Dancing and Liberated in the Wilderness

2011/05/dancing.jpg Photo ©Copyright/Courtesty of blogs.voices.com

I have often wondered why God didn’t permit David to build the first Temple. I mean, David was a “man after God’s own heart,” chosen by God as the second king of Israel. What an honor, it seems, that he should have been the one to build the “house of God.” …Or was it?

In today’s One Year Bible reading, David is ready and willing—making plans, even—to build a Temple for God, but God has different ideas…

“Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle” (2 Sam 7:5–6).

God doesn’t ask David to build a Temple for Him, and later He actually tells him not to. Why not?

Here is what I think now. God didn’t let David build the Temple precisely because he was a man after the heart and mind of God. Ever since leaving their bonds in Egypt and up until this time, God required the people “free flow” with Him throughout the wilderness. He moved about spontaneously, as He was ready, and the people followed. No getting too comfortable, holding onto the familiar. No putting down roots or building foundations. Following God into His best plan was like following the wind.

“The Spirit (pneuma) blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit (pneuma)” (John 3:8).

Following God’s leading was no different in the days of David, and especially for the person of David (a type of all who live by the Spirit—even today). God gave David the honor of living in tune with His Spirit, preventing him from putting down roots in the form of a man-made temple on a man-made foundation.

In this fleshly offering, made by David’s son Solomon, we are taught what is at the heart of the man-made Temple—moving away from dependence on God, and putting down roots in doctrines, dogmas, and traditions of men. It is the way of religion—afraid of not knowing or not having answers. And so there is this list of ten critical things you must believe to be in agreement (i.e. statements of faith). Or there is seminary you have to attend if you want to understand the Scriptures (even though they were primarily written to and from the perspective of illiterate fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and commoners). Or there is this class you have to take, taught by your pastor (or someone trained by him), so that he will be able to help you see what you are reading through the correct lenses and “critical” doctrines.

The man who built the first stationary Temple (Solomon) was a very carnal man, who completely abandoned the ways of God for the comfortable. Ironically, Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. So was the second man-made Temple following. After that, the Temple was put back into free flowing, moving tents—into Jesus and then into you and me—never to be put on a man-made, sedentary foundation again.

All this is to say that we should be aware that yes, it is good to learn from each other, as iron sharpens iron, but don’t let anyone tell you that you must follow certain doctrines and dogmas in order to follow God, or that you must be “educated” before you can study the Scriptures for yourself. It’s simply not true, and if anything, these things are a great deterrent to the beauties and mysteries God wants to reveal to you as you follow Him, dancing and liberated through the wilderness.

David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands…” (Acts 7:46–48).

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle (TENT) of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…’” (Rev. 21:3).

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  • I know, this is long… and you've studied the Bible longer than I have… and you've probably heard it all before. But please hear me out. :)

    I was under the impression that God *wanted* a temple built for Him, He just didn't want David to do it… because David was a man of war, and had shed much blood before Him. "(Since David was a prophet, it's probable that God spoke to him personally as recorded in 1 Chr 22, besides what He spoke through Nathan in 2 Sam 7:4.) He promised that He'd build D. a house. Then stated that S. would build Him a house and He'd establish his throne forever.

    Apparently, God said that Solomon would be a man of rest…. and rest is, I'd say, quite the opposite of carnal striving. "David made ample preparations" for the temple before his death… and it's not recorded that God was displeased about that. Solomon loved the LORD, at least in his early days… and he was loved and favoured by the LORD, even before he was born… God appeared to him more than once, apparently. The first time, he asked for wisdom… SO THAT he would rule God's people well. And God was pleased. And granted him what he'd asked, and more besides. And Solomon woke up, and offered sacrifices, and started to build… After the temple was built, He blessed it, and promised that He had consecrated it by putting His Name there forever, and that His heart and eyes would be there continually. (Like He'd put His Name at Shiloh before, I think.)

    Then later on, his wives turned his heart away after other gods… and God was angry. And Solomon's life began to get difficult…

    When the Israelites who'd returned from exile slacked off, God sent Haggai and Zechariah to tell them to get to work and build Him a temple. He even said He'd frustrated their work and their lives BECAUSE they'd left His house in ruins.

    I thought the temples were destroyed because, well, Israel basically scorned the LORD and turned a deaf ear to Him, repeatedly. Even after the first temple had been burned, He stirred up Cyrus' heart, so that a temple would be built in Jerusalem.

    And I don't know much about Herod's temple, but I guess it wasn't God's idea… but that's just me. :)

    Ministering to the LORD, with praise and worship was instituted by David, and later re-instituted by Hezekiah. But even with that, Zadok and his relatives continued to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, at Gibeon according to His law. God wanted both.

