“Nathan the prophet” makes his first appearance in the Bible in 2 Samuel 7. David calls him in to consult on the matter of building God a “house.” After all, God has been good to David, shouldn’t David do something for God?
But it is important to see that David was over-stepping his bounds a bit here – as God reminds him in short order.
Nathan, of course, is caught up in the grandeur of David’s idea and at once proclaims it a good idea. God, however, has other ideas.
No one out-gives God. More than that, one doesn’t have the right to give God whatever he wants. The law required giving God what God wants. As God reminds David, the Lord never asked David for a house. Additionally, the Lord’s tent was prescribed and designed by God Himself. David had no right, on his own, to supplant it. To do so was to implicitly proclaim the tent of God’s design inferior to the temple of David’s design. Centuries later, the Christian Stephen will be martyred for implying that the temple wasn’t God’s idea and more attention was being paid to it than to the will of the Lord (see Acts 7).
Chapter seven is pivotal in the Old Testament. First, it is the foundation for the notion that David’s house was to be the ruling house over all Israel – forever. God promises never to withdraw his love from David’s line – though the Lord knows He will have to discipline David’s descendants.
By the end of the Old Testament though, it will become obvious that David’s house is failing and the rule of his descendants is coming to an end. But this gives rise to a second theme, the rebuilding of David’s house (Amos 9:11), the child who would come through his line to create an ideal kingdom and rule with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9; 11; Jeremiah 9:25ff).