1 Chronicles 17
I think it means a lot of different things to say that we are created in the image of God. I believe that includes things like having freedom of choice, having the power to create little people in our own image, and being able to think intelligently. However, I also think it can point to other, more minor, characteristics or character traits, such as the example we find in this chapter.
Even before I had my first child, I was aware that the capacity to be a parent must be part of what it means to be made in the image of God. For He is the ultimate Parent, and we—no matter how old we get—are now and will always be His children, His creation. It works the same way for human families. No matter how old your kids get, once you’re a parent, you’re always a parent. And they're always your kids!
And, of course, one of the hallmarks of being a parent is taking care of your children. Although it’s true that, as a result of sin, parents on this Earth get to the place where their children often have to take care of them, I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Whenever I go to lunch with my mom, for instance, she always wants to pay the bill. Sometimes she is gracious and allows me to take care of it, but I think it goes against her nature as a mom.
I saw a bit of that in God in this chapter: "After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, 'Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.'" (vs 1) David suddenly realizes that he has built a mighty fine place for himself, while God’s accommodations—according to his way of thinking—were, shall we say, less than adequate. So he decides that he’s going to build a fine house for the Lord.
But God had other things in mind. He sent the prophet Nathan with a message: "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another'... I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you." (vs 4-5, 10)
God knew that David was the one who needed the house. And instead of having His children thinking they would provide something for Him, He let David know that He is the one who is the business of providing. That’s not to say that God never accepts the gifts we bring to Him. Of course He does—just like we make a big deal out of those little gifts our children bring to us. But we should never lose sight of the fact that God is the parent. He is in the business of taking care of us, not the other way around.