    I think structure is fantastic. God is not a god of confusion or chaos… He does spontaneity, and He's not very fond of dead religion, but He likes order. (As I say this, my room is untidy). Jesus didn't actually tell the Pharisees to stop tithing… He said, "these things you should have done without neglecting the others." Obey what I whisper AND what I shout.

    We don't have to go to seminary… the anointing teaches us all things… but "He gave some as… teachers." I find it interesting that in the OT, many prophets were apparently actually students under other prophets…

    And… to look at it from another perspective… if temples were really fleshly, carnal offerings, God wouldn't have made us His temples. It started with the tabernacle… which was completely God's idea; and the temple design was based on the tabernacle design; it was just larger. Holy of Holies, Holy Place, Outer Court. Spirit, Soul, Body. (Oh, and I think the nishma/nshamah is the breath that gives life… Job 38:36. Apparently, we all have the nishma, being alive and all, but we don't all have YHWH's Ruach. But then we all have "ruach"…) Type and shadow of things to come, and a copy of the temple in heaven (Rev 11:19).

    I'm still constantly asking Him to take scales off my eyes, and show me what He said, not what I think I see in His Word. I wonder if He finds it amusing-yet-sad that some of us would defend our inaccurate doctrine to the death… and I think it's funny when "kidneys" is translated "heart", "soul", or "mind"…

  • This is a great blog. The only issue I took with it is that the disciples were illiterate. I'm not sure that is accurate. Anyway I understand the point you are making, that they were not trained, high ranking, religious aristocracy types. It is an interesting point you make about David not building the temple. The blog comment above is also noteworthy. I think that perhaps you are both correct.

    • jferwerd

      Well, Luke was a doctor and I think he is the only one considered literate of the apostles (and of course, Paul). It was not common in those days for people to read and write, usually only the scribes and others who had jobs that required literacy were educated as such. If people in those days needed to write something, they hired a scribe (I forget the proper word) to write for them. Most of the New Testament, except for Paul's writings, is written by these scribe people.

      • Brian Brody

        Julie:
        One note to make on this subject, it is writen in Torah (OT) that we teach our children how to read and write Hebrew. So yes in the outside world that is a true statement but for the 11 Apostles left they were able to at least read and write in Hebrew, even at the time of Jesus. It was the outside world that required scribes to translate the Hebrew in Greek, or other local dialects.

        • jferwerd

          I didn't know that Brian but it is an interesting point to consider. I have always heard that the disciples were illiterate (at least in Greek) so they had to use help, which is why none of them wrote their own gospel accounts. However, you probably know as well as I do that there is speculation that the gospel accounts should even be attributed to the writers they are named after, but that is more of a "tradition." Thanks for your input!

  • Brian Brody

    All that I need to add is a Big AMEN sister.

  • Damian Masters

    Loved your take on David and the temple. I never thought of it that way. When I first started reading, the blood on Davids hands came to mind. Isn't it amazing what the Holy Spirit does when we finally get to the point where we desire Gods will and not ours. Keep up the good work. In closing a comment to "cadoah".
    God doesn't find it amusing or sad that one would choose to defend there beliefs, He is the author of your belief. Keep on asking He may choose to open your mind.

  • Thank you. :)

  • I love listening to Messianic Hebrew teachers!!! And "666 talents" always scared me… and his rather interesting throne…

    Could you possibly send me a link? :)

  • Ah. I think I (sort of) get it now. Anything I decide to do on my own, of the flesh, no matter how good my motives are… is doomed to fail. God isn't obliged to bless it. If He and I are friends, He will warn me beforehand, so I don't make a terrible mistake, e.g. "David, don't bother building the temple, it's a wonderful idea, but I can't bless a temple that you built, because… so don't bother, your son will do it." Unless I can't hear Him because I have decided to act from fear/unbelief and not from faith, e.g. Abraham-Sarah and Hagar. Like, what if David had gone ahead and built the temple? I guess it would've been cursed from the beginning…

    Now I think you can guess that I'm one of those people who (sometimes, not always) leaves loooong comments under people's Facebook statuses…

    • jferwerd

      Yes! David also represents "the chosen"–the line of people to bring about the Messianic (Anointed One) blessing upon the world, and I the point I'm trying to make is that this line of people (to this day) must follow the Spirit, not the doctrines (man-made temples) of man.

  • Thank you again Julie! The first 2 earthly temples did not have a Court of the Gentiles which could not be measured. Whereas the temple of the heavenly Jerusalem does have a place for us who are not of the 12 tribes of Israel.But I believe you are right, he wants a people of Spiritual discernment to be part of that spiritual house, not made with hands.