Summary: The Disappointment of "NO"
No. Such a small word, but the power behind it is terrifying. No one likes to be told no. It doesn’t matter that everyone else is told it too. It’s not much fun. From the young man asking a young lady out to the child asking mom for a candy bar. From the person asking their friends to come over to the man asking the doctor if his wife will live. There are varying degrees of pain, but none of them are what we’d call fun.
Even when we hear that response from God, “No,” it’s disheartening. You know he has the best interests in mind. You know he loves you and would never intentionally hurt you. But, it still stings. You had a great plan in place and God squashed it. Just like that. Over and done with. Ugh.
I’m not promising that the disappointment of that “no” response is ever going to go away completely, but what David’s story here teaches us is that God’s answer to prayer is always a cause for rejoicing. Rejoicing not because you feel good, but because you know what God has in store must be good.
Do any of you ever have this happen to you? You sit down, recline your seat back, open up your Diet Mt. Dew, relax for a second, and then realize you’ve forgotten something really important? That’s probably along the lines of something David was feeling here. With Saul dead, and with control of all of Israel, David built himself a home. In fact, it was more than a home, it was a palace of cedar. It is a good thing and a blessing from the Lord to be able to kick up your feet and enjoy the safety and comfort of one’s home. But, having finished this project, the reality of the situation struck him. “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” Seeing how much the Lord had blessed him, David wanted to give back to the Lord. If David gets a house, so does God.
With this in mind, David called the prophet Nathan to determine if this was a good plan to pursue. Nathan replied by saying, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.” Yet, it was that very night that God visited Nathan in a dream. Nathan was told, “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 h 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.
David had something wonderful in mind for God, and no matter how sweetly God phrased his “no” it was still a “no.” Whenever that happens to us, our first question is always “Why?” “Why God won’t you allow this wonderful thing to happen? Why won’t you allow me to serve? Why would this not turn out for good?” Asking such questions are never the problem. God is our Dad and we are allowed to speak openly with him.
The problem occurs when our question is no longer asked out of curiosity or pain, but out of confrontation. Honestly, who do you think you are? Do you have such a grasp on the going-ons of this world that you have the right to counsel God? Do you have the wisdom to be able to tell the Almighty that you know better? Truly, is there no limit to our arrogant stupidity? That, and the majority of times when you get mad at God’s decisions, you aren’t mad because he’s prevented you from serving him or others, but because you didn’t get something good for yourself.
When we act like this, what we’re actually doing is being like the little child who yells at mom because they can’t have an ice cream cone, all the while when mom is actually holding an entire sundae behind her back. If only we knew God’s intentions with his answer.