“Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?” (2 Samuel 7:5)
One of the first words children learn is, “No!” I suppose that is because they hear it often. They did not like to hear it, but there were many times I had to say it, because “no” was best for them. Our children may not understand the denial of their desire, but we know more than they do. So it is there are occasions when our Heavenly Father will say, “No.” We think our prayer is a good request, and the denial brings disappointment. How should we respond? What is God up to? There are some important lessons for us found in 2 Samuel 7. God tells David, “No.”
David had been blessed by God. On one occasion the king is in his palace—gazing around at the beautiful dwelling and responding to God’s goodness by telling the prophet Nathan that he wants to build God a house. Nathan agreed that this was a wonderful plan. Then God interrupted with, “No.” (v.1-7) At this point explanation is not given. Later, Scripture reveals that it was because of all the blood shed by David as a man of war that made it inappropriate for him to construct a temple for the God of peace. God is God and we are not. We cannot demand of Him an explanation—though we may ask, and at times receive an answer. Fully comprehending the ways of God will be elusive. It is like trying to explain calculus to a flea for Omniscience to be understood by our finite minds. There are times we simply rest in His infinite understanding—that is the way of faith.
Is it not true that God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight? Faith is so vital that God will stop at nothing to develop it in us. The God who loves us perfectly will do that which is best for us. Faith responds to His refusal by saying, “My Father knows best,” and submits in childlike trust to His will.
If God closes one door, it is only so He can open another. If He denies one desire, it is only that He designs something better. When God does not let David build Him a house, He encourages David by saying He will build him a “house.” That is, God will establish a dynasty for David—a line of kings that would be unending (v.8-17). Jesus Christ, the Eternal King, would be a descendant of David. Ultimately, not only for David, but for each believer, the promises of God are all wrapped up in Jesus Christ. He is everything. Jesus is all we need. Only He can meet the deepest desires we have. No true fulfillment can be found apart from Him. Is He enough for us?
David responds to God’s, “No,” with worship (v.18-29). There is not a hint of bitterness, but only blessing offered to God. David does not sulk, but submits. When God denies our request, choosing to answer our prayer in an inexplicable way, it will make us bitter or better, depending on how we respond. David did not roll on the floor in a temper tantrum, but sat down in reverent submission. This is the attitude God is wanting. Is that what you do when God says, “No”?