What can we possibly learn from disappointment? You know what I learned? When God says no, He has a better way, and He expects me to support it.
The second thing I learned is that my very best reaction is cooperation, humility. He doesn't call everybody to build a temple, but He does call silence. If you're holding on to a dream, if you've been longing for that dream to be realized, then you know what it's like to wait on God. Sometimes His silence is deafening. But when He breaks the silence, and when His final answer is no, it's confusing and deeply disappointing. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll recounts a story in 2 Samuel 7, in which David received disheartening news about building a temple. His response is a model for anyone who's dealing with a broken dream. Chuck titled his message, When God Says No. I want to talk about the whole problem of broken dreams. The whole area of pursuing something that we felt was the plan of God, or the will of God for our lives, only to have it stopped, and have the Father say in so many ways, that's not my plan, that's a noble purpose, in fact that's a great resolve, but it's not my plan for you.
That's hard to hear. David had that happen. Remember? We looked at the ark of God as he brought it into the area. 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. Look at the divine response. 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?
I'll 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, only to have that very night, in the middle of the night, a vision given by the Lord saying, No way. No way. 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. 2 Chronicles chapter 6, I love verses 7, 8, and 9. 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. 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, and here you are 30, 40 years later, or maybe not even that long, 5 years later, and it hasn't worked out. The thing we have to deal with in our walk with God is to listen carefully from day to day, saying, Lord, is this your arrangement? Is this your plan? If it does 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. 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? 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, and just like a child, he begins to express grateful questions to the Lord.
Look at it. He says, who am I? Oh, 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? 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? 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 hast 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. And then name them child by child and declare to the Lord those areas of gifts and just claim them before the Lord one by one as an effective parent should do. You've given this girl, Lord, develop those gifts and make her name great for your glory. You've given me this son and I see the potential in him, direct his steps into your plan.
Don't let him stop short. I set him apart unto you. I tell you, at the birth of each one of our kids, I had this overwhelming sense of responsibility.
Never forget the feeling. And I remember in each case going home and just falling on my face literally before God saying, who am I to give the kind of direction that that child needs? I set that one apart to you. And when the Lord saw fit to take a couple of them before birth and to take us through those deep valleys, those losses, I said, Lord, may your name be praised.
You know best what's for us, what you take or what you give us shows us your love. But bless this house. Now, was David real in saying this?
I mean, did he really mean what he said? One more passage. 1 Chronicles 22.
You might think, well, it's great theory, but let's see. Did David really support his son in that project that was his own dream? Yeah, look, 1 Chronicles 22. David said, this is the house of the Lord God. This is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.
You know what I think is happening? He's rolled a map out. He's unrolled the plans. He's been thinking through and he's sort of walking around saying, this is the house and this is the altar area. Look at verse 2.
Knowing that he's not going to actually build a house, look at his support. David gave orders to gather the foreigners who were in the land of Israel and to set stone cutters to hew out stones. 3, David prepared great or large quantities of iron to make nails for the doors of the gates. Verse 4, timbers of cedar logs beyond number.
The Sidonians and the Tyranians brought large quantities of cedar timber to David. Verse 5, David said, my son Solomon is young and inexperienced. The house that is to be built for the Lord shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore, I will make preparation for it.
So David made ample preparations before his death. What a father! Lord, you don't want me to fulfill the dream, but Lord, I'm going to set apart as much as I can to support my son as he fulfills the dream that was on my heart. What an unselfish response.
That's a great dad that'll do that. I had it on my heart, but Lord, you said no to me and you've given to my young, strong son the dream and the diplomacy to pull that off and I'll see that the nails are there, I'll see the rocks are there, I'll see the stones are there, I'll see all the tapestry that's needed and then I'll back off and I'll say magnify your name through the efforts of another. Some of you are engaged in teaching. I want to apply this to you for a moment. You invest your life over a brief span of time in the pupils that are before you. You will probably never see them again.
You certainly will never see them in the same class again for the rest of your life. You have a brief span of time where you take care of the stones that need to be cut, the nails that are going to be part of the character, and you deposit as much as you can for that student to build a life and then you wave goodbye and they pass on. A pastor in many ways does the same thing. Anyone who is involved in this whole realm of support ministry for people sees that happening and it's easy to lose the significance of what it's all about. David says, Lord, it's not for me to fulfill, it's for you. You've chosen my son, you haven't chosen me and I turn the reins over to him and I say, make it happen, make it great. You know what I learned? When God says no, he has a better way and he expects me to support it.
The second thing I learned from this is that my very best reaction is cooperation, humility. He doesn't call everybody to build a temple, but he does call some. There are broken dreams represented in this church. I do not know specifically to whom I speak, but I know from this size congregation there are some that are here that are living with broken dreams. Sometime in the past you had a great hope, high hope for a certain direction and it was well.
It was good. But the Lord for some mysterious reason has said no. And you moved along in life and now you're up in years and you find yourself slowly becoming shelved and the younger ones are taking charge and moving on. Amazing how life is. James Dobson puts it beautifully. About the time our face clears up, our mind gets fuzzy. Just about the time we get our act together, we're too old to pull it off.
Isn't that amazing? And we turn it over to the Solomon in our lives. And it takes a real act of humility to say to the Solomons of our lives, you go, may God be with you.
I'll do everything I can to support you and sing that it gets accomplished. Sometime about the zenith of the career it happens. As in the case of Dr. Richard Sumi, who many of you do not know. A man that to me emulated what a pastor was all about. In his days in Richmond, Virginia, the pastorate for over 12 years at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, he was to me the sinquanon of a man of God.
