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When God Says No
Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:1-29; 1 Chronicles 17:3-4; 2 ...
Track 11 of 19 in the David: A Man After God's Heart series
Running time: 54 minutes, 32 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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When God Says No

We are at that time of year when giving gifts and showing love and affection for one another is the main focus. During Christmas people who normally don’t give in their regular lives has a tendency to soften their hearts a little and they give to others or they are more open to giving. Giving gifts is a way to show others how much we love, care or respect someone. Giving to our kids or grandkids during Christmas is a bunch of fun and something we look forward in doing. We love them and we often shower them with gifts so they see and feel the love in our hearts

Here is an old hymn that we no longer sing at MPCC that has a line in it that says, “What He takes or what He gives us, shows the Father’s love so precious.” I don’t know about you but for me it is easy to sing, “What He gives shows the Fathers love” but it is hard to sing the other side, “What He takes from us shows the Father’s love.” We think of love as something that is giving, but sometimes love involves taking away something that is not best.

We just had a lesson on saying the magic word that can keep us out of so much trouble, NO! But do you know how hard it is for parents to say no to their kids? For many parents today, and we see it all around us, saying no to our kids is hard and to be honest with you, saying yes in many instances is the easy way, the lazy way in dealing with our kids. The older they get, especially as they begin to grow up or need to grow up and become adults, saying no to them is for many parents an impossible task. Saying yes or allowing them to go on making life changing mistakes is easy, lazy and most of all, a loveless act.

Think of your broken dreams. Think of the times you felt something was the plan of God for your life, only to have it stopped and have the Father reveal to you in some way, “That not my plan”. For many of us our dreams and plans are great ideas, great acts of love, but God tells you that your dream is not what he has in mind for you. He wants you to go in a different direction. That is very hard to hear. King David learned just how hard it was.

Has there ever been a time when you felt God let you down? God disappointed you or at least you were tempted to say to your self or just felt it a little that God was not doing what you thought he needed to be doing in a situation in your life?

I have to admit there have been times in my life where I was disappointed and in some instances mad. I wasn’t necessarily mad that God didn’t have control or was working outside of his love for me, I knew fully well that the situation I wanted wasn’t in his plan but I was disappointed that it wasn’t and I was going to have to do something different. In a way it made me mad and disappointed but I knew His way, what ever it was, was much better…but I was still mad and disappointed at the moment. I remember the feelings but to be honest, I can’t really remember the situation any more. That shows you how important my plans really were.

Has there been, maybe you are in it now or are still looking for at time when everything seemed to be peaceful, things were going your way, you basically didn’t have any troubles you couldn’t handle, life was really a nice thing? Have you experienced that time?

David was a man of war. From his early life, he seemed to always be dealing with war, fighting, running from or running after enemies. David was a warrior and a very good one at that. He had killed many enemies in his days. But there came in time in David’s life as king when he experienced a time of peace and calm. He truly deserved it and he really needed it.

2 Samuel 7:1 After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him,

David was king of Judah in Hebron for 7-1/2 years before he went up and captured Jerusalem. During that time David acquired 7 wives, 20+ kids and had many concubines and other unnamed kids. After taking Jerusalem and becoming king of all Israel, he moved from Hebron and set up the capitol of Israel in Jerusalem. One of the first things he did was to fortify and expand Jerusalem and eventually built a palace to live in. Believe it or not, life was good for David at that point. He had no stress from his enemies and his domestic life was at peace.

How blessed a time is that situation? Do you have those times? Why or why not? There is nothing better in life when you can sit down in peace, things are quiet, you have some time to just close your eyes and think, meditate on basically nothing. Just have some time to reflect on your day, on your life in general. How important is it to have those times? What happens if you don’t experience those times?

This is where David is at in his life. He began to reflect upon his life and how lovely his house was that was made of stone lined with cedar. He begins to dream and he shares his dream with the prophet Nathan. This is the first time Nathan is mentioned in the Bible. Later, Nathan is going to be the man pointing the finger at David accusing him of being the adulterer-king.

2 Samuel 7:2-3 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.”

Isn’t it nice to have friends to share your dreams with? How important are friends or others you can go to in order to find the ways to go in your life, to know or discover God’s will?

David’s dream involved something that no one in Israel had considered before. David felt bad that he lived in a very nice house and the Ark of the Covenant was housed in a tent. From the very day the Ark was made, it resided in a tent and had no real permanent setting. It was moved to several places and was taken everywhere the nation traveled. David wanted to build a permanent house for God. He wanted to build a temple in His honor. God had never dwelt in a permanent house before and David planned to change that.

Now consider what I just said about David. What is weird about David’s thinking? How is his image of God maybe different than yours today? Do you think David could comprehend God during his time the way we do in ours? How are our two understandings of God different?

