What to Remember When You Can’t Forget
Text: 1 Chronicles 17; 2 Chronicles 6
I want you to open your Bibles tonight to the Old Testament to 1 Chronicles, chapter 17, and to 2 Chronicles, chapter 6.
1 Chronicles 17, we’ll just read for now the first four verses. We’ll come back to this chapter a little bit later. And then we’ll read the first nine verses in 2 Chronicles, chapter 6.
1 Chronicles 17:1-4:
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains. Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee. And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in.
2 Chronicles 6:1-9
[Now the temple that David had wanted to build has been built by Solomon, and they are having what I guess could best be described as a dedication service.]
Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever. And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying, Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel. Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart. Nothwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.
In the past couple of years, there has been a new game that has caught the fancy of the American people, called Trivial Pursuit. I’m sure most of you, if not all of you, have been exposed to that. It is quite an intriguing game, a simple game. I was watching network news one night some months ago and they were interviewing one of the creators of this game. I forget how many hundreds of millions of dollars it has produced in a very brief time, but for awhile the stores couldn’t keep it stocked because it was so popular, and there was going to a television show spin-off. They were interviewing one of the creators and asked him how they came to create the game. It just so happens that one night they were wanting to play Scrabble and couldn’t find the game so they decided to make up their own. Forty-five minutes later they had invented Trivial Pursuit. So the reporter asked this man, “To what do you attribute it’s amazing success? Why do you think people are buying it so rapidly?” I was surprised by the answer that the man gave. I would never have expected such a philosophical answer from the man. He said, “They are simply buying memories, for that is all you can buy with your money–memories.” Now, I don’t know if that is true or not, if that is why people are buying the game, but I was intrigued by that statement: All you can buy with your money is memories, and they are simply buying memories.
When I heard that statement, the first thought that came to me was that I have a few memories I’d like to sell. As a matter of fact, I have some memories I’d be happy to give away free. And I imagine everyone of us tonight could say the very same thing. There are memories I’d just love to sell, memories I’d be happy to get rid of. Memory is a funny thing, a strange thing; it can bring joy to the heart, or it can bring pain to the heart.
I am reminded of what Jesus told us in Luke 16, the story of the rich man in hell. He looked up and saw Abraham and Lazarus in his bosom and begged that Lazarus might come and give him a drop of water to cool his tongue. And Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things, and Lazarus evil things, and now he is comforted and thou art tormented.” Son, remember . . . . I have an idea the memories that man had was more painful to him than whatever fires may be in hell. Son, remember . . . .
I have found myself doing something lately that I’m sure you’ve done also. At some idle moment, my mind will head down a certain path, and I can anticipate where that path is going to go, and if I allow my mind to keep on going down that road, it is going to end up at a very painful destination. So I will deliberately do something to shift gears and get my mind heading in another direction. There have been times when I’ve been watching television, and a certain program will come on. I can tell at the very moment it begins it is going to stir up some painful memories in my life, so I will switch channels. I’d rather watch commercials.
I have some memories that I would be very happy to get rid of, wouldn’t you? I think that one of the things that sometimes slows us down in our spiritual maturity is the fact that all of us have memories. There are certain things we can’t forget. It is amazing. There is something about fallen nature that finds it easy to forget the good things that happen to us, and remember the bad things. I don’t remember a lot of the kindnesses that people have done for me, but I guarantee you that I’ve never forgotten one bad act that was ever done towards me. I don’t remember a lot of the compliments that I’ve received, but I’ve never forgotten a single insult. If you want to make a lasting impression on me tonight, just come up after the service and say, “Preacher, that was a terrible sermon.” I promise you; I’ll never forget you. I don’t remember all the good things that happen, but I’ve never forgotten a single bad thing that happened.
I think the same thing is true with us spiritually. I am convinced that one of the reasons we fail to grow and mature spiritually is because there are memories in our lives of where we feel we’ve been unjustly dealt with, and perhaps God has not dealt with us fairly, some unanswered prayer, some unfulfilled desire, someone has wronged us. It may have been yesterday or forty years ago, but it is as real as though it happened this morning. We cling to that memory, and it stifles our growth and embitters our spirit and makes us cynical towards God and life in general. I am convinced if we are to be what God wants us to be, and grow as God wants us to grow, we are going to have to deal with some of these unpleasant and painful memories—the bitterness they bring about, the cynicism that they cause us to have in our spirits.
I want to talk to you tonight for these moments on the subject of what to remember when you can’t forget. There are some things we will never be able to forget. You’ve tried to forget them—unpleasant things–some tragedy, some disappointment, some heartache. Every time you kneel to pray, or every time you try to do something positive, this memory comes back and you just can’t forget it. It may be a person who has wronged you. No matter how much good they have done since then, every time you see them, you don’t see the good they are doing now. What you see is the one thing they did years and years ago that injured or hurt your feelings. There just some things we can’t forget.
