Did God complain that He never had a house? Does He rest in a house?
Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.
"And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord,, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle." (6:4 – 6.)C. There is no doubt now that the Christian God is embodied like a man. He complains that He worked very hard, walked hither and thither in tents and tabernacles but never had a house to dwell in. Now if David would make him a house, he would rest in it. Are not the Christians ashamed of believing in such a God and in such a book as the Word of God? But they are to be pitied. Poor Christians! They were caught in the trap (of the Christian religion). They should now make a great effort to get out of it?
Answer: A minor correction- this passage is 2 Samuel 7.
It is obvious from the question of Maharishi that he was a habitual twister of the Holy Scripture to impose his preconceived notions on the text and then question it. Probably, too much reading of the Vedas written by the intoxicated Soma drinkers had numbed his mind in arriving at a conclusion contrary to evidences.
The first aspect of the question- did LORD God complain that He dwelled in a tabernacle?
Let us quote the very verse Maharishi quoted in the entirety.
2 Samuel 7:4-7 But it happened that night that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: "Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?' "
In 2 Samuel 7:1-2 when King David said that he will build a house for the LORD, the LORD God asked David a question- Have I EVER SPOKEN A WORD to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?
In other words, LORD God asked whether He ever complained or commanded.
As per Maharishi, the answer is yes and that LORD God complained.
If Maharishi thought that the answer is yes that the LORD God had complained, then the least that he should have done was to produce a SINGLE WORD mentioned in the Holy Bible where LORD God saying to anyone before King David to build a house for the LORD.
If Maharishi cannot produce (and he never did) a SINGLE WORD, then his conclusion is totally unfounded and baseless as usual.
Further, God did not say that He will rest (as in to refresh) in the house of God. He said he will dwell in the house of God.
Let us now focus on another aspect of the question as to the meaning of God dwelling in a house.
What is the meaning when God said “"Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?
Let us again read the context to understand what King David meant.
2 Samuel 7:1-2 – Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, BUT THE ARK OF THE GOD DWELLS INSIDE THE TENTS."
This ARK of the God was the designated place for God to meet His people and in that sense He dwelled there.
Now, let us see how King Solomon, who built the house of the LORD, understood the entire dwelling of God.
Following is the passage after King Solomon built the house of God.
1 Kings 8: 12-27 “Then Solomon spoke: "The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever." Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. And he said: "Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled [it], saying, ‘Since the day that I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel [in which] to build a house, that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel.' Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple [fn] for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said to my father David, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name. So the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke; and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised; and I have built a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And there I have made a place for the ark, in which [is] the covenant of the LORD which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.” Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; and he said: "LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep [Your] covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled [it] with Your hand, as [it is] this day. Therefore, LORD God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, 'You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.' And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David my father. "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”
So, any understanding that God was limited to the temple is erroneous and not based on the Holy Scripture.
If we have to grasp a bit of the greatness of the God of the Bible, let us read the following Psalms by King David.
Psalms 139:7-17 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or
where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You [are] there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You [are there]. [If] I take the wings of the morning, [And] dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light [are] both alike [to You]. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, [And] skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When [as yet there were] none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!