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Running Ahead of God

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Running Ahead of God

Running Ahead of God
This morning I want to speak about something that I have never spoken on before. I never even thought about it until reading .
This morning I want to speak about something that I have never spoken on before. I never even thought about it until reading .
takes place in a time of peace. David has defeated the surrounding enemies. He is established in Jerusalem. His house is there and he is settled in.
He has time on his hands to do things he has always wanted to do. As he sits in his house, he realizes that he is in a house while the ark of God, the visible dwelling place of God, is housed in a tent. He brings this up to Nathan, his friend, a prophet and the one through whom God speaks to David.
2 Samuel 7:1–3 ESV
1 Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
(ESV) —1 Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
David had a sincere desire to help God. He wanted to honor Him and felt that God should not be out in a tent while he lived in a good home. He wanted to build God a house. He wanted to build a temple, a more permanent dwelling place for God.
This sounds like a great idea! At a much later time, God speaks to Israel through Haggai after they had returned from captivity in Babylon and criticizes them for not thinking like David was thinking.
Haggai 1:2–11 ESV
2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
(ESV) —2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.”
3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.
9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.
10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
If David lived during the time of Zerubbabel and Haggai, he would have been one of the first to rebuild the temple of God.
David had a great idea.
Many sincere, God-loving, Jesus-honoring Christians have great ideas. “We need to do this for God!” “This would be a great thing for the church!”
If I had lived in the time of David, I would have been on board for his plan. David was not seeking honor for himself. He wanted to honor God. He had a great idea. Let’s go for it!
2 Samuel 4 ESV
1 When Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Beeroth (for Beeroth also is counted part of Benjamin; 3 the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there to this day). 4 Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. 5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. 6 And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of the Arabah all night, 8 and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” 9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 when one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?” 12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.
2 Samuel 7:4 ESV
4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan,
4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan,
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan,
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan,
David was a doer. If he thought something should be done, he didn’t waste time. I don’t know what time of day David told Nathan his idea nor what time Nathan said to him that the idea was a good one, but that same night, before twenty four hours had passed, God spoke to Nathan. He came to him before David had time to act.
Why? Because David was running ahead of God.

Assumptions

David had a great idea. Because he had a great idea, he thought God would also think it was a great idea. This is an assumption. David was wrong.
This explains why God spoke to Nathan tht evening. He needed to let David know that his good idea was not God’s idea. He needed to act quickly because David was a doer.
Sometimes we need someone to speak up right away. People make assumptions, and plan to move ahead. If we have godly insight, sharing it sooner is better than sharing it later.
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in?
2 Samuel 7:5–7 ESV
5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’
6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’
-7
God says to David, “Have I ever asked you or anyone else to build a house for me?”
David is forced to say, “No, this is my idea.”
Here is the danger of making assumptions about what God or other people may want or need. We don’t know unless we ask. David never asked. He assumed that God would be pleased with what he was going to do. God had another plan for the building of his house and it didn’t include David.
This is how David thought.
First, he saw two facts before him.
He owned a house. God owned a tent. This is pure fact.
He then made an assumption. His assumption was God deserved to have at least equal or better than he did.
He then made an inference from that. He inferred that God would want him to build a temple. He saw the need. He would step up and meet it.
meant that he should build a temple.
This sounded so good and logical that Nathan agreed. I would have agreed and many of you would have been on board with David’s plan.
What did God say to David?
2 Samuel 7:4–7 ESV
4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’
2 Samuel 7:4-
God says, “David, I have never asked for a temple. This is your idea, but I have a different one.”
I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say to a spouse, relative or friend, “I thought you wanted this…” only to find out that what they thought was not what the other person wanted.
This can happen when we hear God’s calling for another person. We can be so excited about what they are doing that we think that is what God wants us to do. But we are wrong. God wants us to be excited about what He is doing and then go and do what he wants us to do.
We had Richard Berry come and share an exciting ministry in Skowhegan among the homeless. God is blessing his work. We can learn from him the power of faith, the blessing of stepping out in obedience, the need to follow God rather than Christians. But God’s call to him to build a homeless shelter may not be what God wants us to do here.
Ed Sealy came and preached and shared his love and passion as an evangelist. God wants all of us to love God and love people. He wants all of us to share Christ and the kingdom of God with those who meet. God call to him to be a traveling evangelist is not necessarily God’s call to you or me. We are to do what God has called us to do, not do what God has called someone else to do.
This can be hard to figure out. Sincere Christians ask the question, “Is this really from God or am I doing it because I think it’s a good idea?”

