We’d like to believe that when God answers a prayer with a “no,” He has a better plan in mind. But deep down inside, we tend to think our own plans are best. What we really want is for God to just say “yes.” A “no” answer feels like rejection or defeat.
These may have been David’s feelings at the beginning of today’s Scripture passage. He had brought the ark back to Jerusalem, then asked to be allowed to build a temple for the Lord. His heart was in the right place. The priorities of worship and godly leadership were the right ones. Why wouldn’t God’s response be positive? The prophet Nathan obviously thought it would be, since he prematurely gave the king his stamp of approval before hearing from the Lord, who actually said “no.”
As it turned out, though, God had a much better plan in mind! He told David that the covenant relationship was far more important than a physical building. He assured the king He had a plan for his life. The shepherd-turned-king had already experienced God’s presence and victory on many occasions, and God promised He would continue to make him a great man (v. 9). He also assured him He had a plan for Israel, one that included peace and security. As for the request to build a temple, David’s son would build it one day (v. 13). Most significantly, David’s throne would endure forever (v. 16).
David’s response was one of gratitude and worship (vv. 18–29). He had a humble attitude; he knew he wasn’t worthy of all these blessings. He understood that the promise of an everlasting throne was the key point. He exalted the greatness of God (v. 22) and His faithfulness throughout His covenant relationship with Israel and with David.