Links Daily Devotional

Overruled

That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: “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.’” (1 Chronicles 17:3, NIV 1984)

Call it a bar bet, if you will. It’s one those disputes between friends, both thinking they have the right answer. And where do they go for resolution? To an authority. To one who knows.

So I have heard folks call into a sports talk show, say, asking for help in resolving such an argument. Sometimes it’s over a fact: who won the Masters that Roberto De Vicenzo gave away? Sometimes it’s over an opinion: what’s tougher, a basketball free throw to tie a game in the final seconds or a six-foot putt on the 72nd hole to win a golf tournament? Either way, it’s the expert who’s supposed to settle the bet.

In the opening lines of 1 Chronicles 17, we encounter a question between knowledgeable, godly men that eventually necessitates deference to the highest authority.

David, king of Judah and blessed in many ways by the God who installed him as king, looked at his myriad possessions, including his elaborate palace, and asked why he shouldn’t also build a beautiful house for God. He posed his question aloud, in fact, to the prophet of the time, Nathan.

Nathan recognized God’s choice in David, and he allowed for the king’s idea as a noble one. “Whatever you have in mind, do it,” he told David, “for God is with you.”

Now understand that Nathan did not in the moment consult the Lord to ask whether God was on board with this specific project. Rather, the prophet’s words were based on the order of the kingdom. God had made David king; therefore, David’s good ideas were within the boundaries of that role. Nathan gave David the same default answer that you or I might give to a friend we trust is walking closely with God and in his service: “God is with you.”

But that night Nathan received a different set of instructions from God. Overruling his king, overruling his prophet, the Lord himself said, “This is not David’s job to do.” The Lord had his reasons (David was a man of war, and his rewards and recognition had already been great), but more than this God had his plan (to give the temple-building job to David’s heir). That was enough for Nathan and David. They gave way to the authority of God.

The lesson here is a valuable one for us. As people of God, we too will be gifted with certain roles and positions, with skill and with wisdom. The Lord will entrust to us ideas and plans and projects. But always he will maintain his authority. And no matter how established we are in our faith or how excellent our next idea may be, we must always keep our ears and our hearts open to God’s ultimate leading. He is the one who settles every debate by the delivery of his will.

Jeff Hopper

March 20, 2012

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