When God Says "No"
by Tony Dobson
2 Samuel chapter 7 shows us an interesting case of where God says 'no' to one of His most famous followers, David, King of Israel.
It takes place during a time of celebration within Israel, as the Ark of the Covenant has just been brought into Jerusalem. Always seeking to glorify God, David would seek to build God a temple. However God would tell him "no".
Whether you are a Christian or not, I think everyone knows what it is like for us not to get the answers we want to certain situations. Jobs, relationships, loans, places to live, etc. In various ways these things can be life changing. If you think of discussions you might have had in regard to "parallel universes", and think about how your life might have been different had certain events had a different outcome. When we don't get what we want we can react one of two ways - we can either mope, or we can accept God's will and continue to praise Him.
In this chapter David's motivations are right. He is seeking to do more for God, and wants to build God a house. By comparing himself with God he has a right perspective, one of humility. More than anything else this perspective and humility gives him a desire to bless God, and to do something for His glory.
David lived in a cedar house. Cedar was very expensive & beautiful, so if you think of it in terms of mansions with lots of marble or something similar you get the idea of David's feelings. Wishing to show gratitude and give glory to God was a constant theme of David's life. Is it ours? David was a man after God's own heart so we need to take on board his attitude.
Comparing a beautiful house with a tent seems like a ridiculous comparison, even if that tent was the finest marquee. David had been greatly blessed by God and realised he had no right to a better habitation than God. It made sense to David, it makes sense to us, and in relation to the chapter it made sense to Nathan as well. Everything seems to make sense. It is being done for God's glory, the resources are there, there is peace in the land. Everything seems right. But is it? How would we find out?
Prayer! And there is no prayer here! Logic on its own is not enough. Really, as much as we possibly can, we must seek God's will in prayer.
From verse 4 God makes His voice heard. Prior to this you see two men talking about it between themselves, no sign of them speaking with God in regards to this. Consequently God makes His will known.
What would have happened had Nathan not passed this information onto David? He could have done of course, but he was responsible. Think of how difficult it is to tell a friend that they are wrong. Now imagine it being such an important matter and in saying it to the King! Full credit to Nathan - he feared God more that any man. This points out another important thing about David - he was willing to be re-directed by God.
What can we say about David's response? You'll notice that this isn't just passive acceptance, this is praise! It would have been easy to mope, but David didn't do it. Neither does David shun God. It could have been very different. Think of the ways David might have reacted:
- He could have wallowed in self-pity.
- He could have become depressed.
- Could easily have wandered away from God.
God's answers are not always what we want to hear. Whatever His answers are to us, we should always return to Him with praise. And if you cannot think of a better reason, always remember that Christ died on the cross for you, which should always invoke our utmost praise toward Him.
Thankfully though God is not just a God of history, he is a God for today. His thoughts toward us are good, He has plans for our future, and as He did with David He also wants us to know that He has our future in His mind. Strangely it is often His promises regarding 'right now' which we frequently overlook - take a moment to remember His goodness and cleave to Him.
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