1 Chronicles 17 – A Palace Or A Tent?

1 Chronicles 17David, the second king of Israel, after having enjoyed great success in battle and much wealth, one day sees his house and compares it to the place where the ark was held. He finds a very troubling reality.

Now when David lived in his house, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.” (1 Chronicles 17:1)

Chapter 17 of 1 Chronicles deals with a covenant that God made with David about his children holding the kingdom forever; but there is something to learn here in verse one. David seems to be bothered that he has a palace built in cedar while the ark of the Lord is in a tent. How much time and dedication would have been required to build a whole palace out of cedar? Would it have been the same amount of time when setting up a tent?

I don’t know about you, but I love going camping. Every time I do so, however, I don’t get to sleep as well as I do at home. The comforts of a tent cannot equal nor challenge those of a properly built house. David realized that a tent is not the place for the king of the universe to dwell in when, in comparison, an earthly king gets to live in a palace. If we take our hearts, what kind of dwelling are we building in our lives for God? Are we building palaces to other things in our lives. while letting God dwell in a little tent? David’s discomfort comes with his realization that even though he won battles and wars, and he  wore the crown, he did not do it in his own strength. David knew that all the success that he had was because God had given it to him; and thus living in a palace while God dwelt in a tent did not sit well with him.

There are so many things for which we forget to thank God. It is very easy for us to take the credit of our success and build palaces to our pride and ego. David, while being a king, was able to see that and his heart burned with the desire to build a proper dwelling for God. Let us hope that we also are able to see the wonderful blessings that God gives us every day of our lives. Let’s build in our hearts a great palace for God. David did not get to build the physical temple as his desire was; however the temple of God in his heart was so great, that God blessed him and his descendants and promised them the kingdom of Israel forever. How about you? Is your heart a palace or a tent?

Boris Reyes

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Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


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