Have I Ever Spoken a Word...
'Why Have You Not Built Me a House of Cedar'?
"...have I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?" 1 Chron. 17:6
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." John 6:38
"Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper." Ps. 1:1-3
It was while David was reflecting upon his beautiful house of cedar, that the thought came to build a house for God. (1 Chron. 17:1). He was living in luxury while God was only living in a house made of curtains. That wasn't right. So David shared his plan with his pastor, prophet Nathan, who encouraged him with: "do all that is in your heart, for God is with you" (1 Chron. 17:2).
Apparently God wasn't pleased because He had in mind something much better than a house just made of cedar. If it was going to be His house, He wanted to be in charge of the plans and the building. So God communicated with Nathan during the night and directed him to inform David that he had mistakenly encouraged Him to go ahead with the building because God had other plans in mind.
After God discussed how he had been happily traveling from tabernacle to tabernacle, He asked, "Have I ever spoken a word to any judges of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?" God then went on to share all the things he had done in bringing David from the humble life of a shepherd to his current position of prominence and power. He also promised that he would appoint a place for his people where there would no longer be oppression any more, and subdue all his enemies. A house would also be built, but not by David; that would be reserved for an heir who was to have the privilege of erecting a structure of God's devising, using God's building methods, and everything about the procurement of materials, of the building process, and of the final beauty, would bring great honor to God.
We would have to agree that the temple that came to be as a result of God's direction was vastly superior to anything that David would have built on his own. Fortunately, David was humble enough to obey and accept God's directive to not build, and he went in and "sat before the Lord" (1 Chron. 17:16), where he proceeded to praise God for all the good things that had been done in his life.
It is interesting that the next chapter is filled with David's conquests. The Moabites were defeated, became David's servants and paid tribute (something like a tax). He also defeated the king of Zobah and took more territory, and took a thousand chariots and thousands of soldiers. When the Syrians came to deliver the king of Zobah, David defeated their vast army and killed 22,000 soldiers. Not only that, but he put garrisons in Syria to make sure they would not cause any more mischief. He also required them to pay tribute. He also took their shields of gold and took them to Jerusalem. As a result of this victory, the king Tou, the king of Hamath sent his son with gifts of gold, silver and bronze, which were added to other stockpiles of precious metals, and dedicated to the Lord. The Edomites were also defeated and became David's servants.
What an amazing run of success. Why? Twice it says: "And the Lord preserved David wherever he went." And why was the Lord preserving and blessing David? Because he had chosen to obey and not press forward building God's house.
Here are things that strike me...
(1) God should be regularly recognized and thanked for His many blessings. I am sure God was pleased that David was still acknowledging His blessings even though he had been forbidden from building a house for God. God is pleased when we take the time to acknowledge His blessings in our lives. And, as I have said many times, we are instructed to praise and thank Him at all times AND for all things according to Eph. 5:20.
(2) We need to get our directions from God and not men. David should have asked God. Not doing so, he almost made a grave mistake.
(3) Sometimes spiritual advisers will give us the go ahead without asking God and can mislead us. David was temporarily misled by Nathan. It is possible to receive misinformation, or, perish the thought, bear misinformation to others. It is always good to remain in close touch with God and to hear His voice on matters prior to saying things to others; and of course His voice is most often heard through the reading of His Word.
(4) Sometimes responses to God's blessings are misguided and actually go against what He has in mind. David wanted God to be in a nice house like he was, which was laudable. But God had something better in mind, and reserved the right to decide how the house would be built, when the house would be built, and by whom the house would be built. God is still particular in our day. The many mistakes that are being made by Christians, and by Church entities in our day, suggests God isn't being consulted enough these days, or His thoughts are being minimized or completely ignored. Frankly much that goes on completely dishonors God.
(5) Sometimes there is need to change our thinking and plans. David did, and trusted God enough to be happy obeying Him, even if a part of Him had to die to self in the process. Obeying cuts against the grain of our natures. We don't like to have anyone tell us what to do, not even God! Ongoing obedience takes ongoing dying to self!
(6) Obedience brings blessings. David obeyed and as a result God greatly blessed, subduing enemies, bringing new territory and bringing gold and silver and other tribute. Today the prosperity gospel busily pursues wealth based on the "word of faith," as if God is honor-bound to provide anything and everything that is asked for, whether it is for the person's good or not. I don't think you find such a thing in the scriptures, and I believe that is why too many people who are praying for those blessings, and sending in their funds to ministries out of assurances that God will bless them, are being disappointed. I know because I hear from many who write me about it.
Did God Ever Change the Sabbath to Sunday?
