Never feel disappointed with God?
Today from Chuck Swindoll. We people on this earth package everything, and we expect the Lord in His directing us to package His plan just like we would. And we want that logic that we use to be His logic. And when it isn't, we wonder what's wrong up there.
When are they going to get their act together? Because it's not working out like I would have worked it out. As we invest ourselves in the Christian way of life, most of us hope our good behavior will yield a never-ending cycle of contentment and joy. But there are times when God, in His infinite wisdom, allows us to experience a shattered dream.
How do we handle those unwanted moments of disappointment? Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll tells a relevant story that's recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 7. In this story, we come to realize that God's ways are not our ways. So today, Chuck describes how to respond when God says no. When I cracked my Bible open to this chapter in recent days, I thought, what a unique setting in which David found himself being a man of war, a very courageous warrior.
He was often involved in battle and unrest. However, there's an interlude that's very calm and quiet. His life is like a great overture that moves from one passionate strain to another, one movement to another, only to pause in the middle.
The water settles, and there's a very quiet period of time where David is alone. In the interlude in verses 1, 2, and 3, there's peace. It says, It came about when the king lived in his house, and the Lord had given him rest on every side.
Something happened. First of all, there was domestic peace written over the hearth above his fireplace, Shalom. All is peace, all is well.
The kids were playing in the rooms around the house. The wife was happy. David was at peace in his heart. There was an interlude of quietness as perhaps he sat beside the fire one evening and watched it crackle, and he began to muse, began to meditate. Those are some of the best times in life.
The brief interludes, the quiet times. Furthermore, there was a national rest. See verse 1? God gave him rest on every side from all his enemies.
I'll tell you, David didn't know that very often. There was peace. It's a beautiful scene.
The best word is interlude. And David, as he begins to reflect upon the peaceful time and the lovely home in which he's living, lined with cedar, beautiful home, began to envision a dream. Verse 2, he said to his close companion, Nathan, see now I dwell in the house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains. And Nathan responds and says, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you. Well, that's a good friend.
Good friends encourage you. And there are times in which you see a need and you think, I'm the one that should meet that need. David had that happen. Remember, we looked at the ark of God as he brought it into the area, and he had in mind a place to build this idea. He was going to build a permanent residence in which to house the furniture of the tabernacle. God had never dwelt in a permanent house. David said, it isn't fitting that the king should live in this lovely cedar dwelling and the ark should be in a little tent out there. I will build a house for God.
I'll build a temple. And that was his resolve. Now I want to emphasize there was nothing of an ulterior motive. He had no selfish ambition.
He had no desire to make a name for himself. As a matter of fact, he wanted to exalt the name of God in building this house. Sometimes the dream is from God, sometimes it's not. Now both are noble, both are great resolves, both are ideals. But when it's not of God, it won't come to fulfillment. And it's hard to determine which is which.
It's very hard. In fact, you'll have friends like Nathan who will say, go, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you. Only to have the Lord show you later on, it's not his plan.
And that's exactly what happened. Look at the divine response. Hey, it comes through Nathan, but it's just as clear as if it had come directly to David. That very night, verse 4, it came about the same night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan saying, go and say to my servant David, thus says the Lord, are you the one who should build me a house to dwell in? Hold your place here and turn to a parallel in 1 Chronicles chapter 17.
It's the same experience written by another pen that puts it more directly. 1 Chronicles 17 verse 3 and verse 4. It came about the same night that the word of God came to Nathan saying, go and tell David, my servant, thus says the Lord, you shall not build a house for me to dwell in.
I tell you, that's a hard answer to give back to the king. Nathan hears it from God that night. He has just said, the Lord be with you, David.
Let's make plans starting tomorrow. Let's think it through and let's map out the kind of temple we ought to build for the Lord and may God be honored in it, only to have that very night, in the middle of the night, a vision given by the Lord saying, no way, no way. Now, go back to 2 Samuel 7 and I want you to see in the refusal of the request, God's affirmation of David. Look, for example, at several verses. Take verse 8. Therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be ruler over my people Israel.
All right, now that's clear. David, I've appointed you to be a king, not a builder of a temple. You have been given the gifts of doing the work of a king. I've gifted you for that, not to build a temple.
Look at verse 9. I've been with you wherever you've gone. I have cut off all your enemies from before you.
I'll make you a great name like the names of the great men who were on the earth. David, you're a man of war. Your heart is on the battlefield. You're a fighter, not a builder. You're a soldier.
You're not made for the building of edifices. You're a man for the trenches. And I've blessed you in such a way that all of the enemies have been subdued. Look at verse 12. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, this is at the day of his death, I will raise up your descendant after you.
Now mark this well. I will raise up your descendant after you who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. Ah, great breakthrough. David, you will know the delight of having a son, and we know today that it was Solomon, and through Solomon this temple will be built, not through you, not through your efforts, but through Solomon the dream will be fulfilled.
