What is your tendency when God says, “No?” You created a wonderful plan, have the resources to implement it, and all doors appear to be open. Will you trash the idea and go a different direction? Will you press on, pursuing your goal at any cost?
I have a stash of seemingly great ideas! Or at least, I think they are great. Actually, some may even be God-inspired ideas. Even godly people with fantastic God-given ideas hit roadblocks. I find the proof in the Word of God, the Bible.
King David came up with an excellent idea to build a permanent place for the Ark of God.
“After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, ‘Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.'”
1 Chronicles 17:1
Wow, David! Great idea! Build a place for God’s Presence. David confided with others who also thought it was a good idea.
“Nathan replied to David, ‘Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.'”
1 Chronicles 17:2
But God disagreed.
When God says, “No”
“‘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.”
1 Chronicles 17:4
Good plan! Wrong man!
Honestly, it hurts to not be chosen, overlooked for a position, or have a creative idea only to have someone else fulfill it. This brings back painful memories of being chosen last for a sports team or not at all in a group as a child. It also includes being disqualified for a desired position or facing the rejection of others as an adult.
God’s “no” meant He had something permanently better for David.
God basically said, “David, thank you for wanting to build a house for me. Actually, I’m going to build a lasting house for you.”
God loves flipping things around and turning things for the good. No matter what we attempt to do for God, He comes back with a bigger, better blessing for us. It may not be immediate, but it is guaranteed.
Solomon, David’s son, became the immediate fulfillment, but Jesus ultimately completed it.
“. . . I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him . . .”
1 Chronicles 17:11-13
David’s response might seem difficult; he rested in God’s answer.
“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD.”
1 Chronicles 17:16
David wasted no time and energy in self-loathing or questioning. He sat, resting in God’s Presence. Praise flowed from the position of rest.
“There is no one like you, LORD, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.”
1 Chronicles 17:20
I love this attitude! When God says, “No” to us, will we become distracted from fixed focus on Him? Or will our hearts be fully devoted to give Him praise? In the posture of adoration, David humbly received the blessing God promised.
“And now, LORD, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised.”
1 Chronicles 17:23
Without dispute, David accepted the closed door with grace and dignity. When we are willing to receive from God both the pleasant and the difficult, we demonstrate quiet trust and confidence in Him.
David picked the exact place to build the tabernacle. Interestingly enough, the place marked the spot of David’s greatest failure but quickest turning back to God.
Then David said, ‘The house of the LORD God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
1 Chronicles 22:1
Insecurity might cause some people to place stumbling blocks in the path of their successors. Confident assurance, however, leads others to level the way, giving all who follow the greatest advantage and full opportunity to achieve their calling. When God says, “No,” we quickly discover internal motivations.
When we examine David’s responses, we find him to be a true gem! He
- Appoints stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and craftsmen (1 Chronicles 22:2,15-16)
- Provides large amounts of iron, bronze, cedar, gold, and silver (1 Chronicles 22:3-4,14)
- Designs the specific plans (1 Chronicles 22:5)
- Orders Solomon to carry it out (1 Chronicles 22:6)
- Clearly declares God’s intention over Solomon’s life (1 Chronicles 22:7-11)
- Prays a declaration of blessing and transfer over Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:11-13)
- Appoints leaders to assist Solomon ( 1 Chronicles 22:17)
Who wouldn’t benefit from such extensive support? This list causes me to examine how I could better help others achieve their goals and reach their dreams. When we put God first and others ahead of ourselves, we discover may creative ways to motivate and encourage.
Many of us might be tempted to quit when we run into set backs — get off the road, park the bus (or car or eighteen-wheeler), and find a quiet beach somewhere to do nothing. Bad idea!
God reminded David of his successes — a fearless warrior leader, bringing peace and rest for his nation. None of it was accomplished through striving. Complacency didn’t bring it to completion either.
But now, God needed a leader of peace and rest to do the future great work of building the temple.
“But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side . . . I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name.”
1 Chronicles 22:9-10
God has given each of us a specific place and purpose. Sadly, I believe too many of us carry a large portion of our God-given destiny to the grave unfulfilled. How many talents and years are wasted wishing we had someone else’s call or gifts.
Freedom comes from trusting God to help us do all He has called us to do.
David did everything humanly possible to ensure Solomon’s success, not just because the idea to build a temple was a good idea, but He desired God to be glorified through it.
“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.”
1 Chronicles 22:19
Who’s name do I promote? God’s or my own?
When God says, “No” let us confidently promote Him, remembering everything is for His glory. We can do nothing apart from Him. We accomplish everything (even the smallest things) through His grace and goodness. Every point of success results from His blessing in our lives.
David affirms his son, Solomon and the importance of the work ahead. He calls him to give God pre-eminence in everything. Then God’s Name would be exalted.
When God says, “No,” let us each remember that His closed door for us might be the wide open door someone else is waiting for. We prefer when He throws opens those doors wide and gives us the go ahead signal. But today, David’s example helps us to keep on going, doing what we can, when we can, how we can.