Last time I shared my convictions of honoring God by keeping God's Sabbath on Saturday as an ongoing protest against the evolutionary movement. I have received a range of responses which were sent in love and received in love. Many affirmed what I share and a few even made decisions to honor God in a greater way in this regard. Some were not pleased and let me know so. One person who I have great respect for told me that 98% of Christians revere Sunday and are godly people, suggesting they couldn't all be wrong. I also heard about the danger of adding to the Bible and was directed to texts in various places in this regard. I was warned about not judging. I have also heard that any day is fine as long as there is "a" day. I appreciate every one of these responses. Based on some of these responses I have to wonder why any day is kept—perhaps God is confused:)
Please help me with...
Did God ever say to keep Sunday? Show me! David wanted to build God a house, but God said, "No!" and asked when any such instruction had been given? Is there such direction for a change of the day in the Word?
Do the practical, historical reasons, for changing the day suggest it was a positive decision, taken from a position of strength, or one that came out of negative and protective reasons? There is huge confusion here, one group of people saying the change came for one reason, others something else. Just the confusion should suggest something is amiss.
What day would Jesus say is right? Monday? I doubt it. Wednesday? I doubt it. Friday? I doubt it. Maybe He would abandon it too! I doubt it. There seems to be a sense that "a" Sabbath would be good, but not "THE" Sabbath of God the Father, given at creation. Would you not agree that Jesus' life was all about honoring his Father, and that He even honored His Father when He rested in the tomb on Saturday? He said he was Lord of the Sabbath, and at that time it could have only referred to the Saturday Sabbath. I can't imagine Jesus returning to heaven and saying to His Father, "Father, I've decided to have all my followers keep Sunday to honor me! It will take them some time to figure out that I have changed my will on this since I didn't say anything, but they will eventually get it. Don't feel bad that our followers on planet earth are no longer honoring You as the Creator!" No, I think He went back to heaven and told His Father that He had perfectly completed all things and that His church was going to be continuing the same experience of honoring Him as He had. We of course don't know what was said, but we know there is no statement of Jesus directing the early church otherwise, nor does history bear out any change occurring until later—and then avoiding persecution was a major reason. The Sabbath—the GREAT Sabbath that commemorates God's work creating the world as compared to the sabbaths that took place in the Jewish yearly calendar—existed from the time of creation and will continue into eternity.
I wish more people honored the Sabbath but numbers mean nothing. I am reminded that 30,000 people joined David in bringing back the Ark, and 100% of them were wrong. Note priests were participating in what was going on even though it was mistaken. Elijah thought he was the ONLY one at the time of the great showdown on Mt. Carmel. Once again priests were involved, but they were serving another God. 99.99999999999% of the people at the time of Jesus were convinced that He was not the Messiah when he was crucified and they were 100% wrong and the ones leading the party were the priests. Please understand, I am not throwing stones at pastors who I pray for and consider dear friends, just saying that you must not hide behind the "number of people" excuse, or "hide behind the pastor" excuse. I love the pastors of all churches and I am not denigrating what they do, but I think it is time to prayerfully consider our thinking and practice on this subject.
Would you agree there is a chance God is pleased that I honor Him as the creator when I keep the Sabbath as His special gift week to week? Will I be lost doing so? I don't think so? Are you as convinced that God is as pleased when Sunday is kept? Please show me where God says something, anything, about this. I don't think, "do not judge" is sufficient. David could have responded to Nathan the same way, but we would agree that his "don't judge" to Nathan would have sounded quite hollow! I am not sure at all that those verses relate to the GREAT Sabbath as compared to the ongoing sabbaths, since the Bible speaks of "the Sabbath" and "a sabbath." This web site is really helpful in this regard:
Thank you for hearing me out. I didn't choose to write this arbitrarily, it was just the story that came next. I share these words with fear and trembling because I know such words don't come as welcome information in some quarters. Please follow Andrew Murray's advice in studying: "A readiness to believe every promise implicitly, to obey every command unhesitatingly, to “stand perfect and complete in ALL the will of God,” is the only true spirit of Bible study." And pray for me as I am praying for you in this regard.
Father in heaven. I have again shared some heavy things. Father I don't know why you have put such a burden on my heart, or why you keep having me run into stories that speak to this issue. Father I know nothing comparatively speaking, I only want you to be honored in my life and in the lives of my friends. Father you know how my friends are responding to what I have written. You know to what degree every area of life is fully surrendered to You. Father, might there be such a surrender, that You will be obeyed no matter what the cost may be. Help me to also obey. Thank you that in obeying, You will also bless us: subduing our enemies, bringing needed resources, fulfilling Your great intentions in our lives—an intention that is so much greater than anything we could imagine that we wouldn't believe it if we were told. Father help us to be as concerned about honoring You and doing Your will as Jesus was. I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.