David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. 8 But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’ (1 Chronicles 22:7-10 ESV)
The second king of Israel has the distinction of being the only king to have been called a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14). Though he was but a shepherd boy, the Lord took him from tending sheep to tend the flock of Israel. Here the inspired writer of the Chronicles records that David had been told by God that he could not build the temple of the LORD, because he was a man of war whose reign was characterized by much bloodshed. It is highly unlikely that the writer here is reprimanding David for sinning against God, as God not only sanctioned his wars, but gave him victory wherever he went (1 Chr. 18:6, 13), placing his enemies under the soles of his feet (1 Kings 5:3). David’s prohibition on building the temple was not the result of sin, but the result of God’s will and particular purpose for his life.
The temple was to be the peaceful meeting place between God and man. Only there, with the shedding of blood, could a holy God and a sinful man meet without wrath and judgment. The Deuteronomic law stipulated that peace from enemies was a prerequisite for building the temple (Deut 12:10-11). Therefore, it took the life’s work of one man to pave the way for the foundation of God’s temple. The young Solomon did nothing to earn the peace that allowed him to build the temple. It was a gift to him from both his father and his heavenly Father. And he fulfilled his purpose as a man of peace, by building a temple of peace to give the world a glimpse of unimaginable human flourishing under God’s shalom.
The lives of God’s faithful have always been used for a specific purpose. There are those who have lived their entire lives under persecution while others have only known freedom to practice their faith. Some have been given lives of joy in poverty, while others have been given the gift of generosity with the ample wealth that God has blessed them with. Some have been like Daniel’s friends who were untouched by the flames of the fiery furnace, whereas others burned brilliantly at the stake for the glory of God. Some spend their entire lives sowing Gospel seeds, whereas others spend their entire lives enjoying the bountiful harvest of the spiritual labours of others (John 4:36-38).
Dear Christian brothers and sisters, are you content to live the life that the Lord has assigned to you? Do you look at another believer’s life and envy them, wishing that the giftings or prosperity that were given to them by their Master were yours? Are you disappointed that God has not given you what you have asked for as you have tirelessly waged war for the Lord? Are you conscious of the fact that it is before your own Master that you stand or fall?
Oh, let us love our Master’s will and prize it above any comfort or excitement that belongs to the life of another of God’s servants! David fulfilled the purpose of God in his own generation, and then fell asleep (Acts 13:36). May God makes us a people who are zealous to expend our lives in fighting the Lord’s wars or reaping the harvest—whatever our Master has laid out for us. Let us be steadfast and immovable as we work for our Lord, knowing that one day we will all enter the ultimate peace of God because of what Jesus has done for us on Calvary’s cross.