David had a remarkable career.
He started in the family farming business, taking care of sheep with the rest of the shepherds. It was something that was simple for the youngest son to do.
Then Samuel singled him out, told him that God had chosen him to be king.
Then David got called to the King’s house, was befriended by the king’s son, was the single best military commander of his time. Then he got kicked out by a jealous king and spent years on the run. Where he demonstrated and cultivated his leadership capacity.
Finally, he became king. He unified a divided country, He brought the worship of God to Jerusalem. He entered a season of peace.
And he wanted to thank God, to show God the proper respect.
It’s a familiar feeling.
But God’s the one who gets to decide how he wants to be respected. How he wants to be honored. How he wants to be worshiped.
And that’s what he said to David. “Have I ever said that I needed a house?” God said. “Have I ever told you that the thing I wanted most was to have a house as nice as yours?”
Then God reminds David that God doesn’t need tips for good service. God doesn’t need us to decide what he needs.
Instead, God needs to be acknowledged as the one who gets to decide what we need. He’s the one who sets the terms of relationship, who wants to tell us what makes him happy, what shows him respect.
It’s interesting to me that God tells David that David’s son will be the one who builds the temple. And God uses very relational language to describe the process: He will be my son and I will be his father.
The temple will be a place of honor for the King of kings, a place for meeting with the father, a place you go for counsel and advice and blessing from the one who knows more than you, from the one who knew you when you were an infant, from the one who made everything possible.
From the one who shepherded the shepherd.