Commentary by Walter Albritton


October 22, 2006


God’s Ideas Are Always Better than Our Own


2 Samuel 7


Key Verse: Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. – 2 Samuel 7:16


          How easily pride causes even the best of us to think we are smarter than God! Israel’s King David is a prime example. After building himself a fine palace David decided to build God a temple. God, however, had a better idea.

          David’s mistake is one we mimic all the time. He forgot to check out his ideas with God. David was talking when he should have been listening. Like David we do the same thing. Usually our motives are as questionable as David’s. Even when we talk about doing something for the glory of God, subconsciously we are seeking glory for ourselves.

          God knows our hearts. Nothing escapes Him. God knew that David wanted to build a great temple for God so that people would say, “Look what King David did.”

          At first Nathan thought David’s proposal to build a temple was a good idea. But that was before he talked it over with God. Nathan did what David forgot to do; he sought God’s counsel in the matter. God then used Nathan to help David understand God’s better idea.

          God did not need a house or temple as much as he needed a man – a faithful man out of whose line Jesus would finally come. David thought he knew what he was doing but did not. God knew what He was doing. We know that now because generations later The Gospel of Matthew begins with these words, A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1).

          God’s plan was for King Jesus to come from King David’s line. Despite David’s flaws God promised to make David into a house, a dynasty so great that a king of David’s lineage would be king forever. This was God’s unconditional promise, that his steadfast love would never be removed from David’s line.

          So, instead of saying “Thank you David for building me a splendid temple,” God makes this extraordinary, unconditional promise: “Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.”  Need I remind you that “forever” is a mighty long time!

          This story should be very precious to us as we consider our own worth to God. He uses each of us to accomplish his purposes. Thus our little lives are dignified and given a powerful sense of worth. David would have never understood God’s purposes without Nathan.

          Nathan took David to school. He showed him that he was not a self-made man. God made him what he was. Nathan spoke to David in language he could understand. We might paraphrase it this way: “God told me to remind you that you would be still herding sheep had God not taken you out of that pasture and made you a king. Sure, you have defeated your enemies but not in your own strength. You won because God was with you. And about that temple you want to build for God, you can forget it. God is not going to let you do that. Instead he is going to build you into a house that will be established forever.”

          As we seek to serve Christ we need to remember constantly the kingdom principle underscored in this lesson. What matters supremely is not what we can do for God but what God can do for us, in us, and through us for His glory!

          Mother Teresa’s example comes to mind. She was not perfect but her fame never caused her to presume she was smarter than God. She kept listening to God rather than telling God about what she wanted to do for Him. God told her to love the sick and the poor. Throughout her life she kept being faithful to God’s idea.

          She could have hired others to tend the sick and the poor while she toured the world speaking about poverty and suffering. She could have established the University of Mother Teresa where nurses could be trained to minister to the poor. Instead she left us a remarkable picture of faithfulness.

          Etched in my memory is the story she told of walking down a street in Calcutta. Two other nuns were with her. When they came upon three sick, suffering people, she took the one who was desperately ill. Holding the dying woman in her arms, Mother Teresa tenderly wiped her face and simply loved her. With her dying breath the woman whispered, “Thank you.”

          A wealthy woman visiting Mother Teresa in India was so impressed with her work that she offered to stay and help her.  “No,” the saintly nun replied, “you go home and offer the love of Christ to the sick and the poor where you live.”

          Today is a good day to pray this prayer:

          Lord Jesus, help me not to tell you what I want to do for you but to listen and allow you to tell me your ideas about how you want me to serve you. Save me from spinning my wheels in endless activities so that I miss the essential thing you want to do in me, for me, through me, for your glory. I surrender my foolish pride so you can teach me daily that your plans are always better than my own. Make me willing to get my hands dirty serving you wherever you place me. Deliver me from grandiose ideas of kingdom service and teach me to serve you in simple ways without fanfare or applause. When at last I lie down with my ancestors, grant me the peace of knowing that you used my life like you wanted to use it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.           (Contact Walter at