Now, it is extremely important to me that I communicate clearly. It is not a question of sin. It is not God's judgment. It is not coming upon David as a consequence of wrong. It is simply God's redirecting his plan and saying to David, it is a great resolve, but I say no to you, and I say yes to your son.
Now accept that. Well, was David wrong in thinking it? I had a young woman come up to me after the service, the first evening service tonight, and she said, you know, the story you told at the beginning of the message about the couple that had that broken romance, I said yes. She says, it's been my experience that I am like the young man you mentioned. The fellow I have been going with has real peace about the relationship, but I don't. And after counsel with one of the pastoral members at the church, I have become convinced I should call it off. But he isn't convinced.
What's wrong with me? Is her question. She was searching for something inside herself that was wrong before God. It is not a question of being wrong. It's a question of accepting his no and living with the mystery of his will. We people on this earth package everything. And we expect the Lord in his directing us to package his plan just like we would. And we want that logic that we use to be his logic. And when it isn't, we wonder what's wrong up there.
When are they going to get their act together? Because it's not working out like I would have worked it out. That's a great moment when you realize it. Now, look for a moment at a parallel section in 2 Chronicles chapter 6, and let's put to bed forever the problem of sin.
It's not involved. As a matter of fact, the Lord brags on David in the right sense for even having the thought. 2 Chronicles chapter 6, I love verses 7, 8, and 9.
They just take the guilt out of the whole thing. Okay, verse 7. It was in the heart of my father David. Solomon is speaking. It was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
We're reading 2 Chronicles 6, 8. But the Lord said to my father, David, because it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build a house, but your son who shall be born to you, he shall build a house for my name. I hurriedly went over verse 8 on purpose.
The last part of verse 8 is profound. He says, you did well that it was in your heart. Rather than seeing it as something wrong with David, the Lord says to him, I commend you for that thought. I commend you for having a heart that is so sensitive to me, you would want to do something for my glory. I commend you. It is well that it was in your heart. David, it's not my plan for you to do that, but I commend you for such a thought. Let me pause here and give a couple of applications that I think would be fitting as you go back to 2 Samuel 7. First of all, when God says no, it is not necessarily discipline or rejection.
It is redirection. You pursued his will. You have wanted to do his will. You threw that piece of wood on the fire, and you saw it burn, and in the burning you saw your selfish desires go up in smoke, and you said with good intentions, by God's grace, I am going to pursue this. And here you are 30, 40 years later, or maybe not even that long, five years later, and it hasn't worked out. Now if you listen to people, you'll be put into a guilt trip on that, and they will tell you, you see there, you set your heart on God, but you have run from him.
You're out of his will. I don't know how many couples I have talked with who early in their lives had their life's plan all mapped out, but it didn't work out. As hard as they tried to make it work, it didn't go in the direction they planned. And they're living in the swamp of guilt that they are no longer walking in the will of God. It was well that it was in their heart. But who is to say that it never was his plan, or that it was in fact his will? The thing we have to deal with in our walk with God is to listen carefully from day to day, not just go back to some decision and say, that's it forever regardless. We need to look at it each day, keep it fresh, keep the fire hot, keep it on the back burner saying, Lord, is this your arrangement? Is this your plan? If it is not, make me sensitive to it.
Maybe you're redirecting my life. The second thing I would say is God does not call everybody to build temples. He calls some people to be soldiers. He calls some people to do the work in the trenches. He does call some people to represent him on foreign soil.
He doesn't call everyone. I tell you, if you want to talk to a disillusioned individual, you talk to one that has in his heart the desire for the mission field. There's a lot of emotion connected with this illustration, so I'll use it. Early in life, this individual says, I'm called to the field.
I know that's where the Lord wants me. So a college education is pursued in the area of the interest that he wants to pursue. When that has taken place, he's had some short-term experiences and has sort of confirmed it. Then through a chain of events that happens in his life, he finally winds up in front of the candidate secretary of the missionary organization. He's looking eyeball to eyeball into the face of the official that has now gotten to know him and look at his resume, and he hears the ominous words, you know, we of the mission do not really feel comfortable placing our hands upon you and saying you're to represent us in the field. You talk to that person 10, 20, 30 minutes later, and you're going to talk to a disillusioned individual.
And he walks out really wondering what in the world is wrong. You know, I would love to have remembered that this verse we just looked at in 2 Chronicles was in the book. You did well that it was in your heart. Now it may be that since this plan has been changed, that God would use you in a whole new creative way to get the job done through someone else.
Maybe that's his plan. You see what David had to hear? He had to hear, it's not going to be you, Dave, it's going to be your son.
Well, what was David's response to that? I mean, let's face it, dads. Some of our most frustrating experiences happen when God gives us children, not when he gives the children, but as they begin to grow up. And one of two problems, either they don't pursue the path that we would love to have pursued, and we want to live it through them, or they pursue it in a way that just puts us to shame.