God blessed him. He was chosen to be a part of a number of mission boards and served in that capacity. He was extremely gifted as a pulpiteer.
He has become an author in his later years. And he left the pastorate in Virginia and he moved to the unenviable position as pastor of Wheaton Bible Church, the pulpit of that church. He was not there long before he was stricken with a disease. At the zenith of his career, at the time in which he could carry out the greatest blows, the greatest clout as it were, in a position of authority, and the rug was cut out from under him, as he discovered he had a rare kidney disease and he must live on a dialysis machine six hours a day, three to four days a week for the rest of his life. His health left. He could no longer take the rigors of the pastorate. He felt victim of misunderstanding and criticism. By and by he left a broken man, became a chaplain at Dallas Seminary. He said, I would like so much, Chuck, someday to write an article.
If I could possibly get it published in Reader's Digest, I think I could get it expressed to the greatest number of people in the world. He said, I'd like to call it plugged in for life. And here's a man who hasn't lost sight of a dream, though, of course, his great visions for his life have now been cut to shreds. And he said, you'll never know what it's like unless you live like I have lived, to go to bed at night not sure that tomorrow morning will come.
I live facing death daily, every day. He walks with a stoop. He has a jaundiced color. He looks ill.
When he travels, the fluid builds up in his body and he must rapidly go back again for this cleansing to take place in the dialysis. Here is a man with a broken dream who has chosen to invest his last days in the lives of young men, the Solomons, to build the temples. He will never see built. One by one, God took them from me, said the poet, all the things I valued most. Until I was empty handed, every glittering toy was lost. And I walked Earth's highways, grieving in my rags and poverty, until I heard his voice inviting, lift those empty hands to me. And I turned my hands toward heaven and he filled them with a store of his own transcendent riches till they could contain no more. And at last I comprehended with my stupid mind and dull that God could not pour his riches into hands already full.
And that's where some of you are. You had your hands full of your dreams and full of your visions and you had it all ready to present to him on the altar of sacrifice, all prepared and all thought through and all pursued only to see them crumble at your feet and you're empty handed. But I want to say to you that God is ready to fill your empty hands like you would never know in any other way in any other experience.
Believe me, men with broken dreams find that their wills can easily become broken as well. And with that there's spirit. I suppose what I want to do is to lift up the hands that hang down and say to you that live with these broken dreams, that he is still alive and well, God knows what he's doing. Let's bow, shall we, in worship of our Father. I never really know where these practical messages are going to wind up and who they're going to touch, but I know that there's no such thing as a mistaken message.
We've picked up our thoughts from 2 Samuel 1 and 2 Chronicles and we have discovered how relevant God's truth really is. While your eyes are closed and your head is bowed, listen to these words. I ask of God that he should give success to the high task I sought for him to do. I ask that every hindrance might grow less and that my hours of weakness might be few.
I ask that far and lofty heights be scaled. And now I humbly thank him that I failed. For with the pain and sorrow came to me a dower of tenderness in thought and act. And with the failure came a sympathy, an insight which success could never have brought.
Father, I had been foolish and unblessed if you had granted me my blind request. It may be that in this congregation some of you have never met Jesus as a personal friend and Savior. And you've lived from one dream, broken dream, to the next wondering why, why. And I say to you tonight, it may very well be that God has broken, broken, broken the dreams. You might come to him in faith, giving him your heart and life. It may be that there are children of God here who've recently gone through the awful experience of realizing you'll never see the dream accomplished. Perhaps God's used something that you've heard to give you comfort, to have you redirect your efforts toward those he's chosen to fulfill the dream through. Our Father, this evening as we have met, I have wanted us very much to focus on you and on that mysterious part of your plan that, perhaps until the day of our death, will defy explanation. Why you choose some Solomons and others David we'll never know. Why you accomplish some great things through some and some things that seem so insignificant through others we cannot explain. But you do.
Some are called to dig trenches and some are called to build temples. But that's all part of your plan. Give us a sense of acceptance, just a humble acceptance. We will be very, very grateful.
In Jesus' name, Amen. . It's possible that today's message has resonated with you at a deeply personal level. It's as though God appointed today's study just for you. If that's the case, would you take a few minutes to jot a note to Chuck Swindoll in Insight for Living? We'd love to hear your story. You can call us at 800-772-8888 or you can leave a note at insightworld.org.
Either way, I can assure you we read every word of the comments you share. Chuck titled today's message, When God Says No. In addition to this program, he's included today's topic in his 24-chapter biography of David as well.
And if you're looking for a great book to read over the summer months, we highly commend this one. It's called David, A Man of Passion and Destiny. You'll find all the details at insight.org slash offer. Or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Some have told us that Chuck's voice sounds a little different in this teaching series on David.
That's because it was recorded many years ago. It was during a season that Chuck was preaching and teaching five times per Sunday, three services in the morning and two on Sunday night. The David series was delivered during the evening service. I mention this because it's an interesting part of our history and it demonstrates the deep archive of sermons that Insight for Living has to share with you. We're stewarding thousands of Chuck's messages, some going back to the 1970s. And we're able to share his teaching on this daily radio program because of the generous support of our listening family. To get in touch today, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Online, go to insight.org slash donate. Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in. Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries March 5th through the 16th, 2023. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides. And we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers. To learn more, go to inspirationcruises.com. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by going to inspirationcruises.com. That's inspirationcruises.com. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll presents a message called Grace in a Barren Place, Thursday on Insight for Living. .
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