|Nathan and David - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: " ' Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel saying, "Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?" ' " 2 Samuel 7:17
When David had the idea to build God a permanent house to replace the tent tabernacle, the prophet Nathan was quick to endorse it. But that night God told Nathan what He thought about David's plan. It wasn't what Nathan had said. The answer to the rhetorical question God wanted Nathan to put to David ("… have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd My people saying, 'Why have you not built me a house of cedar?' ") was NO. God had not asked for this before. Neither was He asking for it now.
My Bible's study notes on this verse explain: "God reminds David of His original intent in calling him to shepherd My people Israel, not to build Him a house" Sam Middlebrook, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 410.
In this situation we have an example of David making his own plans and asking God to bless them. This fall I took a DVD course (Discerning the Voice of God) by Priscilla Shirer. In the workbook that accompanies the lectures, she talks about our tendency to make plans and then ask God to bless them (instead of waiting for God to point us in the direction He wants us to go). Here are some bits I've underlined in my workbook:
"We have to decide to spend our time either discerning and aligning ourselves with the purposes of God or doing what we want while asking God to bless it" - Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God (Workbook), p. 85.However, let's not get the idea that God didn't appreciate David's heart. He actually turned David's desire around by promising David his own house—not one of cedar and stone, but of an everlasting dynasty (2 Samuel 7:16). We know that Jesus came from David's line and take this as a prophecy of His forever Kingdom.
"We have invited ourselves to do things God isn't doing" - Op. cit., p. 91.
"When seeking God's guidance, always take into account the activity He is allowing in your life at that time" - Op. cit., p. 89.
"We often find God's will when we do what's next and obediently respond to the normal duties of life" - Op. cit., p. 90.
"If you feel an overwhelming urge to act spontaneously, pull in the reins" - p. 93.
"Wait for the Father to lead you. If you do not feel an assurance in a decision, then wait. You will be glad you did" - Op. cit., p. 94.
God also assured David that a son of his would be the one to build that house of cedar. It happened when Solomon built the temple.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be sensitive to what You're doing in my life and around me, and to get on-board with Your activity instead of cooking up plans of my own. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.