WHEN GOD SAYS ‘NO’!
As I pray today, Father, help me to tune my heart to yours, to earnestly seek you for what you would have me see and then do; help me to commit my will to yours.
Read 2 SAMUEL 7:1-17
God’s Promise to David
7 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:
5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’”
17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Lay before the Lord all your plans, your heart’s desires for you and your family. May our hearts be open to hear all God’s words, even the hard ones.
Nathan is represented as a faithful servant, a man of God. Giving words of affirmation to people is a beautiful gift, yet undertaking the opposite is challenging. For all prophets, to speak words from God with integrity inevitably means delivering a message that runs counter to man’s heart. Nathan bravely and humbly returns to the king and shares the word of the Lord (v 17; ‘But…’, v 4), which is in complete contrast to his first statement (v 3). One was his thought, the other the Lord’s instruction!
In those times, to face kings with bad news could cost your life, as history has shown over generations. We know David’s heart was for God, but we can change when circumstances no longer please us. Ultimately, Nathan was prepared to say, “God says ‘No.’” That is a hard statement to make – and to take. Often we have great plans and visions in God’s service, and it hurts when others disagree, or interject with practicalities, or tell us to wait.
Nathan also has a promise to share, for God is preparing David for far more than temples in earthly realms. This is of messianic and supernatural proportions (v 13). As God declares ‘I AM’, look again and see what God will do for David and his people: ‘I took you from the pasture … I have been with you … I will make your name great’ (vs 8,9) … ‘I will provide for my people… give you rest… raise up your offspring… establish his kingdom… be his father…’ (vs 10-15). These are not temporal promises for one man (v 16), but for all God’s people – promises that will endure forever. What joy, hope, and protection!
‘I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.’1 Are we trusting ourselves, or God?
Lord God, everything I have has come from you. Help me to use all that I am, all that is mine to bring you glory.
1 Isa 45:2
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