King David was a man elevated from shepherd boy to king. Not elevated by man, but hand chosen by God Himself. He experienced victory over all his enemies, fame throughout the nations, amassed great wealth, and enjoyed the goodwill of his people. Yet none of that satisfied him. Hear the longing of his heart:
”One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.“ Psalm 27:4
If the temple had been in existence at that time David’s longing to dwell in the house of the Lord would have been more understandable. Who wouldn’t enjoy meeting with God amidst the ornate carving and abundance of gold in Solomon’s temple? But during the life of David there was no temple. The ark of God remained in a tabernacle of skins and curtains as it had done since the days of Moses. King David had built for himself a house of cedar, certainly something grand and palatial – suitable for a king. Yet his heart longed more intensely for the tent where God was than the comfort of his own dwelling.
Kings belong in palaces, not tents. Yet Almighty God dwelt in a tent, and that made it a palace to David.