2 Samuel 7:1-29 – When God says no


2 Samuel 7:1-29.




ILLUS.: Martin Luther King Jr., the Black American Civil Rights leader, made many speeches at rallies but there is one that is most remember – or at least we remember one particular phrase: “I have a dream…”


Do you have a dream? Plans? Things you want to do?

Maybe you are still young and have your whole life before you – what are your hopes and dreams?

Or maybe you are sitting here and you used to have hopes and dreams but now things are dreary and life is routine and boring; the dreams you had never really materialised and now you are resigned to life as it is! Or maybe you are resentful that your dreams were shattered, or simply faded away!


Maybe your ideas and dreams were to serve God – you really wanted to serve God in some way – you were enthusiastic / you genuinely wanted to do something worthwhile for God / the Church.

Maybe even now you have good intentions and dreams about what you want to do for God.




David has a dream – he has a desire to do something for God. After some 20 years of war and struggle he is now King David. God has blessed him and it is a time of peace. The Philistines are quiet – the nation is at peace – the Ark of the Covenant is now in Jerusalem and David is living happily in his newly-constructed palace.


We need quiet interludes in life. We need time to sit and gaze into the fire. To walk in the woods and kick the leaves. To lie on the banks of a river on a sunny day and watch the clouds float by. We need these times.

In our modern rushing lives we seldom have times to meditate and think without the hubbub of TV and Radio and Stereo and computer games and telephones …

It is often at times like this that we think and dream and hope….

Maybe at a Christian camp round the fire one evening you grasped a vision of what you could do for God – or after a Church service alone in your room you thought about how you could do something for God in response to all he had done for you.

That is where David was at – it began to bother David that the Ark of God was in  a tent while he was living in a beautiful house. From what we know of David there is no ulterior motive here, there is no selfish ambition. He has no desire to make a name for himself.


Sometimes our intentions can be good and noble – our motives are genuine; BUT our good intentions and genuine motives don’t of themselves add up to equal God’s plans.

It is often very difficult to distinguish between our ideas and God’s ideals.

We may even have friends, like David had in Nathan who will say,                    2 Samuel 7:3 3 ………., “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.” (NIV)




A Word About Freedom And Guidance. David has a heart concern to provide better housing for the Ark of God. As it turned out God was about to veto these plans. BUT it was not wrong for David to have spiritual desires – millions of people have plans and ambitions for business, for careers, for children etc…. Why should God’s people not have hopes and dreams for the work of God’s kingdom?


Paul wrote of his own desires Romans 1:11   11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong — (NIV)

Paul wrote about Church leadership – 1 Timothy 3:1 …. If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.


God gives us a lot of freedom. Generally it is good to cautiously follow our spiritual longings. For much of the time God gives us freedom. We do not need to seek God’s will for every minute detail – not that we don’t live in dependence on God, we do – but God’s will is not a hidden agenda that we need to extract from him for every detail of life.

Godly men and women of the Bible did not live that way. Most of the time God gives us freedom and expects us to use good judgement FOLLOWING the principles of scriptural teaching and scriptural wisdom. {Importance of Biblical study so we begin to think like God}

YET we have to ask God what his desire is. David did this when he shared with Nathan what was on his heart. He is asking, “What is God’s will?” NOT in the sense of  “What is God’s hidden agenda?” BUT  “What is God’s wish about this particular matter that is on my mind?

Although God gives us a certain amount of freedom, we still consult him as we use our good judgement. We ask him for confirmation. Major [and minor] decision should be prayed over. God has the right to overrule our hopes and desires. Both Nathan and David were using their God-given freedom in seeking the best for God’s kingdom. BUT they both had to accept that God has opinions and desires of his own.


ILLUS.: We are God’s children – like with our own children – we teach them certain principles – as they follow those principles and get on with life we allow them that freedom. However there are times when as parents we step in and say “That is wrong – or that is not necessary at this moment – ….”


So God’s response to David is “NO! – I do not want you to build a temple for me”

1 Chronicles 17:3-4    3 That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: 4 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. (NIV)                  [ parallel passage to 2 Sam.7]



There is no question here of sin. This is not God’s judgement coming on David because of some wrongdoing.

