In 2 Samuel 7, David finally gets to the point where he is at rest in his own house as king over Israel and all his enemies have been subdued. And he decideds he wants to build a permanent temple for the Lord. He doesn’t think it is right that David should have a nice house while the Lord lives in a tent, a temporary structure, nice as it is. So he tells Nathan the prophet this, and at first Nathan is all for the idea. But during the night, the Lord makes His will known and it is strangely opposite.
4 ¶And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying,
5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
6 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 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:
9 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 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,
11 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.
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 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 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:
15 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.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. (2 Samuel 7:4-17)
Up to this point, David has tried to pay his debts to those who supported him during his wanderings. He sent presents of spoil and gifts to those people to show his gratitude. It is possible David felt he had to try to repay his debt to the Lord in a similar way. But of course, no one can really do that because for any good we do, He immediately blesses us, and then He has paid us and we are still indebted to Him.
So I get the sense from the Lord’s message that He would not be in debt to David, and to prove it, the Lord promised to bless David’s descendants after him forever, which is certainly something David can’t repay.
I think this chapter teaches us about the mercy and incredibly generosity of the Lord, that all we can do is serve Him and acknowledge His mercy forever.