Verse 5. Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. He resolved to find a place where Jehovah would allow his worship to be celebrated, a house where God would fix the symbol of his presence, and commune with his people. At that time, in all David's land, there was no proper place for that ark whereon the Lord had placed the mercy seat, where prayer could be offered, and where the manifested glory shone forth. All things had fallen into decay, and the outward forms of public worship were too much disregarded; hence the King resolves to be first and foremost in establishing a better order of things.
Yet one cannot help remembering that the holy resolve of David gave to a place and a house much more importance than the Lord himself ever attached to such matters. This is indicated in Nathan's message from the Lord to the king -- "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. 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?" Stephen in his inspired speech puts the matter plainly: "Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands." It is a striking fact that true religion never flourished more in Israel than before the temple was built, and that from the day of the erection of that magnificent house the spirit of godliness declined. Good men may have on their hearts matters which seem to them of chief importance, and it may be acceptable with God that they should seek to carry them out; and yet in his infinite wisdom he may judge it best to prevent their executing their designs. God does not measure his people's actions by their wisdom, or want of wisdom, but by the sincere desire for his glory which has led up to them. David's resolution, though he was not allowed to fulfil it, brought a blessing upon him: the Lord promised to build the house of David, because he had desired to build the house of the Lord. Moreover, the King was allowed to prepare the treasure for the erection of the glorious edifice which was built by his son and successor. The Lord shows the acceptance of what we desire to do by permitting us to do something else which his infinite mind judges to be fitter for us, and more honourable to himself.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. An habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Jacob "vowed a vow", when he declared, "this ... shall be God's house": Genesis 28:20-22 . David accordingly preserved a reminiscence of the fact, when he vowed a vow in connection with a similar object. -- H. T. Armfield.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. Something to live for -- to find fresh habitations for God.
- The Condescension implied: God with us.
- The Districts explored: hearts, homes, "dark places of the earth."
- The Royalty of the Work. It makes King David busy, and is labour worthy of a king. --W. B. H.
Verse 5. "A place for the LORD." In the heart, the home, the assembly, the life. Everywhere we must find or make a place for the Lord.
Verse 5. "The mighty God of Jacob."
- Mighty, and therefore he joined heaven and earth at Bethel.
- Mighty, and therefore brought Jacob back from Mesopotamia.
- Mighty, and yet wrestled with him at Jabbok.
- Mighty, and yet allowed him to be afflicted.
- Mighty, and therefore gave him full deliverance.