Patience is not something that comes naturally to most of us. We want immediate answers and want to know the next direction that God is taking us in life. Sometimes even being told “NO” is something that we don’t deal with well. We have the tendency to want our way on our time. As believers we are not the commander of our lives and we do not call the shots. This is a good thing though because through God’s leading, he usually saves us from grave mistakes in life or uses rejection to teach us valuable lessons that grow us as believers. We see this first hand in the life of David, where he actually seeks to serve God through an honorable request but God’s response to him is not “YES” or even “WAIT” but simply “NO”, God had other plans for him –
And it came about, when David dwelt in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I am dwelling in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under curtains.” Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” It came about the same night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell David My servant, ‘Thus says the Lord, “You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in; for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from one dwelling place to another. In all places where I have walked with all Israel, have I spoken a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built for Me a house of cedar?’”’ Now, therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader over My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth. I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and not be moved again; and the wicked will not waste them anymore as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I tell you that the Lord will build a house for you. When your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”’” | 1 Chronicles 17:1-14
Within the last 3-4 years I had been praying for an opportunity to go into full-time missions. The response from God each time that I prayed that prayer was “No, I have a different plan for you.” It got to a point where I was even trying to go to as many short-term missions I could go, that my company provided vacation would allow, but even after that God’s response remained the same. And then I started praying that if it required my job to be taken away from me so that I would be open to the opportunity for full-time missions, I was ready to give it all up and quit, but even then, God still had the same response. I was left wondering to myself, if this was the case then how was it that God would like to use me to serve Him. The answer came almost immediately by several opportunities that arose in my local assembly and through several upcoming short-term mission trips. This was the same thing that God was trying to convey to David in the portion above from 1 Chronicles 17.
David, from the goodness of his heart, wanted to serve the Lord by building Him a temple after noticing that he was living in a grand palace. The God he served didn’t have a temple to reside in, but only a portable tent that was moved from location to location. God, though He recognized the purity of David’s heart and the sincerity of his request, didn’t want David to build Him the temple since David had always been a warrior and a killer. God was trying to convey to David that He needed a man who was simple and who hadn’t seen bloodshed to build God’s temple so that the two are not associated. We see later on that it was actually Solomon, David’s son, who built God’s temple years later. Nevertheless, God blessed David for his obedience in His request to not build the temple but allow his future generation to build it. David was blessed by conquering all his enemies, having the reputation of being the greatest king who ever ruled, and the promise that his kingly line would continue through future generations. The lesson that we can learn from David is the value and importance in heeding to God’s instruction though we may have good intentions of serving Him. You never know, He may be telling you no right now so that He can use you in a much greater way later on!