When you are fully submitted to God’s rule, you acknowledge the fact that he reserves the right to say “no” to you anytime he wishes—and without explanation, if he so chooses. And you embrace it! It is a matter of maturity, trust and obedience to humbly, gratefully, praisefully surrender to what God thinks best—and it is always the pathway to even better blessings than your plan would have brought. When God says “no” to you, say “yes” to God!
Going Deep // Focus: 1 Chronicles 17:1-4
When David was settled in his palace, he summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant is out there under a tent!” Nathan replied to David, “Do whatever you have in mind, for God is with you.” But that same night God said to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: You are not the one to build a house for me to live in.’”
King David wanted to build a house for God. It was a noble desire, and on the surface, it would seem that getting the green light would be a no brainer. David lived in a luxurious palace, and God had only a tent from Israel’s wilderness days to house his presence. Why not go all out, now that there was peace and prosperity in the land, to build an extraordinary temple to house the glory of the Lord?
But God said no. He reserves that right, you know! What might seem like a great idea to you and me, and it may very well be the best thing to come along since sliced bread, God might choose to put it on the back burner. He might even take it off our list of things we would like to do for God completely. God has his reasons, and sometimes he even gives us insight into why he closes the door on our desires. At other times, God simply says no, without further explanation.
In David’s case, God revealed the reason why he said no to David’s plans for the temple: he had shed too much blood as a warrior king, and the Lord desired a man of peace to build a place where all nations could come to experience his presence while they offered up their sacrifices of worship. (see 1 Chronicles 22:8) No, David wouldn’t build it, but his son would. And it would be a place that would be a marvel, an awe-inspiring house of worship that would stand for centuries as the centerpiece of worship to the God of Israel, the sovereign ruler of all the earth. (see 1 Chronicles 22:5)
Was David disappointed that the temple wouldn’t be listed as one of his major accomplishments? Perhaps. We don’t know for sure, but usually a strong desire like that brings up all kinds of emotions when we realize that it will never come to pass. David may have been saddened by the news, but his response was even nobler than his original desire:
When King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great, O Lord God! What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like. For the sake of your servant, O Lord, and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known. Lord, there is no one like you.” (1 Chronicles 17:16-20)
And David’s psalm of praise extolling the wisdom and greatness of God in the aftermath of God’s rejection of his idea continues on for several more verses until the chapter ends. (1 Chronicles 17:20-27).
God said no, and David responded with humility (“who am I”), gratitude (“you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty”), submission (“according to your will”) and praise (“Lord, there is no one like you”).
I don’t know about you, but I think I might have felt a bit sorry for myself that God had ruined my plans. I might have even pouted. I hope not, but often that is the human reaction to having our dreams dashed. But when your life and all your plans are fully submitted to the Lordship of Almighty God, you acknowledge the fact that he reserves the right to say no to you anytime he wishes. And you embrace it! It is a matter of maturity, trust and obedience to humbly, gratefully, praisefully surrender to what God thinks best—and it is the pathway to even better blessings than your plan would have brought.
When God says no to you, say yes to God!