Samuel, Day 28: God Doesn’t Live in a Building

1samuelRead 2 Samuel 7 and 8

Despite the mixture of David’s motives (see Day 27), bringing the ark into Jerusalem seemed to be what ignited his success. Remember that God always deals with people who have mixed motives. None of us are 100% for God, 100% of the time. We wish. God is always working through people in spite of them!

That might sound disheartening at first. When I was younger I would often forecast doom and gloom if a church or a leader wasn’t perfect. But then I came to realize that none of us are perfect and God graciously works through us anyway.

What David did right was to put worship first. He put God at the center of his life and the focal point of the nation. God honored that. The next few chapters show how God greatly expanded David’s kingdom.

God Doesn’t Live in a Building

In chapter seven, David was so grateful that he offered to build God a great temple. This is God’s response:

‘The LORD says, “Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house from the day I brought the people of Israel up out of Egypt until now. I have been moving from place to place. I have been living in a tent. I have moved from place to place with all of the people of Israel. I commanded their rulers to be shepherds over them. I never asked any of those rulers, ‘Why haven’t you built me a house that has beautiful cedar walls?’ ” ‘  2 Samuel 7:5-7

What is God saying? He’s saying, “Look, I’m a god that moves in and among his people. I don’t sit in a fancy box that people made for me.” Instead, God said that he would build David a “house.” God would raise up one of his children to establish a kingdom that would never end.

David had no idea what God was talking about. We really shouldn’t expect him to. How could he have known? He thought God was talking about his son Solomon so David bought all the material so Solomon would build the temple instead. But God was referring to Jesus. Jesus came from the line of David and established a “house” or kingdom.

“I tell you that I myself will set up a royal house for you. Some day your life will come to an end. You will join the members of your family who have already died. Then I will make one of your own sons the next king after you. And I will make his kingdom secure. He is the one who will build a house where I will put my Name. ” ‘ “I will set up the throne of his kingdom. It will last forever. I will be his father. And he will be my son. 2 Samuel 7:11-14

This is a significant chapter in the Bible because it impacts us today. People always want to fix God in a location…like a church building. We think we are doing God a favor with our fancy buildings and rituals. But God isn’t limited by these things. He’s much bigger than that. We aren’t in control of God, he is in control of everything and we need to move with his agenda.

The “house” that God built was the church…meaning the community of people that follow Jesus. The church isn’t a place but a people. Paul and Peter referred to it when they said we are like a temple built with many different stones. Peter put it like this:

you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:5,9

We have the privilege of knowing something that David didn’t know. God didn’t want everyone to fill up a building once a week. He wanted to fill up his people everyday so they would corporately be his presence on earth. That’s much more impressive to the world than a building…if we allow God to fill us and change us.

So here’s my question for you today: are you allowing God to fill you and use you as one of his living stones in his spiritual house? Are you working with other believers to show the world God’s amazing presence on earth? Or do you merely go to a building on Sundays and live your faith out on your own?

Prayer: Father, thank you that I get to see what David couldn’t even imagine. You turned religion upside down when you told David you didn’t want or need a temple. You wanted to live in us. So Father, help me to allow you to fill me fully, and might I connect with other living stones so that we can corporately declare your praises in this world.