Summary: This is about understanding God’s will.
A young lady attended a missionary service several years ago. As she heard the missionary share the stories of danger and success, she knew that God was calling her to be a missionary. She prayed about it, and talked to several people about this. She just knew that God was calling her to be a missionary; she had no doubts in her mind. As she graduated from high school, she went to prepare to be a missionary at a bible college. She graduated and prepared to leave for the mission field.
Just a few weeks before this she was to leave a foreign land to be missionary, the lady’s only sister and husband were tragically killed in a car accident. They left four children. The lady’s parents had passed away, and she had no other siblings, so the children were given to her to care for. There was no way, at this point, for the lady to live out her calling to be a missionary. She shuttered at the thought of putting these four precious children in an orphanage. She took the four children as though they were her own. She was devastated by not being able to go to the mission field.
For the next several years, she was a devoted mother to the children. She prayed for them every night. She raised them in a caring loving home. When the children were old enough to leave home, the lady was too old to begin a career as a missionary. “How could God let her down like that?” you ask. Well, as it turned out, the lady’s sister and husband had not been Christian, so the children were raised in a Christian home. It also was the case that all four of the children that the lady raised went on to be missionaries. So, rather than just lady being a missionary, four missionaries came out of her house.
God’s purpose is not always what we see. And, at times, it results in a different outcome than we had anticipated.
Turn with me to 2 Samuel 7.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-17.
Here we have the picture of the new king of Israel. David looks at the house that he has. It was a palace worthy of any king. Then he looks out the window and sees the tent where the ark of the Lord was sitting. The ark of the Lord was the place where Moses had placed the Ten Commandments. It was the symbol of the Lord’s presence, and it was sitting in a tent. David thought there was a great disparity between the luxurious house in which he lived and the meager tent in which the ark of the Lord rested.
He had a desire to build a house for the ark of Lord that was at least as beautiful as his own house. He shared his plan with the prophet Nathan, who was basically the chaplain for the palace. Nathan thought that it was a great idea, but when he went to prayer that night, the Lord said, “Hey, wait a minute, David will not build my temple.” David was thwarted in his efforts to provide an adequate resting place for the ark of the Lord. What’s wrong with David wanting to build a house for the ark of the Lord? Nothing. Even Nathan the prophet said, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” Every God-loving man would have been in favor of putting the ark of the Lord in a respectable place. God had different plans, however. What can we learn from this experience of David? Why did God forbid this chain of events? The first thing is that it was…
I. Forbidden but not WRONG.
God forbade David from building a temple. God had not had a temple at any point from the time he delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt until this time. God was not saying that the idea of a temple was wrong. He was saying that the timing was not right. In 1 Chronicles 22:8, when David is talking to his son Solomon about building the temple, David says to him, “But the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth.” David was not allowed to build the temple because he had shed blood.
God didn’t totally disapprove though. There were two things that he approved of. The first was…
A. The SPIRIT in which the offer was made.
David’s heart was in the right place. There was nothing wrong with the spirit in which the offer was made. God appreciated the motive of David’s heart.