S: 1 Chronicles 17 When David had settled into his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a palace made from cedar, while the ark of the Lord’s covenant is under a tent.” Nathan said to David, “You should do whatever you have in mind, for God is with you.”
That night God told Nathan the prophet, “Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: “You must not build me a house in which to live. For I have not lived in a house from the time I brought Israel up from Egypt to the present day. I have lived in a tent that has been in various places. Wherever I moved throughout Israel, I did not say to any of the leaders whom I appointed to care for my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?’”’
“So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord who commands armies says: “I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd to make you a leader of my people Israel. I was with you wherever you went and I defeated all your enemies before you. Now I will make you as famous as the great men of the earth. I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle them there; they will live there and not be disturbed anymore. Violent men will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning and during the time when I appointed judges to lead my people Israel. I will subdue all your enemies.
“‘“I declare to you that the Lord will build a dynastic house for you! When the time comes for you to die, I will raise up your descendant, one of your own sons, to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build me a house, and I will make his dynasty permanent. I will become his father and he will become my son. I will never withhold my loyal love from him, as I withheld it from the one who ruled before you. I will put him in permanent charge of my house and my kingdom; his dynasty will be permanent.”’” Nathan told David all these words that were revealed to him.
David went in, sat before the Lord, and said: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? And you did not stop there, O God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. You have revealed to me what men long to know, O Lord God. What more can David say to you? You have honored your servant; you have given your servant special recognition. O Lord, for the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing in order to reveal your greatness. O Lord, there is none like you; there is no God besides you! What we heard is true! And who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation in the earth? Their God went to claim a nation for himself! You made a name for yourself by doing great and awesome deeds when you drove out nations before your people whom you had delivered from the Egyptian empire and its gods. You made Israel your very own nation for all time. You, O Lord, became their God. So now, O Lord, may the promise you made about your servant and his family become a permanent reality! Do as you promised, so it may become a reality and you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The Lord who commands armies is the God of Israel.’ David’s dynasty will be established before you, for you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a dynasty for him. That is why your servant has had the courage to pray to you. Now, O Lord, you are the true God; you have made this good promise to your servant. Now you are willing to bless your servant’s dynasty so that it may stand permanently before you, for you, O Lord, have blessed it and it will be blessed from now on into the future.”
O: David had the right heart -- he saw that God had established his rule in Israel and he was living in a comfortable palace, yet the Ark of the Covenant where God's official presence was was still housed in a tent. So he wanted to honour God and build God's Ark a proper temple. Nathan the prophet also thought it was a great idea.
However, God did not allow him to do so, as David had killed too many people. (See 1 Chronicles 22:8).
Nonetheless, God saw that David's heart was in the right place, even though his proposed action wasn't the right action in these circumstances. Therefore God richly rewarded David anyway.
In governmental affairs in modern human rights, we recognise that governments must not try to legislate thought crimes. This is because human beings cannot judge one's heart -- only God can. Therefore human governments cannot criminalise thoughts and intentions -- only actions.
I just got reprimanded recently for good intentions in trying to be helpful to someone, but my actions turned out not to be exactly in the way that the person wanted, and so that person was frustrated with me instead. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" but God can and does correct our actions. But God also does see our heart intentions, whether good or bad.
God sees our hearts in their full measure. He can indeed and does judge our hearts -- whether our intentions are good or bad. Jesus reminded us that all sins begin in the heart -- e.g. Matthew 5:21-28.
A: So we should continue to study the scriptures to learn what God wants of us, and intend good.
S: Thank You, Father, that You see our intentions and reward us accordingly. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)