When God Says “No”

21 Feb

During our Wednesday evening service at Whitesburg, I have been preaching a series of messages on the life of David. Today, I thought I would share a synopsis of the message last night…

“When God Says No”

2 Samuel 7:1-29

Years ago, I heard a preacher talk about the three ways that God can answer our prayers…

YES, right now

YES, but wait

NO

It’s this third instance that we are going to look at today. What do we do when God says no? How do we process that?  Here we see David go through a time when God did not answer his prayer. God did not give him the desire of his heart. David has now become king and he is ruling the nation from Jerusalem, just like he is supposed to. He even brought up the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem so that it would have its proper place and the presence of God would dwell among the people. So, this period in David’s life is very much a high point. God has blessed and David has honored the Lord. And this is one of the mountaintop times in David’s life. And God says, “no.”

God sometimes says no to good things  (v. 1-2)

Look at David’s situation here. There is not a hint of pride or of David desiring to do this for any reason other than to glorify the Lord. Up until this time, the presence of the Lord was manifested in the tabernacle, a tent. David looked around at the expensive, ornate palace that he lived in and said, “You know, the Lord should have a nicer house than me. I want to build the Lord a permanent house.” That is what was going on.  David wanted to do a good thing. A noble thing.  In fact, the Bible says just that later on in 2 Chronicles 6:7-9  The Lord told David that he desired a good thing. He commended David for that desire, but then he said, even though you have a good heart, that is not my will for you to do.

You see, so many Christians have all of these wrong ideas about prayer and the will of God. Years ago, I had a lady tell me that whatever she prayed for she had learned to expect the opposite from God. She took that to mean that she had little faith to pray or that something was so wrong with her. Now, one reason that might have been her experience is simply that she needed to learn to walk with the Lord more and get her desires more in line with God’s desires. That happens many times. We don’t walk with him as we should and therefore, we do not want what God wants. As a result, we are asking God for things that aren’t even in the ballpark of His will for us. Many times that is the case.

However, sometimes we are walking with him and we desire good things. Even things that would bring honor to the Lord. Yet, God still says no. That is what happened to David. God said no to a good thing. Think about it.

Many times our friends will say yes before God says no (v. 3)

Look at what Nathan the prophet says in v. 3.  By the way, this is the first mention of him in the Bible and later on he is going to have a more key role in David’s life.  Nathan says, “I think you ought to go for it!”  Now, Nathan was not some pagan out here. He was a prophet of the Lord. He wanted to honor the Lord too. He was sincere, AND HE WAS DEAD WRONG.

Listen, friends, there is value in many counselors. There is value in talking with trusted, Godly people in our lives.  Many times God might use them to speak to us or to clarify a situation, BUT they do not speak for God. Ultimately, we must listen to God alone. That is the advice I recently gave a close friend of mine who came to me.  I told him the situation as I saw it and gave him my best advice – and then told him to get alone with God for the answer!

God often has something else in mind when He says no (v. 4-17)  

Read v. 4-11 and God reminds David of how He has worked in His life. Notice V. 11 there is a definite play on words here. David isn’t going to build God’s house, but rather God is going to build David’s house.  Now, very important point here. Down through v. 11 God tells David some things that are going to be fulfilled in his lifetime. Then beginning with v. 12, God tells David some things he is going to do after his death…Read v. 12-17  Now, it is very important to point out that these verses have a dual fulfillment…

  • In the short term, they are fulfilled in Solomon
  • In the long term, they are fulfilled in Christ

-Compare v. 13-14 to Hebrews 1:8

Compare v. 16 to Luke 1:26-33

 Do you know how long it was between David’s death and the birth of Christ?  About 960 years. Think about that. While David was thinking about the “right now”, God was thinking 960 years down the road!

Respond to God’s no with reverent humility (v. 18-20)

Think about this. David was reaching the height of his accomplishment, power, popularity, wealth, you name it. David had it all at this time. And yet, look at his heart. The truth is that all of us need to read v. 18 more often than we do. The truth is that none of us deserve anything from the Lord. The truth is that our worst day is all of his grace. The truth is that every single one of us  – by the nature of living in America and the blessings we have here – every single one of us is far better off than the overwhelming majority of Christians in the world right now. AND WHO ARE WE?  We are nobody. It is only by God’s grace we are who we are.

After God says no, praise Him (v. 21-29)

Did you notice that 10 times in these verses David refers to Himself as “your servant.”  Now, David is king, but he saw himself as a humble servant of THE KING over all. So much of our struggle comes from our prideful self-importance. The truth is that our theology says God’s will is all that matters, but our hearts sometimes say something else. It’s times like these that we must praise Him and let our feelings catch up. God said no to David, but David praised the Lord and said Yes to God’s plan.

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