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David’s Prayer Regarding Building the Temple
Questions to Consider
1. Are you familiar with what is going on in the history of Israel and in the life and reign of David at this time? If not, use this synopsis (or another Bible Book Background) to bring you up to speed.
2. Break chapter 7 down into three major parts or events and write a one-sentence synopsis of the main action taking place in each part:
3. What did David want to do? (2,5) How would you characterize David’s desire to build the temple, especially in light of his prayer in 18-29? Was his desire prideful, worshipful, godly, selfish, grateful, immoral, etc.? Why did David tell Nathan his desire? (2-3) What was Nathan, as a prophet, supposed to do (4,17) before giving David God’s reply? (3-4) How was David telling Nathan this desire similar to the way we might pray for God’s guidance today? How does Nathan, as an imperfect intermediary between God and man, point to Jesus, our perfect mediator and intercessor?
4. Examine God’s answer to David’s “prayer” (to build the temple) in verses 4-17. What was God’s overall answer – yes, or no? Go through each verse, making a list of the reasons or explanations God gives David for His answer. Which of the reasons/explanations have to do with it not being part of God’s overall plan for (OT) Israel’s history as a nation? Which of the reasons/explanations have to do with God’s plan for redemptive history and the future Messiah? Which of the reasons/explanations have to do with David personally, as an individual? When God says no to your perfectly biblical prayer, have you ever considered that there might be more to it than just saying no to you personally? That maybe it has something to do with God’s larger plan for your church, community, redemptive history, etc.?
5. Examine David’s prayer (in response to God’s answer) in 18-29.
What is the position of David’s body while he is praying? (18a) Think of some of the other body positions we see in Scripture when people are praying. Is there any special significance or meaning to these various body positions? Is there one particular position that’s “holier” than the rest, or does God hear and answer our prayers without regard to body position?
How does David react to God answering his prayer “no”? What character trait does David exhibit most in this section? Which attribute of God does David focus on the most in his prayer? How does David’s recognition of God’s sovereignty impact his humility and inform the way he reacts to God saying “no”? How does this same sovereignty/humility dynamic enable David to look past his own personal desires to the good of his nation, the good of his son Solomon, the good of redemptive history, and the good of God glorifying Himself by carrying out His own plans despite David’s desires?
When we talk about praying “in Jesus’ name” we often explain that this means praying in agreement with and in submission to God’s will. Explain how David’s prayer exemplifies praying “in Jesus’ name” even as he looks ahead to the Messiah yet to come.
6. Do you notice the gospel motif in this chapter? David wants to do what for God? (2,4) And God basically says, “I don’t need your good works (5-7, i.e. for you to build me a house of filthy rags). You, and all My people, need My good work of salvation, and I’m going to give them to you by building you a ‘house’ whose foundation and cornerstone are the Messiah, whom you all so desperately need.” We may desire to do great things for God, but we desperately need Him to do far greater things in us, for us, and to us, in saving and sanctifying us. Spend some time in prayer this week asking God to do those greater things in your heart and life.
Have you ever prayed for something or wanted to do something that was completely biblical, yet God did not give it to you or allow you to do it? What was your reaction? How did your reaction compare to David’s reaction? How would more humility and a greater view of God’s sovereignty have shaped your reaction? Write out a prayer of response to God saying “no” in which you humble yourself and honor and celebrate God’s sovereignty.
Suggested Memory Verse