Was it wrong for David to think about building a temple? It is not a question of being wrong BUT a question of accepting God’s ‘NO’ and living with the mystery of God’s will.


As humans we tend to package things. And we expect God to package his plans for us just like we would. We want the logic that we use to be his logic. And when it isn’t we wonder what is wrong – because it is not working out as we would have worked it out.


ILLUS.: When I was 17 I went forward at a Missionary conference to offer myself to God for missionary work. Six years later I went to study at Theological College for 4 years. During that time I became interested in working as a missionary to the Muslim World. I met and married Janet during my college years. She had already worked as a missionary in Jordan and Lebanon – had spent 3 years at Bible College and was preparing to return to the Middle East. After finishing College we worked among the SA Muslim communities for 5 years. I studied Missions and Islamics through University.

For 10 years we prepared to go to the ME as missionaries. After a year in Portugal where I trained and practised teaching TEFL, we came to England en route to Turkey. For all kinds of reasons we could not continue on to Turkey – we were stranded in England – I worked as a carpenter and Janet went back nursing – for 3 years. Then God clearly led us to Binscombe – [I won’t go into those details] – We are in a place where there are no Muslims and everyone speaks English.


By human logic it doesn’t make sense! And there are times when I am completely baffled by God’s dealings with us. Was it wrong to desire to be a missionary in Turkey? No, I don’t think so!


Was it wrong for David to want to build God a Temple? …

When his son Solomon eventually did build the temple he said this                 … 2 Chronicles 6:7-9          7 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 8 But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. 9 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood — he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’ (NIV)


you did well to have this in your heart.

God says in effect “David I commend you for the thought. I commend you for having a heart so sensitive to me that you want to build a temple for my glory. It is well that it was on your heart. It is not my plan for you to do that, but I commend you for such a thought!”

God doesn’t call everyone to build temples.



God promises David many things – three stand out:-

  • A great name, amongst the greatest on Earth. 2 Samuel 7:9 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. (NIV)
  • The desire for a Temple fulfilled through his son. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 12 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. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. (NIV)
  • A kingdom and a house that will last forever. 2 Samuel 7:16 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.’ ” (NIV)


These promises, and many others, were fulfilled in the immediate future through Solomon, David’s son, who constructed the Temple and enjoyed a peaceful and successful reign.


But the promises go much further. David and Solomon were promised an eternal house and an eternal kingdom. The Kings of Israel that descended from David were to a greater or lesser degree all failures. It becomes clear that only a very unique Son of David could fulfil all these hopes.

The prophets began to expect a new David. The Psalmists looked forward to a king who would bring an everlasting kingdom. Isaiah speaks of a child born in the house of David whose name is “the mighty God”.

These promises can only be fulfilled in a much greater ‘David’ than David.

Like David: – he is a man of God’s choice.

– he did his work in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

– he rules over the entire people of God.

– he delivers the people from their enemies.

– he does his work on behalf of the Father.

Jesus allows people to call him the Son of David.

We know he was born in the House of David.

Mary prayed – he would be given the throne of David.


It is the work of Jesus to build a house – a spiritual Temple. Jesus temple is the church. He builds it. The Church is God’s dwelling place in the Spirit {Ephesians 2:20-22}. Jesus is David’s seed raised up [ in more than one sense] raised up to establish God’s kingdom / God’s house. His throne will last for ever and ever!


This is what God was promising David. “David, you want to build me a house, that is a good intention, but ‘NO’, I have a greater and better plan to build you into a house – not stones and wood but a spiritual house and kingdom that will not deteriorate but will last forever!





David is in his prime. He is fit in body and mind. He is tested and mature. He has the trust and admiration of the people. He is energetically ambition to do something for God. He is crowned and enthroned. KING DAVID.

How will he handle his position? Will he become like other kings – tyrannical and imposing? Assertive and demanding?


2 Samuel 7:18             18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD…….. (NIV)

This is incredible when we begin to consider the conditions under which David did it.

