The temple David had in mind (22:7) was to be a magnificent structure of fame and splendor. But as Stephen will point out in the New Testament, it was David’s project – not the Lord’s. David wanted to do something for God that would get the attention of the surrounding nations.
The temple, however, was a holy place: the place of God’s dwelling. No one who had shed as much blood as David could build such a holy place, but David could prepare for its preparation. Notice the amount of materials assembled: at least 3,700 tons of – over five billion dollars in today’s market. We are told of all this so we will know what a tremendous structure it would be – and what a great king David was.
But there was something more important than the physical materials, and that is the preparation of those who will build the temple. Already David has been excluded because of his life. If Solomon is successful, he need to give attention to the law of God in his own life – and so would the leaders of Israel (see verses 13 and 19).
The place where God dwells is today the Church, and we are each the precious materials out of which it is built (Ephesians 4:15-16). Let no one of mature spiritual mind denigrate the Church. It is a magnificent structure not of man’s making, but of God’s. If it is to be a worthy structure, those who make it up must give themselves to holiness – and to dedicated service.
“Satan” appears only three times in the Old Testament, and only here as a proper name. The story raises so many questions. Whose actions initiated this story? Samuel says the Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he incited David against them. So there, it looks like Israel sinned and God was looking for an occasion to punish them.
But here, it appears that Satan incited David to take a census of Israel, God became angry, and took out His anger on His people – not exactly fair of the Lord.
But there is another way to look at the story:
As David sees God’s punishment of Israel, he begs for the judgement of God to fall on him, the shepherd of Israel. They are but sheep. He is responsible for them.
I think this speaks more to the point of the story for the Chronicler. Satan is operative and influences all Israel – including David – for evil. Israel’s sin is unspecified. David’s is that he took a census to see how many fighting men he had. What difference did it make? God would provide the necessary soldiers, or just sent the heavenly host. David was not just counting Israel; he was counting on himself.
You see a precursor to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the sword in the hand of God. But God is gracious, and did not completely destroy His people.
There are at least two points here: First, God is in control.. He can use anyone or anything – including Satan – to accomplish His goals. Second, the leader of God’s people sets the standard for His people. When he sins, the people follow. They will never be more righteous than their leadership.