2 Samuel 7:1-3
After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
The books of Samuel record how God delivered David from his enemies, and turned him from a shepherd into king over all of Israel. David wanted to give thanks, and thought it would be a good idea to build a temple for God.
It makes sense, right? Why should David live in a palace, while the ark of God stays in a tent? David had the wealth and opportunity to make it happen. It seemed like such a good idea that the prophet Nathan even told David to go ahead and do it.
David had good intentions. He could have spent his riches on lavish things for himself, his family, or friends, or to show off his power to the people he ruled or to foreign nations. Instead David wanted to use his wealth to glorify God. He knew building a temple wouldn’t be easy, and would take years to complete, but he was willing to put in the time and effort.
But God denied David’s request.
As Christians, we should strive to do only what we believe God wants us to do. When we want something for selfish reasons, it should come as no surprise if God denies us. But there are times when we want something for all the right reasons, and are still denied by God.
Sometimes we’re presented with easier options, options that are available immediately instead of having to wait, but we feel compelled to pass those up in favor of a longer, more difficult route. The easy roads might seem alluring in some ways, but sometimes the more difficult road is ultimately the more fruitful road. When we’re willing to be patient, when want something for selfless, righteous reasons, we might come to think that that is what God wants us to do, that it is part of His plan.
David wanted to build a temple for God. He wanted this for all the right reasons, and it seemed as if it was in God’s plans for him to do so. I’m sure David was disappointed when God turned down his request. His intentions were good, but God simply had other plans for him. Instead of letting David build a temple, he had him establish a kingdom that would reign for all eternity. A pretty good trade, wouldn’t you say?
Likewise, we can want something for all the right reasons, and we might come to think that maybe it is part of God’s plan. But ultimately, the decision is God’s alone, and His plan is always best. He withholds nothing from us. If we want something for all the right reasons, and he still denies us, it’s only because he has something better planned. We should trust that his plan is better than anything we could plan on our own. Accepting God’s “no” takes as much faith as carrying out his “yes.”