandable reaction which Nathan said, was not the word of the LORD. In the night that follows, Nathan is told what the LORD thinks of David’s intention.
For reasons to be given later, David is not allowed to build the temple (1Chr 22:8; 1Chr 28:3). Other things have to happen first. David is not allowed to build a house for the LORD, but the LORD will build a house for David. He gives to David, who must first become a receiver. We can’t give the Lord what He needs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give him anything. The Lord likes to receive from us what we want to give Him.
Nowhere do we read that the LORD, when He walked around with the people, gave the order to build a house for Him. On the contrary, He has always adapted Himself to His people. When the people of Israel were slaves, he became their Deliverer; when the people dwelt in tents, His dwelling place was also a tent; when the people had to fight, he revealed himself as the captain of the LORD’s host; when it will be established in peace, God will also establish in the house of His glory.
So it is with Christ in relation to us. We are born of a woman, He also; His earthly people Israel was under the law, that He also was during his life on earth; now that He gathers a heavenly people for Himself, He is in heaven for us; when He comes in glory, we come with Him in His glory; when He reigns, we reign with Him.
What God Is for David
David’s sacred desire to build a house for the glory of God is the opportunity for God to tell of what He has done to David (1Chr 17:7-8) and what He will do to him (1Chr 17:9-14). 1Chr 17:9 will be fully realized in the kingdom of peace. In this verse and the following verses, we see a reference to the Messiah. 1Chr 17:10 is elaborated in 1 Chronicles 18-20, as a premonition of the judgments that precede the kingdom of peace.
God does not mention a particular son, but He speaks in a general sense of one “of your sons” (1Chr 17:11). That fits in this Bible book. One “of your sons” refers to the Messiah and not Solomon as the physical son. It is about the Lord Jesus, the Son of God (Psa 2:7; Heb 1:5; Heb 5:5; Acts 13:33), for Whom God will be a Father and Who will be His Son (1Chr 17:13; 1Chr 22:10; 1Chr 28:6).
The Son will build a house for the LORD. The reign and kingship of the Son shall be “without end” (1Chr 17:12b; 1Chr 17:14; Lk 1:32-33; Dan 2:44). It is also clearly said that the kingdom of the Son is the kingdom of the LORD (“My kingdom”).
As a faithful envoy, who keeps nothing from the whole counsel of God, Nathan transmits all the words of the LORD to David (1Chr 17:15). He is as faithful in this as Paul is later, who says to the elders of Ephesus: “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27).
The Prayer of Thanksgiving of David
We read, as a rarity, that someone sits before the LORD (1Chr 17:16). The more common postures are that someone throws himself before the LORD, kneels or stands up respectfully. Here with David we see that he confidentially “sat”, which means that he sits down with the LORD. It is a good example of a confidential relationship with the LORD, in which he takes into account the greatest respect at the same time. He wants to speak to the LORD about what he has heard of Him and what has been promised by Him.
When David speaks, he is no longer talking about his wish that is not fulfilled. He is not sad or depressed now that the LORD does not allow him to do what he wants to do. Instead of discouragement there is great gratitude with him. He flows over with joy for what the LORD promised him concerning his descendancy, what he will give him, him and his house. We see later that he does what is in his power to collect what is necessary for the temple that not he, but his son Solomon may build.
This is an example for us. With the means that the Lord has given us, we can cooperate in a work that we would have liked to have done ourselves, but for which the Lord has appointed someone else. We come to this when we see how much we ourselves have been gifted by the Lord. This is the first thing we find with David.
In the presence of the LORD, David’s first remark about himself is “who am I?” and about his house is “what is my house?” He is deeply impressed by the grace that has been bestowed upon him and his home. That leads him to speak about his own smallness. This is the appropriate sense of received grace that should also characterize us in our dealings with the Lord.
He also shows his faith and trust. David acknowledges in his prayer of thanks what the LORD said earlier that it is about the future, about the coming of “a man of high degree”, that is the great Son of David (1Chr 17:17; 1Chr 17:13). In Him, that is in Christ, a row of people in the ascending line will culminate in the distant future. David is already king and his descendancy is already chosen, but that doesn’t make him proud, for everything is the consequence of God’s blessing. He is of humble descent and has been led to great heights by God. David’s feeling is the feeling that Mary is singing about when she is told she will become the mother of the Messiah (Lk 1:46-49).
David speaks to the LORD about “David” (1Chr 17:18) and not about “king David”, for earthly glory is forgotten in the presence of the LORD. David is not speechless, but he also cannot add anything to the benefits that are being done to him. He knows that he is the object of the love and grace of the LORD. That he is, not for who he is in himself, but because it is in the heart of the LORD Himself (1Chr 17:19) to bless His servant David. He also wanted to make that known to him. These are indeed “great things”.
The Lord loves to hear from us as well, in which we value His blessings. We may say prayers expressing our needs, but it is also beautiful to tell Him our appreciation of His blessings and promises.
Then follows a confession of the uniqueness of God (1Chr 17:20). That He is a unique God, He has proved in the redemption of His people (1Chr 17:21). Directly linked to the uniqueness of God is the uniqueness of God’s people (1Chr 17:22). God and His people belong together. The people owe their uniqueness to Who God is as the unique God. God has chosen that people as His property. He has done that to make Himself through them a Name on earth. His people are His honor because He has given them His honor.
God wants us to pray to Him for what He has promised (1Chr 17:23). In Luke 1 the continuation of this prayer comes as a first fulfilment: “The Lord God will give Him [i.e. the Lord Jesus] the throne of His father David” (Lk 1:32).
The content of David’s prayer is of high order. He addresses the LORD in expectation of his hearing: “Let the word … be established forever, and do” (1Chr 17:23); “let Your name be established and magnified … and the house of David Your servant is established” (1Chr 17:24). The promises for the future are the ground for his prayer (1Chr 17:25). God loves that His unquestionable promises are accepted by His own, without any restraint. If His promises are accepted as certain by a faithful heart, this will be reflected in the gratitude that is brought to Him.
Because the LORD is God and He has spoken this good (1Chr 17:26), David trusts that his prayer will be heard. He expresses the certainty of the hearing. He says that the LORD has blessed his house, and that it will therefore be blessed forever (1Chr 17:27). There is no better basis for our prayers than the promises God has given in His Word. That gives the certainty of the hearing. The time of the hearing is the matter of God.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Chronicles 17". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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