Now when the king lived in his house and Yahweh had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for Yahweh is with you.”
But that same night the word of Yahweh came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says Yahweh: Would you build me a house to dwell in? ~2 Samuel 7:1-5
David was man after God’s own heart (1Sam 13:14). Part of this was that David understood that God longed to dwell with man. In his heart David knew that a tent would not last for God to permanently live among Israel. His heart was so connected to God’s that he knew where this was going. But his mistake was in thinking that he, a man, would build it.
He was also wrong in thinking that manmade tents and buildings could hold the presence of God. The tabernacles and temples were but shadows of eternal realities (Heb 10:1).
The Jews in the 1st century made the same mistake and were rebuked by Stephen in Acts 7~
“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
“‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house will you build for Me, says Yahweh, or what is the place of My rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’ ~ Acts 7:44-50
Stephen was quoting Isaiah~
Thus says Yahweh:
“Heaven is My throne,
and the earth is My footstool;
what is the house that you would build for Me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things My hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at My word.
In many places in the Gospels Yahshua described Himself as the temple.
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
(John 2:19 ESV) If you continue in 2 Samuel 7 we see that God told David that
The reason we were created in God’s image was so that we could have relationship but in this promise was God’s desire to become a part of His own creation through becoming a man Himself. Yahshua did this when He was born of a virgin. He took on flesh, and weak, sinful flesh at that (Rom 8:3).
Our bodies now are a temporary dwelling that we carry wherever we go, but they will not last. Messiah too walked around for 33 years in the same weak flesh as us but after the cross and three days in Sheol He was resurrected to new life. His body now is a permanent dwelling place of God fully in the form of man.
This promise is for us too. We have to walk around in a temporary tent that can still hold the presence of God just like the tabernacles of Moses and David. But a day is coming soon when we will host the living presence of God in new bodies that will not wear out or die formed by God Himself. This is reason to praise Him!
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.