May 11.—Morning. [Or September 18.]
“God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”
2 Samuel 7:1–17
AND it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
It was a very gracious thought, and such an one as ought to be upon our own minds, if we know that the worship of God is in need of suitable accommodation. If God gives us a house, let us not be slow to find room for his service.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.
Good men naturally like to encourage good designs, and therefore the seer spake out of the fulness of his heart. Yet he was mistaken. It was the prerogative of the Lord Jesus always to speak the mind of God, which he alone perfectly knew; other prophets only spake it when the spirit of prophecy rested upon them; yet, if in anything they were mistaken, the Lord soon rectified their error. Nathan did not refuse to unsay his own words when he was better instructed, neither should any of us be slow to retract if we have unknowingly taught any error.
4, 5, 6 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
7 In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
8, 9 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10, 11 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
The Lord accepts the will for the deed, and pays back his saints in their own coin. Because David willed to build God a house, God built David’s house. Truly we serve a good master.
12 ¶ And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13, 14, 15 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (This was a glorious covenant even as to its surface meaning, but there was a deeper sense underlying it all, and a special reference to that greater Son of David who shall for ever build up the church. The words, “If he commit iniquity,” are by some rendered—“if I make him sin,” thus referring the whole passage to him who was made sin for us.)
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. (In 1 Chron. 22:7, 8, David mentions one of the reasons why he was not allowed to build the temple—“As for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God: but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.” It was not appropriate that he who had been the Lord’s executioner on so large a scale should build the temple. God is very jealous of his own honour; and even where there may be no positive sin, yet the blunted feeling incident to some modes of life may disqualify a man for the higher forms of the Lord’s service.)
May 11.—Evening. [Or September 19.]
“Bless the house of thy servant.”
2 Samuel 7:18–29
THEN went king David in, and sat before the Lord, (overwhelmed with gratitude he entered the Lord’s tabernacle and reverently sat down and worshipped,) and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? (This is the common feeling of all the Lord’s kings and priests. They wonder why they should be chosen, and they adore the sovereign grace which elected them.)
19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?
Do men act thus? No, for as far as the heavens are above the earth, so high are the Lord’s ways above man’s ways. He blesses divinely and not after the stinted measure of man’s charity.
20 And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant.
This is our comfort, that when our souls are too full for utterance the Lord reads our feelings. If words fail us, God hears the songs or the sighs of our hearts.
21 For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
He disclaims all merit, and ascribes all to the gratuitous bounty of God. He was a free-grace man. He placed the crown upon the right head, and gave glory to God alone.
22 Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (There is none like the Lord, and there are no people like his people. Faith deals with matters which are altogether unique, therefore our gratitude should prompt us to unusual deeds of service. If we receive more than others, we must do more than others.)
23 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?
24 For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.
This is a delightful reflection. God’s choice of his people is not temporary, but eternal. He never changes in his relation to his people.
25 And now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. (These last words contain the essence of prayer—“Do as thou hast said.” The only solid foothold for faith is God’s word. When a sinner comes before God, he must have nothing else to rely upon except this—“Do as thou hast said.” If we cannot plead a promise we cannot ask in confidence; but with God’s word before us, we know that his faithfulness will make it good, and therefore we are very bold.)
26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
27 For thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
What we find promised in God’s word we may most fitly find it in our hearts to pray for. Has the Lord said it? then let us seek it.
28 And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.
Pleading the promises is the sinew and muscle of prayer. As we bring promissory notes to those who have signed them, so should we bring the promises of Holy Scripture before the Lord, and entreat him to make good his word. Let us continually cry to him—“Do as thou hast said.”
Lord, for thy name’s sake! such the plea,
With force triumphant fraught,
By which thy saints prevail with thee,
By thine own Spirit taught.
Oh, for thy name’s sake, richly grant
The unction from above;
Fulfil thy holy covenant,
And glorify thy love.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 275–276). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.