Summary: WE've all heard 'No" to our requests. But what if the 'No' comes from God?
“Questions of Christmas: What If God Says ‘No’?”
2 Sam. 7:1-17
The kindergarten girl asks her 2nd grade sister, “Can I play with your doll?” “NO!” The just turned 16 year old asks his dad, “All my friends got to drive a group of us around for a while on their 16th birthday. Can I have the car to do the same?” “NO!” The teenager finally musters up the courage to ask that special someone, “Would you like to go out Friday night?” “NO!” The wife and her husband have been battling furiously lately; finally she confronts him, “We need to see a marriage counselor. We have to put this marriage back together. Will you come with me?” “NO!” “Doctor,” asks the husband, “Is there anything you can do to help my wife?” “NO!”
“NO!” We’ve all been there, heard that! We know the sorrow, the anger, the bitterness from being turned down, from being refused. But what if the “NO”! is from God? What do we do, how do we handle it when God says “NO!”? Today’s Scripture, by showing the steps of David’s encounter with God, gives us some guidance.
First, like David, we need to DEVELOP THE PREMISE. At this point in time David is riding high; he’s experiencing the good life. It was a period of tremendous peace and calm - in David’s home, in Israel, and in the nation’s spiritual life. And it occurred to him that while he was living in a great palace, and the people had all they needed, God had no permanent dwelling place. So why not use his time and energy, his resources and his skills to build a glorious temple for his great God? Certainly this premise is reasonable, logical, and scriptural. David was thinking of the honor and glory of God; he loved God and wanted to do the best for Him. In fact, the II Chronicles account of this same story quotes God as saying that it was well that it was within David’s heart to do so.
There’s a principle here for us to remember: GOD LOVES THOSE WHO LOVE TO DO HIS WILL. That’s why Paul begins his practical advice in the 12th chapter of Romans by urging Christians to be transformed by the renewal of their minds so that they will be able to “test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God wants us to be discerning concerning His will. We are to dream God’s dreams, to do great things for a great God, to be willing to serve wherever, whenever.
Barb and I had a similar experience with a premise. During the summer of 1993 - when our congregation was just beginning to deal with the questions surrounding an inquiry about selling our facilities to another congregation - a church near Sacramento, California expressed a keen desire in me as a potential Sr. Pastor. Being persistent, they eventually offered to fly us out for two days to be interviewed and to become familiar with their ministry. We were one of three couples they were inviting to do so. By this time we felt we at least should accommodate their request, since it was exploratory only - no obligations. We, after all, wanted to discern God’s will, to serve wherever, whenever. It was our premise.
Certainly you have had premises in your life as well. You probably have several even now. Ask yourself this morning, “WHAT IS THE PREMISE IN MY LIFE?” Maybe you want your child to accept Jesus Christ; you want your cancer healed, your business to succeed; you desire our church to grow; you want to find a mate; you really would like the job you just interviewed for; you desperately want your marriage repaired and saved. What’s the issue for you when it comes to discerning God’s will? Keep it in the forefront of your mind as we continue with David’s experience.
Being wise, David next began to DELIBERATE THE PLAN. He shared his thoughts with the prophet Nathan which, in essence, was sharing them with God. It’s a time of clarifying, asking, seeking affirmation. It needs to be part of every planning process. Is it needed? Is it necessary? Does it honor God? Is the time right? Is God approving of this plan?
The principle here is THE PLAN IS ONLY RIGHT WHEN THE PLAN IS RIGHT TO GOD. No boat with God on board will ever sink so get God on board! Maybe you’ve seen the bumper sticker which says, “Baby on Board.” So every plan needs God on board. Proverbs 16 (3 & 9) states “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established…The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” So David consulted a trusted colleague and sought God’s affirmation and involvement.