How do I stay in pace with God?

That is a tough question to answer. The first answer to this question is, “don’t make assumptions that what you want, as good as it may be is what God wants.”

Don’t make assumptions!

This is hard for us. We can become convinced that our idea is the best, that God honors us and the rest of the sinners need to shape up.
If we don’t make assumptions, what are we to do?
We are going to look at several insights from this incident in David’s life to help us answer this tough question.

Live right until you know what to do

We are to do what God wants every Christian to do.
We are to love God, our neighbor, and our enemies. We are to have love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness and faith. We are to good to all people, especially those of the household of faith.
We are to put away murmurings, backbiting, gossip, anger, wrath, sexual immorality, idolatry and the like.
We are to build one another up and serve the Lord using our spiritual gifts, abilities and finances to advance God’s kingdom.
Not everyone is called to be a pastor or teacher. Not everyone is called to build a homeless shelter or do prison ministry. But everyone is called to live a godly life in an ungodly world.
Have you ever been irritated, angry and upset as you talk about what God might have you do next week? Why not look inside and realize that we need to live godly today, even as we look to the future. God wants to deal with you today.

Walk in grace

I am impressed by the grace that God gives to David. He is thinking about doing a good thing for God. God doesn’t want him to do it, but God’s answer is so gracious.
The second insight is that God shows grace to people who do the wrong thing with the right motive.
2 Samuel 7:8–9 ESV
8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
I am impressed by the grace that God gives to David. He is thinking about doing a good thing for God. God doesn’t want him to do it, but God’s answer is so gracious.
Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you.
Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you.
He doesn’t throw David under the bus. He doesn’t display great anger. He highlights the close walk the two of them had together.
Then he makes some promises to David.
Promise 1:
Promise 1:
2 Samuel 7:9 ESV
9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
2 Samuel And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
Promise 2:
2 Samuel 7:10–11 ESV
10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.
And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.
And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.
Promise 3:
2 Samuel 7:11 ESV
11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.
2 Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.
Promise 4:
2 Samuel 7:12 ESV
12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
2 samuel 7:12
Promise 5
12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
2 Samuel 7:13–14 ESV
13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,
Promise 5 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,
:13I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod o-14
Promise 6:
f men, with the stripes of the sons of men,
2 Samuel 7:15 ESV
15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
Promise 6: 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
Promise 7:
2 Samuel 7:16 ESV
16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
Promise 7: 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
This is called the Davidic covenant. God’s promises to David are realized in the coming of Jesus Christ. He sits on the throne of David and establishes it forever.
This is called the Davidic covenant. God’s promises to David are realized in the coming of Jesus Christ. He sits on the throne of David and establishes it forever.
David walked in grace. God said “no” but reminded him of all his blessings. God didn’t reject David, he didn’t reject David’s idea, he rejected the timing, and did so with grace.
If you get a no, walk in grace. We get so angry and frustrated with the no’s in our lives. God wants us to be thankful.
So how did David handle this?

Don’t beat yourself up when God shows a different path

There is nothing wrong with wanting to honor God. However, we can only honor God if we are doing what God wants. If we truly want to honor God, we will be thankful when the no’s come our way.

Share your ideas with other godly people.

