"From Garden to City" reading: 2 Samuel 7-9
Some people, apparently, pray about what to major in when they go to college.
I remember hearing Pastor Mike talk about that in a sermon, and it was a novel idea to me.
I just knew.
It totally made sense.
What else would I want to study?
Still, it seemed like an interesting idea, praying about what to study. I thought, maybe I'll do that if I go to grad school.
And then I heard about the program in rhetoric, and I didn't pray about whether or not this was the right program. I just knew. It totally made sense. What else would I want to study?
It's not that I'm not prayerful, and I did spend a lot of time praying about whether or not to go to school. But not about the major.
Of note, I also did not pray about WHERE to go to school.
SDSU was the only school in San Diego that offered a French major.
SDSU was also the only school in San Diego that offered a masters in rhetoric.
Again, obvious choice.
I tend to rely on intuition. Gut feelings. Holy hunches.
I have learned over the years that God speaks to me through these hunches.
But sometimes the things that totally make sense, that just seem right, are not right at all.
Sometimes God has other ideas.
And that brings us to 2 Samuel 7.
David gets this fabulous idea . . .
Let's build a house for God!
And it does seem to be a great idea.
Wisely, David has learned to seek counsel from godly people in his life, and so he talks to Nathan before he begins his wonderful project.
Nathan's totally on board with the idea.
David's heart is for God. And this does seem to totally make sense.
And so he says, "Yeah! Great idea! God's with you--so go for it!"
The thing is . . .
This great idea is not God's idea.
At least not for right now.
And not for David.
And the "word of the Lord" comes to Nathan as he is lying in bed at night.
And the answer is: "No."
Not a great idea.
Don't do it.
God's not mad at Nathan - or at David.
He just has other plans.
And I love this episode in David's life.
It speaks to those of us who tend to rely on our hunches for direction in life in a few ways:
First, we see David seeking godly counsel before he acts on his great idea.
Nathan knows David, and he knows David's heart. They have a relationship, and even though David's the king, Nathan has permission to say hard things, tough things, to David.
We all need to have these kind of people in our lives. Godly people who know us, who know our hearts. People who pray, who listen to God. People who have permission to say tough things to us.
I know that sometimes it's hard to establish those relationships, and they take time to develop, but those relationships are essential.
Next, even though Nathan has already given an answer, we see that Nathan still listens to what God has to say on this matter.
Sometimes the gut response, the response that totally makes sense, isn't God's plan.
Are we open to God's plan? Are we listening? Do we continue asking God what he thinks, even after we have already made plans?
Are we willing to change our plans to fit God's plans?
Are we willing to listen to godly counsel that contradicts our plans?
Nathan was still asking and still listening, and so God spoke to him and opened up new and wonderful new promises for David.
And David's heart was open to God's word, and he received the change in plans with thanksgiving and praise.
And as I write this, suddenly God is speaking to me.
The thing that made total sense to me was working for Newbreak until I finished school.
But God's plans are not my plans.
God's plans are always better than my plans, even when mine appear to make more sense than God's.
And as I seek godly counsel, and my godly counsel reminds me every time that God's got something good. Something wonderful.
God is good.
He is faithful.
And I can receive these promises with praise and thanksgiving--like David--or I can cling to disappointment and fear. I think I have done both over the last few months.
If David had rejected Nathan's counsel, if David had rejected God's instructions, he would have missed the amazing plans God had for him, and he would have missed the wonderful promises God had for his family.
Right now I am grateful for godly friends who speak into my life. Who remind me of God's truths. Who remind me of his character. Who remind me of his love.
And I need to take a few minutes to pray about this before I start my day.