Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The David method of dealing with disappointment

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

TO CHEW ON: "O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears." 1 Chronicles 17:20

David's majestic prayer of 1 Chronicles 17 flows, surprisingly, out of disappointment. If we read the first part of 1 Chronicles 17, we discover that his prayer follows a "No" from God.

David, near the end of his reign, has the thought of building a temple for God to replace the portable tabernacle. He checks with prophet Nathan, who agrees it's a great idea.

But that very night, God comes to Nathan with an opposite message: "Go and tell my servant David, 'Thus says the Lord: "You shall not build Me a house to dwell in."'" 1 Chronicles 17:4

David's reaction to Nathan's message is an excellent example of how we should handle disappointment. It could serve as a template for us.

How David reacts to Nathan's visit:

1. He begins by quieting himself before God: "Then king David went in a sat before the Lord" (vs. 16).

What a great start for a post-disappointment session with God - sitting quietly before Him.

2. He gets himself in perspective: "Who am I O Lord God? And what is my house?" (vs. 16). It's a rhetorical question, to which we imagine the answer, "nobody," and "nothing." Instead of getting himself in a snit about God nixing his plans, David takes himself out of the centre of his world, and puts God there.

We need to do that too as a second step in dealing with disappointment.

3. He focuses on what is, not what isn't: "You have also spoken of your servant's house for a great while to come..." (vs 17).

God's message to David is far from all negative. It contains reminders of God's goodness to his family in the past and promises for the future.

As we sit before God, we can review former promises, experiences and triumphs. And He may impress on us new promises in Bible words, the lyrics of songs, or thoughts from sermons or books.

4. David next meditates on the greatness of God: "O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You..." (s. 20).

No matter what situation we're in, we can never go wrong contemplating God — His attributes, His actions in history, His love extended to us in Jesus. (Want to get really excited about God? Get a good book that explains His greatness. I'll never forget how my eyes were opened to this many years ago through my Bible school systematic theology textbook, which explained grand terms like omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, redemption, adoption etc. and with multiple Bible references showed how God is and gives these things!)

5. He aligns himself with God's revealed will: "And now, O Lord, the word which You have spoken...let it be established forever, and do as You have said" (vs. 23).

No arguing, or trying to change God's mind for David. He accepts what God has said and adjusts his attitude to comply with it.

Do we do that as readily? Or do we bog down in thoughts of "if only...what if I tried...maybe if I do...I wish..."

6. Finally, David leaves God's presence full of of faith: "Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant...and it shall be blessed forever" (vs. 27).

What a great way to come out of a session of hashing through a disappointment — with a confident faith in God for the future.

As we review 2010 and anticipate 2011, let's use the David method of dealing with past disappointments, then go into the future knowing that God's plans for us are good.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this prayer of David's. May his spirit of worship, relinquishment, adjustment, and faith in Your will be evident in my life. Amen.

MORE: No and Yes

God's "no" to David was accompanied by a big "yes."

He said of David's "seed": "And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever." (1 Chronicles 17:14).

Of course in hindsight, we see the fulfillment of this promise in David's descendant Jesus and the Kingdom of God He represents and establishes.

I wonder how many of God's "no"s to us hold within them bigger "yes's than we ever imagine.

Bible Drive-Thru

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