We’re continuing our look at some times when God said no. We’ve learned some heavy lessons about God’s holiness and that sin is not something to be trifled with. Today the no comes with an overwhelming outpouring of grace.
In the parallel account in 2 Samuel 7 we learn that David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from his enemies. No longer having to fight off threats to the nation or to his own rule, David was finally able to catch his breath and his first thoughts were of the God who had made him king. He wanted to build a temple, a real, permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant. He wanted to show that God’s presence with His people Israel was tangible and fixed, representing the eternal promises God had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
It was a worthy thought, a well-placed desire and Nathan the prophet gave his blessing. “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” (1 Chronicles 17:2).
Except that God had other plans.
He said no to the temple. (At least to David building it.) But then God said He would build DAVID a house, a heritage, an eternal dynasty. The Messiah, the King of Kings would come from David’s and he would forever be associated with the Chosen One of God. He would be called the Son of David. He would sit on the throne of David.
And David said, “Whoa.” (That’s a paraphrase.) You can read his actual response in 1 Chronicles 17:16-27 or 2 Samuel 7:18-29. It’s good stuff.
Here are some takeaways from this no.
God rejected the notion of David building the Temple. He didn’t reject David. In fact, He CHOSE David for a particular honor and distinction that went far beyond that of building the Temple. It’s important for us to remember that a ‘no’ is not personal.
God’s plan was greater than David’s. By promising to build David a “house,” God invited David to take a step back and see a bigger picture, to see a plan drawn out on an eternal canvas. When God tells us no, let’s resolve to look for the greater purpose God is working out in our lives.
The most important thing to build is not a monument but an intimate relationship with God. Since the time that God called Abraham out of Ur, He was calling a people for His name’s sake. On Sinai, He promised to be Israel’s God and they promised to be His people. There had never been a people whom God had met with the way He met with Israel. Today He chooses to dwell not just WITH us, but IN us.
It’s all about Jesus. When God responds to David, He immediately draws the focus to the coming Messiah who will rule over His kingdom forever. If that’s God’s perspective, then that should be ours as well.
Next week we’ll look at a New Testament example when God told Paul no.