Have you ever had that moment in life when you felt God was calling you to do something or that God was speaking to you and you were absolutely convinced that a certain direction, a certain vocation or a certain commitment was what you were meant to do? How did you know for sure?

Let me say this and there are many examples of this in the Bible so we need to be careful, sometimes the dream is from God and sometimes it’s not. In David’s case, his dream was noble and he had great resolve in accomplishing it. But if a dream is not from God, it won’t come to fulfillment…nor should it. Many times, it is hard to determine sometimes which is which. In fact, you will have friends like Nathan saying, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”

I love the next set of verses, it was Nathan who encouraged David to follow his dream, it was Nathan that God used to be the first to tell him, NO.

2 Samuel 7:4-5 That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying: “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?

1 Chronicles 17:3-4 That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in.

Earlier that day David was all pumped up and was willing to do something great for God. Later that night God flatly says no thanks! Even Nathan the great prophet wasn’t listening to God’s voice when he encouraged David to move ahead. That had to be tough to hear. That had to be disappointing to David. But as we read the scriptures, God does more than just say no, he affirms David beyond something he can comprehend. You and I know what it is God is saying but David probably didn’t fully comprehend in his life what God promised.

2 Samuel 7:8-9 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth.

David was a man of war. His heart was on the battlefield. He was a soldier and fighter, not a builder. His best work was performed down in the trenches fighting and God blessed him in all his endeavors. David’s dream was a noble dream and God would honor his dream but someone else will actually build the temple. It was not a question of sin nor the consequence of David doing something wrong, it was simply God redirecting David’s plan. In a way, God said NO and Yes at the same time.

2 Samuel 7:12-13 “‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Was David wrong to begin with in thinking about building a temple? It is not a question of being wrong. It’s a question of accepting God’s “NO” and living with the mystery of His will.

Wives, what will happen on Christmas if your husband gives you presents and when you open them there is nothing there? You ask, “What is this all about? Where is the present?” You say, “It’s a mystery, it will come later and there is no definite date?” What will be you response? Will you be excited about the present?

We people on this earth package everything. That is how we think. We also expect God to do the same thing when it comes to His plans. We want to see the whole thing, all wrapped up and complete. We want the logic that we use to be His logic. And when it isn’t, we wonder what’s wrong because it is not working out like we would have worked it out.

I think it is neat how God reassures David that his thinking was honorable but not what God wants to do. Look what Solomon writes:

2 Chronicles 6:7-9 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’

Verse 8 is the one I want you to concentrate on; God did give David credit for desiring to build God a temple even though it was not God’s plan. It is okay to think big for God and to dream of ways to better serve God. It is great to seek visions but we have to be careful not to think our visions are God’s. Just don’t be crushed when God says no and has other plans.

There is some wisdom we can get from David’s experience:

When God says no, it is not necessarily discipline or rejection. It may be simply a redirection. I have witnessed and even heard Christians say to other Christians that God is saying no because of some sin. Get rid of the sin and God will say yes. There is absolutely no basis for that. That thought is so wrong, do you know why? We are forgiven and the sin no longer exists. God forgets it. If he waited until we changed, he is basically holding it over our heads and not forgetting. He would be holding us hostage, not setting us free. No does not mean we did something wrong, it just isn’t in God’s scheme of things. It is okay to hear no from God. In most cases, we will here “no” more than “yes”.

God does not call everyone to build temples. God calls some to do all sorts of things. The important word is “some”, not all. God has many creative ways to use everyone, ways we can’t even imagine but he doesn’t call everyone to do the same things. What is hard to hear though is that God is going to use someone else to accomplish something you have a heart for doing or thought was your objective to complete. That is what David had to hear.

Now I want you to think a minute about that 2nd point because it is a very hard thing to hear. In fact, most church divisions or church fights happen when someone feels their objective in the church is someone else’s to complete. Most leave when “no” becomes a reality to them.

So what do you do when you find yourself in David’s spot? Here you thought you found what it was God wanted you to do only to discover God said no, he wants you to do something else? It is even harder when the redirection doesn’t make sense. What do you do?

2 Samuel 7:18-19 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign LORD?

David goes in and just sits. Basically, he gives God praise for dealing the way he deals with man and especially his family and his future. David probably was disappointed and probably didn’t totally comprehend the decision, but he knew the decision was the right decision. There are times in life when we just have to sit, be quiet and just ponder the things God does. It is critical that at that point we listen to what God says and look for the next step. What is awesome to me is the depth of the relationship David has with God when he prays:

2 Samuel 7:25-29 And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you. “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer. O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”

How much courage does it take to offer a prayer like the one David offered? Basically, what is it he is praying for? Have you ever prayed against a prayer or desire you offered to God?