Summary: Freeing ourselves from the tyranny of good intentions

Last week I asked you what you were afraid of, what fears could paralyze you. And we talked at length about a common fear of most everyone, the fear of being forgotten and alone. There is a close cousin of fear I’d like to ask you about what makes you anxious. Anxiety is a little less intense than fear but it may be worse because its constant, its nagging, it seems ever-present. Anxiety is that sense of worry that will keep you up at night in preparation for something that is about to occur. You’re likely to face anxiety is you’re a type A person, if you’re constantly thinking about the next task or if you have allowed yourself to be manipulated into being the family peacemaker. Some anxiety is appropriate and really the determination of that appropriateness is whether or not you are concerned over something that is your legitimate responsibility. You see I may get anxious over not having my sermon ready by Friday… and that is appropriate concern. But some of the time I allow myself to become anxious and to be concerned about things for which I have no responsibility. In fact that is the case most of the time.

You know I become anxious at times because we don’t see more decisions for Christ in our church. Now is that appropriate or not? Well help me here. Who convicts of sin and righteousness and of judgment? Who is it the one that invited a person to come to Christ? Is it me? Is it you? Its the Holy Spirit. And what does God call me and you to do in that work, but to share and to pray? Now the real question of legitimate responsibility and appropriate anxiety is to whether or not we share and whether or not we pray. So if your anxious at times as I am about more people receiving Christ at Cassville, why don’t you commit yourself to prayer and sharing and leave the work of the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit and lay aside that anxiety.

Well can you guess what our text is about today? Its about… anxiety. You may not see that initially but its there, right there in the first verse just between the lines. David is anxious. He is not fearful. He is not under some kind of tangible and direct threat. Saul is not chasing him. In fact he is living large, in the lap of luxury. David lives in a cedar house. He is not anxious about something he has done that is bad, but about doing something good, but something that was not his responsibility. In that moment of anxiety David shares with Nathan the prophet.

After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent." 2 Nathan replied to David, "Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you." 3 That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: 4 "Go and tell my servant David, `This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. 5 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. 6 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders [1] whom I commanded to shepherd my people, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"’ 7 "Now then, tell my servant David, `This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be ruler over my people Israel. 8 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 like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 9 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 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. "`I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’"

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