David, above all other Bible characters, has given us a large window into his mind in the 73 psalms that bear his name. The Hebrew word for “mind” in 1 Chronicles 22:7 is frequently translated “heart” in the psalms, and within the semantic range of the word is the concept of “a seat.”
Who is sitting on the seat of our hearts and minds? A number of characters, Mr. Emotion, Mr. Understanding, Mr. Intellect, Mr. Thoughtful and Mr. Affection, all occupy a place directing our innermost desires and affections. But thoughts of God occupied the mind of David, for he said, “I have set my affection to the house of my God” (1Ch 29:3).
In 1 Chronicles 22 David is charging Solomon to build God’s house by assuring him that what he is doing is according to the will of God. David had discovered years earlier that it was not in the mind of God for him to build the house. Maybe like David, you have it in your mind to do something for God, but He has closed the door and you don’t know what to do. How many times have we sat in the house thinking about what we should be doing for God? Maybe it’s reaching out to your work colleagues, or an idea to start a new work in your assembly, and you are of the mind that it would be a “good” thing to do. However, just because something is “good” doesn’t mean it is God’s will. David had to learn that what is in our mind must also be in the mind of God. To get the full picture we must rewind twenty-five years to 1 Chronicles 17:1.
David was sitting in a modern new timber frame house, ruling over a united kingdom with no enemies to trouble him. Life was good! But David’s mind was uneasy because there was a compatibility issue. He looked at the cedar panelling with the pleasant odour of Lebanon filling the room, and as he admired the richness of this timber, his mind moved beyond the cedar walls of his house to another wood he was very familiar with – shittim wood, overlaid with pure gold.
The ark of the covenant and the mercy seat was the place where the presence of Jehovah dwelt, and it seemed to David that it should be found in more fitting surroundings than a tent. But God had never instructed Israel in this way, and certainly God’s house was not going to be built on the back of David’s “idea” even though it was commendable. God said, “Thou didst well in that it was in thine heart” (2Ch 6:8). David was a man with blood on his hands, but it would be a man of peace who would build the house. Solomon’s name means “peace” – shalom. But it was in David’s mind, and he decided to get spiritual advice on the matter.
David told Nathan the prophet he had an exercise to build a house for the ark. How careful we need to be in using the word “exercise” for something that we “want” to do or “want” someone else to do. The word “exercise” can make it all sound very acceptable. David approached Nathan as someone he could trust, a man of God. Perhaps David thought if he had Nathan’s approval then it would confirm that it was the mind of God. There is always the danger that when we have spoken to someone we trust to get their mind on a matter, and they agree, we conclude it must be the mind of God. Nathan’s reply seemed very acceptable, even confirming David’s exercise, but it wasn’t the mind of God at all. Nathan listened to David and must have been impressed at David’s godly concern for the ark. But had Nathan forgotten that David had an idea about the ark previously that ended in disaster? It seemed such a good idea at the time to bring up the ark out of the house of Abinadab on a new cart, which would be a much more convenient mode of transport than the outdated Levitical pattern. “Just do it, David,” the people might have said. But God’s Word hadn’t changed, and David found out that the “new cart” was not the mind of God either.
David and Nathan would learn once more that when it comes to the presence of God and the place where His honour dwells, it is not enough to say, “It was in my mind,” but rather, “It is in God’s Word.” How many times have we made decisions because it was a good idea, and even been encouraged by other believers who meant well, but didn’t have the mind of God? Rehoboam, later in his life, would refuse the mind of the older men because he preferred the ideas of the younger men. It ended up in the kingdom being divided.
The word of the Lord came to Nathan. This is the critical component that must have the chief seat in every believer’s mind. If the Word of God is not resident, then the order will be lost. As the speaker of the House of Commons intervenes in the debates with “order, order,” so God intervened in the mind of Nathan and he received the message from God for David. Nathan must tell David, “Thou shall not build me a house to dwell in.” This must have been humbling for Nathan as he went back to the king to tell him there had been a misunderstanding and he had given wrong advice. May God help us as believers when we have given wrong advice contrary to the mind of God to go to the person as soon as possible and seek to redirect them according to the Word of God. Naomi advised Ruth to go back but God had a place for this Gentile stranger in the “House of Bread” where there was provision for all.
But God still had a plan for David, something that had probably never entered his mind – “I will build thee an house” (2Sa 7:27). We can always be sure that what God has in mind for us will always be for our benefit. This will help us to accept God’s will and respond as David did.
God was announcing the mighty Davidic covenant that guaranteed his seed would sit upon the throne of David for ever. David’s mind was lifted to see beyond the ark and the mercy seat to the antitype, David’s greater Son, Christ – Himself our mercy seat, the Son of David and Son of Abraham.
David, from sitting in his house, was soon found sitting in the Lord’s presence (1Ch 17:16), not as sovereign but as a servant, which is the mind of Christ (Php 2:3-5). David acknowledges the greatness of God, “According to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things” (1Ch 17:19). “Therefore,” says David, “thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee” (17:25). When the birth of Christ was announced it was said of Him, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Luk 1:32).
Twenty-five years would pass from the day that David sat in his house until God brought His servant to Mount Moriah, just as He brought His servant Abraham with Isaac some 900 years earlier. Before God would spare the city, God had spared a son, and so David would purchase the place for the house to be built by paying the full price. Having purchased both the threshing floor and the whole place, David charges his son to build a house for the Lord.
As we think of One who paid the full price, may our minds and our affection be directed towards the temple of God in our day, which is the local assembly (1Co 3:16), remembering the truth expressed in the first commandment: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind” (Luk 10:27). This is the mind of Christ.
 All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV.