From Eternity Past


Nation Freed From Idolatry

The removal of the ark had made a lasting impression upon the people of Israel, kindling anew their zeal for Jehovah. David endeavored to deepen these impressions. Song was made a regular part of religious worship, and David composed psalms to be sung by the people in their journeys to the annual feasts. The influence thus exerted resulted in freeing the nation from idolatry. Many of the surrounding peoples were led to think favorably of Israel's God, who had done such great things for His people. EP 515.5

David had erected a palace for himself, and he felt that it was not fitting for the ark of God to rest within a tent. He determined to build for it a temple of such magnificence as should express Israel's appreciation of the abiding presence of Jehovah their King. Communicating his purpose to the prophet Nathan, he received the response, “Do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.” EP 516.1

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, giving him a message for the king: “The Lord telleth thee that He will make thee a house... . I will set up thy seed after thee... . He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” EP 516.2

The reason David was not to build the temple was declared: “Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto My name... . Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies; ... his name shall be Solomon [peaceable], and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name.” 1 Chronicles 22:8-10. EP 516.3

Though the cherished purpose of his heart had been denied, David received the message with gratitude. He knew that it would be an honor to his name to perform the work he had purposed to do, but he was ready to submit to the will of God. How often those who have passed the strength of manhood cling to the hope of accomplishing some great work which they are unfitted to perform! God's providence may speak, declaring that it is theirs to prepare the way for another to accomplish it. But instead of gratefully submitting to divine direction, many fall back as if slighted. If they cannot do the one thing they desire to do, they will do nothing. Many vainly endeavor to accomplish a work for which they are insufficient, while that which they might do, lies neglected. And because of this the greater work is hindered. EP 516.4

David, in his covenant with Jonathan, had promised that he would show kindness to the house of Saul. Mindful of this the king made inquiry, “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” He was told of a son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, who had been lame from childhood. The nurse of this child had let him fall, making him a lifelong cripple. David now summoned the young man to court, and the private possessions of Saul were restored to him for the support of his household; but the son of Jonathan was himself to be the constant guest of the king. Mephibosheth had been led to cherish a strong prejudice against David as a usurper; but the monarch's continued kindness won the heart of the young man. Like his father Jonathan, he felt that his interest was one with that of the king whom God had chosen. EP 517.1

After David's establishment upon the throne of Israel, the nation enjoyed a long interval of peace. The surrounding peoples soon thought it prudent to desist from open hostilities, and David refrained from aggressive war. At last, however, he made war upon Israel's old enemies, the Philistines and Moabites, and made them tributary. EP 517.2