David is one of my favorite Bible characters. One of the reasons I like him is because he was described as being “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). Yet the Bible has stories of him not always following God’s plan. The fact that David is still characterized as knowing God, trusting God and loving God yet being fully man and not always choosing to obey God is encouraging to me. It gives me hope.
This year, the Gospel Project curriculum has 6 lessons on the life of David. There are multiple books in the Old Testament with stories about David. He is important in the history of Israel and in the lineage of Jesus himself. One of the stories we taught in the preschool department was about David’s desire to build a temple to house the ark of God — the Presence of God himself. David recognized that he was honored and privileged as a king to live in a palace, while at the same time the ark of God was housed inside a tent. He didn’t feel like this was right. Yet in 2 Samuel 7 we read that this was all part of God’s plan. God told David that it was not his role, responsibility or even privilege to be able to build him a temple to live in. God himself was going to establish David’s family line and kingdom, David was not supposed to try to build a house for God.
It’s pretty incredible when God reveals his plan to us and allows us to hear his voice. Often his message comes through the Bible, his direct Word to us, or from trusted mentors and other believers who have been given wisdom and are able to speak into our lives and situation in some godly way. But when his message is so clear, it is as if God has given us a gift. The Gospel Project plan of salvation for preschoolers starts by saying, “God created everything and is therefore Ruler and King”. When the Ruler and King of the universe gives us a role in his creation and then chooses to reveal a part of his plan to us, we should feel completely loved and honored. When God’s revelation to us stops us from doing what we think is best and shows us that we need to follow what he has planned instead, we should be grateful instead of disappointed.
Oftentimes we try to figure out what we are supposed to do in life. We create situations and scenarios to keep ourselves busy and “doing” what we think God (or others) wants us to do. Sometimes God chooses to stop us from doing these things. David thought he was supposed to build God a temple to house the ark. He had great intentions and a heart seeking to honor God and his Presence. However this was not part of God’s plan, so God stopped him before he even began.
I am a lot like David. I am great at doing what I think God (or others) wants me to do. I look for things to keep me busy or please God. It has taken a lot for God to show me that this is not the way he wants me to live my life. He has had to stop me from doing too much and getting too far into my own plans and ways and just resting in him. When God has a plan for our lives, he is very good at making it clear to us, but sometimes we are too busy trying to figure it out for ourselves that we completely miss what he is trying to show us. 5 years ago God opened a door for me. I received a phone call saying a job had opened up at Swift Creek and I was recommended as someone who might be a good fit. I did not apply for the job or even know it was available at the time. God made this plan for my life very clear.
A friend and trusted mentor recently told me that when God tells you no, or closes a door, you need to keep doing the last thing he told you to do until he opens the next door for you to walk through. Don’t try to create your own door or come up with your own idea of what you think is right, keep doing the last thing he gave you to do. David tried to create his idea of what he thought would be honoring to God, but God closed that door for him. God told him that was not his plan for him.
When we follow God’s plans instead of our own, he gets the most glory and our lives are most satisfying. Continue to do the last thing he has clearly instructed and you will continue to honor and glorify him.