David's Footstool (Just A Minute #130)

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky

Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: (1 Chronicles 28:2)

Somehow a glorious temple and a footstool don’t seem to have much in common.

But King David applied this humble image to one of the most magnificent and expensive buildings ever built. A simple calculation of the man hours involved in erecting the Temple, plus the quality of the supplies used and the methods employed in its construction, will quickly reveal a staggering cost.

A footstool just isn’t what most of us would have compared it to. Whether made of common wood or ornately decorated with gold and exotic hardwoods, it was still a lowly piece of furniture. Whether stepped on by a Jewish carpenter to reach some nails or placed under the feet of Pharoah to heighten his sense of authority, a stool was a stool.

Yet this is the mental picture Israel’s king selected for his carefully worded discourse to a huge crowd of important subjects. The audience included civil leaders, military officers, and administrators of his vast family estate. He wanted everyone in authority to understand what he was going to say.

He started his royal address with the announcement of a major disappointment. After setting his heart on the awesome plan of building a temple for Jehovah, the prophet Nathan had informed him that God did not want him for the job.

Oh, the idea had been a good one! The prophet himself had been so confident that he enthusiastically approved it without even consulting the Lord. And then, even after rejecting David’s personal dream, God had still commended him for having thought of it.

Thankfully, and in spite of the painful news, David had not let the tidings crush him; instead, he immediately switched gears and began preparations to help his son Solomon do it.

So why this choice of words? It definitely sounds a bit demeaning. He was likening the luxurious temple, loaded with gold, beautiful rock, and cedar paneling, to a resting place for feet. Sure, the “feet” were those of the eternal King of Kings, which in itself elevated it to a higher and nobler position, but the unmistakable aspect of humility was clearly there.

In one sense, David’s masterpiece was no more than a foot rest.

It is a thought we should not forget. Sometimes we are prone to think a lot of our efforts. Our projects, our sacrifices, our accomplishments, all seem pretty big to us. If we add to the mix our tendency to compare ourselves with those appearing to do less than us, we rapidly inflate our value out of sight.

That is when it is good to think of David’s footstool.

Nothing we could ever build could possibly shock God. Our peers may gawk at our work, and admire our genius, but never God. No building project would get a “Wow!” from Him. No amount of sacrifice would make Him our debtor. Not even our greatest accomplishments would cause the Almighty One to raise an eyebrow in amazement.

Dear Father, although I want to do my best for You, I realize how insignificant and flimsy anything I do really is. I praise You for the condescending grace that rewards even the tiniest efforts. Amen.