1 After the king [David] was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:
5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. . . .
“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”
2 Samuel 7:1-16
David had a heart for God. He wanted to honor Yahweh and show his appreciation for all the Almighty had done for him. Even the prophet thought David should go ahead with his idea.
But then we discover an uncomfortable truth. Even people who walk with God run ahead of the heavenly Father sometimes. Nathan told David, “The Lord is with you.” In other words, Nathan thought David couldn’t go wrong because God was in everything the king did. But the prophet soon found out that not every good idea is a God idea.
Joshua did it with Gibeon. Jepthah did it with his rash promise. I’ve done it when I’ve over booked myself for Godly endeavors. We’ve all had tremendously good ideas that looked as though they would honor God, but didn’t bother to consult God about it first.
I love God’s message to Nathan; He straightforward let David off the hook. “That’s not what I’ve called you to do; I have plans for someone else to do that.” How many times do we take on a Sunday school class or a mission project that was someone else’s to take on? How many endeavors have been instigated for the church that we’re really meant for the next generation to start? God loves our heart in those instances, but He doesn’t bless it because it wasn’t ours to do.
Fortunately, Romans 8:28 takes over when we run ahead. God will work it for good because we do it out of love for Him, but we would save ourselves a lot of headache, heartache, and burn out if we made certain every mantle we picked up belonged to us. Sometimes when I see something that needs done and no one has answered the call, I remind myself that if I do it and I’m not called to, I’m stealing someone else’s blessing. That perspective has helped me avoid doing the wrong thing for the right reasons many times.
So, the next time you start to feel bad because you just don’t have time to do that thing the pastor says needs done, first make sure it’s your call. If it is, jump in and the guilt will leave. But if it’s not, don’t run in. God has someone planned for it, and it might not happen until the next generation, but it will happen in God’s timing.
Do you want to read more about the difference between good ideas and God ideas?
Check out Devotions for Church Leaders and Small Groups
And you’ll find Sunday school lessons based on the
life of King David HERE