God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV) Back in the 12th century there was a monk by the name of Bernard of Clairvaux. He was asked by a friend to write a book on humility. Bernard said he didn’t know enough about humility...
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in?’” 2 Samuel 7:5
If we were looking for something that David did wrong here, we might say, “Well, putting up a great building was surely not the right way for David to invest his money. After all, God does not live in a house made with human hands (Acts 7:48; Isa. 66:1).”
But God later blessed Solomon with the privilege of building the temple for him, and when the building was complete, the glory of the Lord came down and filled the temple.
So when God asks of David, “Would you build me a house to dwell in?” the emphasis is on the word you. The point is not: God does not want a temple to be built. The point is that David will not be the one to do it. Someone else will. David’s son “shall build a house for my name” (7:13).
We might also wonder if perhaps David was trying to make a name for himself by sponsoring this great building project. But that cannot be the case, for this reason: God commends David for having this desire, which clearly indicates that David’s desire and his motive were good. Solomon would later recall, “the Lord said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart’” (1 Kgs. 8:18).
“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). When God looked at the desire in David’s heart to build the temple, he saw something good, and he commended David for it!
Do you believe that God sees and commends the good desires of your heart—even when he chooses not to grant them?