Sunday, June 28, 2015

Who’s Really Building the House?

King David got a great idea one day. He looked around at his luxurious palace and compared it to the tent that the Ark of the Covenant reposed in. The contrast jarred him. He told Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent." (1 Samuel 7:2). He was disturbed. He wanted to honor God and create a permanent tribute to the Lord Almighty. He wanted to build God a house.

Maybe you feel like David. You want to honor God too. God has blessed you and you want to build a permanent tribute to the Lord through your own service. You want to build God a house.

What does this “house” look like? Maybe it means you want to raise a big family of God-fearing children who will be mighty for the kingdom. Maybe, as a homeschooler, you want to start some sort of ministry to strengthen other homeschoolers as they disciple their children. Perhaps there’s a fantastic Christian organization your family wants to work with and thereby reach many people for Christ. Or maybe you simply want to be so much like Christ that your life and testimony speaks volumes for Him. Whatever it is, deep down there is something you are passionate about that you want to do to “build a house” for God.

God commended David for his desire. He told David, “Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart.” (2 Chronicles 6:8). Likewise, God is pleased when we want to honor Him and spend ourselves in His service. We do well to have these kinds of desires in our heart.

But then what happened? God chose not to have David built the temple. He told David, “You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight.” (1 Chronicles 22:8)

Sometimes God chooses not to let our desires on His behalf be carried out either. Maybe God has chosen not to let you have as many children as you’d like. Instead of the small army of godly offspring that you wanted to raise for Him you have just one or two children. Maybe the homeschool ministry you tried to start has petered out for lack of interest from others. Perhaps health problems or unexpected responsibilities prevent you from working with that fabulous Christian organization you wanted to be a part of. Or maybe you find that, despite your best efforts to be a good testimony, your sinful self gets in the way over and over and you always seem to muff the job.

Of course, at this point we have to remember that God is God. While He is pleased with us when we want to do great things for Him, sometimes He has other plans for us. Sometimes He prevents us from carrying out our desires the way we’d like.

However, this does not mean God won’t use us. Just because God doesn’t always choose to have us carry out our Plan A does not mean He won’t use us just as effectively for Plan B. David didn’t build the temple. But he did provide a huge helping hand to Solomon. We learn in 1 Chronicles 22:5: David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it." So David made extensive preparations before his death.

Have you stopped to think about the ways you can serve right now, in spite of being thwarted in your initial desires? Maybe the fact that you have just a few children instead of a dozen means that you can open your home more often to others. Maybe the time you would have spent on that homeschool ministry you wanted to start is being spent caring for an aging relative instead. Maybe the fact that you’ve stumbled so often as you strive to be a good testimony gives you a perspective that allows you to extend grace and encourage others who face the same problems. I could go on, but you get the point.

One other thing stands out in this whole story with David. Sometimes we miss it because we get so focused on David’s good desire and how God shut the door on it. However, if we keep reading, God’s incredible love shines forth. God essentially told David, “You wanted to build me a house. That’s great. But instead, here’s what’s going to happen: I’M going to build YOU a house.” We read, “The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.” (2 Samuel 7:11-12)

Haven’t you seen this in your life over and over? I know I have. We come to God with our Big Ideas to serve Him. Sometimes God says no to those Big Ideas. Then He takes that “no” and turns around and eventually blesses the socks off of us in ways we can’t even imagine. He “builds us a house.” It may not always be at the time or place that we expect. Sometimes the results of our labor may not even come fully to fruition in our lifetime. But God does not forget. In His faithful timing, He overlooks our unworthiness, turning our godly desires and faltering efforts into something that does in fact glorify Him. So be encouraged, friends! Maybe you can’t build that temple you wanted to build. But that’s okay. If you love God and seek to serve Him, He will use you anyway. And, in the love and mercy that so characterizes our Lord, He will build a house for you.

Written by Raquelle Sheen