Sometimes our help for someone who is hurting starts with “How are you?” Sometimes it starts with reading Scripture.
1 Chronicles 17 is one of those irresistible passages. The kingdom of Israel is relatively settled, in that no armies are in sight threatening to obliterate the people. You sense that families are finally attending to a few domestic chores. David, then, thinks that it is time for God to have a permanent house among the people. His rationale is simple and inspiring: if I have a nice house, God should have a nicer one. It’s David at his best: a lover of God. He sought the counsel of the prophet Nathan, who thought it was a good idea too. Then, God responded.
We might anticipate “Well done, David.” Or “You are correct, my house should have been built before your own.” But God always goes one better than what we would expect. He says to David, “I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house” (17:10).
God mentions that he hasn’t asked for a house and doesn’t need one, since “heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool” (Isa 66:1). But that is beside the point. Instead, the Lord uses this occasion to refresh his promises and declare his faithful love. In essence, he says that he will bring peace to the people in David’s lifetime, his son will build God’s house, and the throne of David will last forever.
“He [Solomon] shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.” (12–14)
There are lots of forevers here. The final “forever” could even be translated “forever, forever.” God’s response evokes permanence, rock-solid love, and a very active divine hand in the future of his people. Jesus later clarifies that this house—our house—is permanent because it is his house. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2).
We have been brought into an unshakable kingdom and our home in Christ is secure. And this home is established on his sacrificial love. It does not collapse under the weight of our sins, the strength of our enemies, or the assault of death itself.
Having this security—a certain home with God, who gives us more than we could ask—forever and forever—is a fine way to start any conversation. Then we can ask, “How are you?”