The person who truly wants to do the will of God will not be afraid to listen to other godly people.
So often when we get it in our heads that God wants us to do something, we are afraid to get other peoples’ opinions because they might “talk us out of” doing what we think God wants us to do.
David listened to Nathan. He approached him for advise and he was willing to listen when Nathan came and said, “My advice was wrong,. God has another plan for you.”
In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
2 Samuel 7:17 ESV
17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
This is not to say that we always need to do what others say. But if we are afraid to speak up because they might not approve, then we are not looking for confirmation, we are looking for approval, no matter how wrong it might be.

Approach God with a humble heart

2 Samuel 7:18–21 ESV
18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! 20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! 21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! 20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! 21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.
Humility spills out of David. “Who am I, O Lord God…”, “What more can David say to you…”, “…to make your servant know it…” The “it” includes both the rebuke of David’s desire to build the temple as well as the promise of an enduring kingdom.
Humility spills out of David. “Who am I, O Lord God…”, “What more can David say to you…”, “…to make your servant know it…” The “it” includes both the rebuke of David’s desire to build the temple as well as the promise of an enduring kingdom.
David does not mind taking a “no” if it is the will of God.
We have a greater problem. If we say publically something is God’s will and then we find out it isn’t, we feel like we lose face with others. David rejoiced in God’s correction, his keeping him on the right road, and on his blessings that were revealed.
David also loved God’s people.
2 Samuel 7:23–24 ESV
23 And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? 24 And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God.
23 And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? 24 And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God.
The people of Israel are God’ chosen people. He loves them. We have to understand that though the people of Israel are God’s chosen people, the only ones who find favor with God are those who have faith in God. The nation of Israel can sin against God. They can make bad decisions. God has always been looking for people of faith.
The people of Israel are God’ chosen people. He loves them. We have to understand that though the people of Israel are God’s chosen people, the only ones who find favor with God are those who have faith in God. The nation of Israel can sin against God. They can make bad decisions. God has always been looking for people of faith.
In the New Testament and in our day, God has opened the doors for both Jews and Gentiles to enter into his family. He sent Jesus to die for our sins so that those who trust in Jesus would find their sins forgiven and be brought back to God.
Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. He is working through the church to achieve his plan today. The person who wants the will of God will not only love God, but they will love the church. They will identify with it, work with it, and be committed to the people of God in fulfilling God’s mission for the church on earth.
2 Samuel 7:25–29 ESV
25 And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. 26 And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27 For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 29 Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”
2 Samuel 7:25-25 And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. 26 And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27 For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you.
28 And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 29 Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.

Be content

David is content. His plan is not going forward. His son will be the one who builds the temple of God. David is ecstatic that his kingdom will go on for future generations. God has promised that blessing on the house of David and David is truly excited about God’s plan.
I think of this church. In many ways this church is a first generation church. Started in 1968 we still have original members and people who were here at the start. It goes without saying that these people are older. The real question for us is whether or not the next generation will carry on the work of God in this place. What will this church look like in ten years, if the Lord tarries? Will it be faithful to God and to his word? Will it be vibrant and active in ministering the gospel?
The promise God gave to David is not a promise given to us. The church is people and there will always be Christian people until the rapture of the church. But will they be here? Will they be alive for God?
The answer is sitting in your pew. God may and probably will move this church in a direction different to some degree from where we are today. Our plans for the future are not always God’s plans. But if we respond to God’s plan and do what he wants, then this church has a bright future.
We will only get that if we follow David in humility. If we are willing to talk out as godly people to find the Lord’s will and not ours, if we truly want to honor God, than God will make a way.
This is also true in our families. If we seek God’s will, are willing to listen to one another, and want to honor God, then God will make a way.
This is true in business decisions. If you want to honor God and do his will, if you are willing to listen to others and not charge ahead without at least considering what others say, then God will make a way.
When David saw what God was doing, the bigger plan, the eternal kingdom, he became excited about God’s plan.
Let’s run with God. We certainly don’t want to lag behind, but neither do we want to run ahead. When we run with God we live in the blessing of the moment, trusting him to help us at the right time and in the right way to know and do his will.
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