Kevin spoke from 2 Samuel 7:1-17 yesterday morning, a familiar passage where David is contemplating building a palace for God, only to discover that his plans are not the same as God’s plans. The passage starts with a period of rest for David: “the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies.” When God touches us and gives us rest and peace, we are made whole. There are times of great joy with God, but there are also times when He asks us to wait and be patient. In our modern society, with its fast trains and planes and fast food, we find waiting difficult.

Ps 40:1-3 urges us to wait patiently for the Lord. There are times (eg Ps 22:1-2) when we feel God is a long time answering us. We need to hold on to the fact that His answers are worth waiting for and when He says ‘no’ to us, it is because He has better things in store.

David had a desire to please God and wanted to build a temple for Him. Initially, Nathan the prophet endorsed this desire. But as He waited on God, God revealed His will to him and it was not what he expected. We need to consult with God first before we act; we need His guidance and must never plough blithely ahead, pleasing only ourselves, for the Christian walk is all about obedience to God. We can’t take Him for granted and we mustn’t presume.

Why does God sometimes say ‘no’ to our requests? Why should a God of unlimited resources ever refuse His children things? Sometimes it’s because we ask amiss. Sometimes we ask selfishly. Sometimes we ask for things that are not part of God’s plan for our lives.

David was refused the request by God but he was also given promises by God in this passage, promises that his offspring would build the temple and would always be on the throne. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.” (2 Sam 7:16) The answer David received from God was far more than he had expected. He was, therefore, able to accept the ‘no’ with gratitude(see verses 18-20) because he recognised the greatness of God’s plans in comparison with his own. We need to have a long-term perspective, a view of eternity, that can cope with God’s ‘no’, trusting in His ways and leaning not on our own understanding (Prov 3:5-6).