I think David was this way. This story I’ve read to you tonight may sound sort of strange, , but I think it stands as one of the hallmarks of David’s life because it represented for him one of the great disappointments in his career. David is an old man now, and he is coming to the end of his life, his reign as king. It says that one night he was sitting in his house, a house made of cedars, a palatial mansion. He was sitting there, and Nathan the prophet was there. And David says, You know it is not right that I should live in a house of cedars, and that God still lives in a tent. The ark of the covenant of the LORD, the presence of God, is still dwelling in a temporary tent. It is still behind curtains. It just doesn’t seem right that I should live in such a beautiful mansion and God should dwell in a tent.” What David wanted to do, of course, was to build God a temple. Nathan said, “Do all that is in thine heart, for God is with thee.” Yet that night when Nathan returned to his own quarters, God came to him and told him he must go back to David and say to him, “Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in.”
Over in 2 Chronicles when Solomon is having that dedication, he says that God said, “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.” Those words are not just words, but they are a Hebrew expression indicating a fixed and earnest longing. In other words, this desire to build the temple was not just some passing fancy. It wasn’t just a spur of the moment idea that occurred to David, but rather it was something he had pondered a long time; it was an earnest and fixed determination. It was the longing of his heart. It would be the crowning act of his reign as king. I have an idea he built that temple every night in his sleep. It was something he wanted to do more than anything else. Yet, at the end, God came to him and said, “No, thou shalt not build me a house to dwell in.”
Maybe God has said no to us in one way or another. I want us to examine this passage tonight. There are some things I think we ought to remember when we can’t forget some of the bad things. The first thing is obvious:
1. We need to remember that a good idea is not necessarily a godly idea.
Now David had a good idea, a great idea. It was to build God a temple, a permanent dwelling place. What could be wrong with that? His motive was right. It says he wanted to build it for the name of the LORD God of Israel. That meant that David wanted to honor God. He wanted to erect an everlasting monument of his devotion to God—something that would bring honor and glory to God. You couldn’t question his motive. He had a right motive.
Not only that, I think David felt that such a temple would unite the divided kingdoms. You remember the kingdom was still divided, Israel and Judah. David somehow reasoned in his heart that if there was a permanent dwelling place where the ark of the covenant could be situated, that would bring together those divided kingdoms, and reunite once again the kingdom. Anybody knows that whatever you do to bring together God’s people has to be of God.
Not only that, but he had what I would call prophetic sanctification. Nathan said it was a good idea. Nathan was probably the most spiritual man in the kingdom at that time. You remember that he was the prophet that pointed out David’s sin, and gained David’s respect. And Nathan said, “David, do all that is in thine heart; God is with thee.”
Every once in awhile I’ll get what I think is a good idea. There are times when I like to bounce it off somebody else. I have some friends that I think walk with God, and I feel are spiritually sensitive and discerning. I’ll go to them and say, “I just want to tell you what I’ve been thinking. I’ve had this idea, and I want to know what you think about it.” I pick very carefully the people that I share with. I don’t just go out on the street and grab the first person that comes along. I want to get somebody that is halfway spiritual. When those folks say, “Hey, man, that’s a great idea. That has to be of God. Go ahead and do it. God is certainly with you.” You see, that sort of confirms it in my heart.
So David has this great idea to build this temple, and he shares with the most spiritual man he knows, Nathan the prophet. And Nathan says, “That’s a great idea. Do all that is in thine heart. God is with you.” That night when Nathan got back to his home, God said to him (and I’m kind of paraphrasing), “Nathan, you’re shooting from the hip again. You missed it on that one. You should have prayed about that a little bit. You go back and tell David he should not build me a house to dwell in.” What I’m trying to say to you is this: a good idea is not necessarily a godly idea.
It’s very difficult for us at times to discern the will of God because it is hard for us to be objective in discerning the will of God. There are times when we enter into a project, or an enterprise, or we have some vision, and we say, “Man, this is so good.” And all the motives seem to be right, and the results would seem to glorify God. This just has to be the will of God.
I was in Atlanta not long ago, and a man came forward one night during the invitation and said he would like to give a word of testimony. After the meeting was concluded, he stood up and gave his testimony. This is basically what he said: Seventeen years ago my wife and I came into a large sum of money, a great deal of money. We had never had money before, and we suddenly found ourselves with this large sum of money, so we thought that we wanted to use it to glorify God We began to pray that God would help us to use this money to glorify him. Not long after that, three men approached me. They were Christians, and they were putting together some Christian enterprise, some Christian project and all they needed was money in order to make it go. It seemed to be of God because these men were Christians. And so we put every penny we had into that. It turned out they were nothing more than con men, and we lost every penny we had. That was 17 years ago, and I was so bitter I told my wife, “I’m never going to give God another penny. I’m never going back to church.” Then he said that tonight was the first time he had been in church in 17 years.
