Read 1 Chronicles 17
Focus on verse 3
Is it possible that the prophet Nathan answered prematurely when David expressed his desire to build a house for the Lord in Jerusalem? Nathan responds with “do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” But that same night the Lord instructs Nathan to inform David that he is not to build a house for the Lord, but that the Lord will allow one of his sons to do so.
There is no question that the Lord and King David are the main characters in this passage, and the big idea has to do with the Lord reaffirming His intent to establish David’s line on the throne of Israel forever. There are also many little sub-themes that play into the story, and I believe this is one that is often overlooked.
Nathan was also the one who years later would call David out in regard to his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. Would it not be plausible that Nathan also may have to grow into his prophetic role in as the David grew into his Kingly role? Obviously, this involves some conjecture on my part, as the text does not give us any clear indication one way or another regarding what was going on in Nathan’s head, or what the Lord was attempting to teach His prophet through this encounter. So I would be the first to admit that Nathan may have been answering entirely in obedience to the Lord’s prompting when he told David to do all that was in his heart. To me it just seems to add a little humanity to the character of Nathan to suggest that he was not perfect… that he also had to grow into his ministry. It also reminds me that when I discover I have goofed something up, that my failure did not catch the Lord by surprise, and His redemptive plan is already in place if I care to follow it.
It may also be significant to note that the Lord does not rebuke Nathan, but just directs him to go back to David to inform him of the correction. This might reinforce to us the patient nature of God as He works in and through us to conform us little by little into the creatures He desires us to be.