They just are like the meteor. You know, they do it in abundance. And then there's the other problem, the problem of jealousy. Parents, we have a tough road, a role to fill, a role of support and encouragement, so that if God directs our children in an area that we never were interested in, we give them the same kind of support as if it is the fulfillment of a dream in our lives. And the second area is that when they pursue that dream and they succeed in it, we encourage them to go to the maximum without any sense of jealousy or restraint.
It takes a very secure mom or dad to do that, very secure. David's like that. See verse 18 of 2 Samuel 7.
It's beautiful. David the king went in and sat before the Lord. Look at that posture. He just sat down.
Isn't that interesting? Wherever he went in, he sat down. Maybe he went into his own chamber in his home, his own bedroom, and he sat down on the floor, and he just silently looked up. He had just heard the answer is no. You're not going to have that dream.
You did well that was in your heart, but it's not my plan. David sat down, and just like a child, he begins to express grateful questions to the Lord. Look at it. He says, Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house that thou hast brought me this far? And yet this was insignificant in thine eyes, O Lord God, for thou hast spoken also of the house of thy servant concerning the distant future. Verse 20.
Again, what more can David say to thee? Isn't that like a little child? You know when a child refers to himself, he calls himself by name. Daddy can Chuck ride his big wheel a little bit longer before he comes in for supper? That's what my son would say, or your child.
Daddy can Susie play for just a few more minutes. That's the way a child refers to himself. Just like a little boy, he sat down before the Lord, and he said, Dad, what is David? That you blessed my house, and you blessed my life, and you brought me from leading a little flock of sheep to give me this magnificent throne. Who am I?
You know, friends, it's important that we take a long look at our short lives and just count our blessings. Who are we to have been protected from the rains that fell? When there have been dozens made homeless, who are we that He has blessed our house and kept it safe? Who am I, Lord, that you should give me health and strength to be able to hold a job or pursue this career or get this degree, or to have that set of parents as mine who have encouraged me, or to have these kids and to see them grow?
Who am I? Dream or no dream, I'm a blessed person, says David, even though I may not see the fulfillment of my goals, as I've called it. And so he makes some very insightful declarations. I've underscored mine in the Scriptures. Verse 22, there is none like thee. What a statement of praise. Thou art great, O Lord God, there is none like thee. There's no God besides thee. Verse 25, the word that thou has spoken concerning thy servant and his house, confirm it.
Forever. Verse 26, that thy name may be magnified forever. Verse 28, thy words are truth. 29, bless the house of thy servant. What a grateful man.
Who knows, the one who wrote the song could have taken it from that 29th verse. Bless this house. I'm going to address the parents for just a moment and forgive the nostalgia, but it's fitting. We have great high-powered plans and our pace is moving along at such a rapid rate, it's easy to forget to pause and look at our homes and just express the simple words, Lord, bless my family. Chuck Swindoll has much more to say about giving each of our children a blessing. It's all part of the wisdom that emerges from this study in 2 Samuel chapter 7.
Chuck titled today's message, When God Says No. If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. In the moments we have remaining, all of us at Insight for Living would like to express our combined thanks for the outpouring of generous responses that have been sent our way this year. We're deeply encouraged by your gifts and especially your comments. At times like these, we're reminded that the wisdom of God's word is timeless. We know that's true because of the stories you tell us about personal life change. For instance, one of your fellow listeners wrote, This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Your study on David is so fitting for my life right now.
Praise the Lord. Another said, I've read Chuck's book on David twice. It's one of my favorite books and now I'm listening to the series. The biography that this listener is referring to is called David, A Man of Passion and Destiny.
This would make a great read because it chronicles the dramatic story of David from his years on the hillside as a shepherd boy to ascent to the highest rank in Israel. And it's all told in a fashion you've come to enjoy on this program. To purchase a copy of Chuck's biography on David, give us a call. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or visit our website at insight.org slash offer. These daily programs are made possible not through the provision of resources but the voluntary donations from grateful listeners like you. To give a contribution today, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go to inside.org slash donate. Treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the Inside for Living Ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun. And without a doubt, the stunning views took my breath away. God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska. In fact, I guarantee this, you'll come home refreshed and filled with awe for his majestic creation. Yeah, at one point our ship was getting chased by dolphins. They were playing and spinning in the waves.
It was amazing. With plenty of time for adventures on shore, lingering conversations around mealtime, and strolling through the idyllic ports of call, you'll be a part of some of the best parts of our day laughing, singing, and celebrating our God. Plan to come with us, won't you? The dates are July 1st through July 8th, 2023. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444. Or visit insight.org slash events.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll concludes his message on what to do when God says no on Insight for Living. The preceding message, When God Says No, was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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