  • He could have got angry with Nathan – “I am the King. don’t tell me what to do!”  — shoot the messenger!
  • He could have got in a huff – “If you are going to be so ungrateful for my offer don’t ever ask me to do anything for you again!”
  • He could have felt hurt and sorry for himself – “No one appreciates me , I will just keep to myself from now on!”


Not David – he has a heart for God – he allows himself to be stopped by God. And he goes and sits before God and acknowledges his sovereignty.

2 Samuel 7:18-22       18 …. and he said:        “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?

20 “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Sovereign LORD. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.

22 “How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no-one like you, and there is no God but you, ………

David is acknowledging that God is the beginning, centre and end of all of life.

It is so easy for us to be so full of our own abilities, our own, careers, our own busyness, even our own work for God that we can easily lose sight of the fact that it is God and not ME that is the centre of life!

Those times when we stop and sit before the Lord – we become aware of the real world – God’s world! We then realise how much greater it is!


There are a number of traps we can fall into:-

  • we can be so busy doing that we never have time / make time to sit before the Lord and listen!
  • we convince ourselves that we can do nothing for God – and in a sense there is some truth in that – but we can use that as an excuse for pious laziness!
  • we can have a stoic resignation that since “the will of God” is going to happen anyway we should just be resigned to the inevitable. That is a life of fatalism not faith!


David sat before the Lord. It was not passivity or resignation. It was prayer. It was being in God’s presence.

The prayer that David prays shows that he has listened to the Word of God through Nathan the prophet. Many of the things that David is praying – are God’s word that he is praying back to God. There is a great lesson here for us.


2 Samuel 7:25-27       25 “And now, LORD God, keep for ever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great for ever. Then men will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.

27 “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer.


It takes immense courage to relinquish control of our lives to God – to give over our plans and to accept His!


David sat down – not stoic passivity but active participation  – the real action started. NOT David making God a house but God making David a house!

There is no danger that when we sit down before the lord that we will end up doing nothing. David did much before he sat down and he did much afterwards.


God commands and we obey; God sends and we go.

The Christian life is a gloriously active life as the Holy Spirit does the work of Christ in and through us. The danger is not that we do nothing when we sit before the Lord rather the danger is that we get so caught up in OUR God-plans that we forget about God!

When God says ‘NO’ it means he has a better way & he expects me to support it.

When God says ‘NO’ my very best reaction is cooperation and  humility.


David’s task was not to grumble and sulk about what he couldn’t do but to wholeheartedly get on with what he could do.


My task is not to sulk about that fact that God stopped us going to Turkey as missionaries but to get on with the task at hand. Easy? No!   Necessary? Yes!  With hindsight I see some reasons – only in heaven will I know fully why.


It is not always easy to know God’s mind – however we know enough of what God wants and we have difficulty doing what we DO know.

  • The daily task of Bible study and prayer so that I might better understand the principles of God’s Word and with his Holy Spirit’s indwelling help make wise decisions about life.
  • To be open to his promptings so that I don’t become deaf to his ‘NO’s’ and ‘YESes’.
  • To have regular fellowship and worship with other Christians so I can learn from God through them.

Without these regular disciplines of ‘sitting before the Lord’  we will not easily hear the Word of the Lord.


As with David God wants to build each of us into a house/temple in which he can dwell and be glorified. 1 Corinthians 6:19 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (NIV)


That is also true of us corporately as a church .. Ephesians 2:21 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (NIV)


There are 1000’s of good things to do – I can’t do them all – As a Church we can’t do them all – God has his plans for us – But we need to be sensitive to his directions and redirections – His ‘NO’s and his ‘YESes’’.




2 Samuel 7:1-29


1. David’s Good Plans. v1-3

˜Our good intentions + our genuine motives don’t necessarily = God’s Plans


2. God’s Better Promises. v4-17

˜God’s ‘NO’ is not always displeasure or discipline.

˜God’s ‘NO’ may simply be His re-direction.

˜David’s desire to build a house for God was superceded by God’s plan to build a house for David.


3. David’s Humble Prayers. v18-29

˜Acknowledges God’s sovereignty.

˜Demonstrates his courage by relinquishing his plans.

˜Accepts God’s plans.





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