You ask how do you explain that? Why did that happen. I don’t know, folks. There are a lot of things that happen in life that I don’t understand. I just know this: God is bigger than my theology, and there are a lot of times when I think I’ve got God all figured out, and sure enough I don’t. All I can say is that sometimes when we think we have a good idea, and a great idea, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a godly idea. I run into a lot of Christians who have gone off into some enterprise, or they have gone off into a direction thinking it has to be of God, and God has suddenly closes the door, and everything falls apart. What happens is that we have a tendency to blame God for everything bad that happens.
I had an occasion the other day to check up on our insurance papers, as we were redoing all our insurance. I noticed the phrase I’m sure you’ve noticed. On one of those policies, it said that this policy is not in effect in case of tornadoes, and other acts of God. It is interesting that we always consider acts of God as acts of calamity or catastrophe. I find people bitter because of some prayer for healing that God did not hear. I think one of the most difficult times to be objective is when one of your loved ones is sick and you pray that God would heal them. My feeling is that if I were God, I would heal my child. If I were God, I would heal my wife. I would heal my husband. Surely, God is not going to let an innocent one like this suffer. And we pray just knowing, just believing that it is God’s will that they be healed, and yet they die. And what happens is that often we get bitter in our hearts, and we forget that a good idea is not necessarily a godly idea.
Now, I want to remind you of one thing: David’s failure did not mean God’s failure.
The important thing is that the temple was finally built. It was built by Solomon. God wouldn’t let David build the temple. What we need to realize is that simply because we fail to accomplish some project, or we fail to achieve some goal, doesn’t mean that God has failed. Do you remember why God wouldn’t let David build the temple? He explained to him later on. He said because you’ve got bloody hands. Now, I don’t think God was referring to the fact that he had Uriah murdered and committed his sin with Bathsheba. I think he was referring to the fact that David was a warrior king. David was a warrior king. That was his task. That was what God wanted him to do. But God said, “When I have my temple built, it is not going to be built with bloody hands; it’s going to be built by someone else. What I am trying to say is that God uses some to battle, and some to build. But they are all used of God. God himself sets our tasks and appoints us our jobs. We sometimes choose them, and we want to do it so badly that we feel like this has to be the will of God. Then if we fail and we somehow feel like God has failed.
I remember about a year ago this time, I was in a meeting similar to this and on the final night of the meeting, I got sick—about four o’clock in the afternoon. I got sicker and sicker. So I called the pastor about six o’clock and told him I needed a doctor. The pastor came over to the motel and said, “Listen, you forget about the service. I’ll take care of it. You are in no shape.” I said, “No sir, I will be there; after all, I was the preacher until last night, and they can’t have a meeting without me. I’m going.” I got out of bed and started getting dressed. The next thing I knew I was on my back on the floor, looking up at the ceiling. I said, “On second thought, preacher, you go ahead. I don’t think I’m going to make it.” So at seven o’clock when they started the meeting that night, I was in the hospital. The next morning the singer came to see how I was doing. I asked, “How was the service last night?” He said, “You know something. It was the best service we’ve had all week long”.
Moses may die, but God has a Joshua waiting in the wings. Just because David fails to build the temple doesn’t mean that God fails. Simply because we have a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a godly idea.
The second thing I would say to you is this:
2. What we need to remember when we can’t forget is that God does not judge us by the achievements of our hands, but rather by the ambition of our hearts.
I love the eighth verse in 2 Chronicles 6 where Solomon says that God came to David and said, “You can’t build my temple, but thou didst well that it was in thine heart.” He said, “David, you can’t do what you wanted to do. You can’t accomplish nor achieve what you set out to do, but that is alright; thou didst well that it was in your heart.”
As far as I know, God is the only Master in the world who pays his servants as much for their intention as for their action. It is that way with sin, isn’t it? Didn’t Jesus say, “Thou shalt not kill, but I say unto you that if you have murder in your heart, if you have hate in your heart, you are already a murderer.” It is that way with sin; it’s that way with righteousness.
I started preaching when I was 15. I surrendered to be the next Billy Graham, by the way. I really did. I guess you would say that Billy Graham was at his height at that time; he still is as far as I’m concerned. I’d been reading biographies of men like D. L. Moody and Billy Sunday. I just knew that God had called me to be the next Billy Graham. I knew that God had called me to hundreds of thousands of people. After a few years, it dawned on me that God had not called me to be the next Billy Graham, so I decided I would be the next W. A. Criswell. That’s not bad for second best. I thought I would be the next pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas. Well, I’m just about to give up on that. One thing, it looks like he is going to be there forever, and the second thing is that there is such a long waiting line. They say that every person writes two books—one he writes when he is a youth, and he writes it with his dreams and aspirations; the second he writes as he grows up, and that one he writes with his actual performance. Any similarity between the two is purely coincidental.
I doubt if there is a person here tonight who has reached middle age that could honestly say, “I have achieved everything that I wanted to achieve. I am the person tonight—spiritually, morally, and every other way—that I dreamed I would be when I was a child. You see, we all have ambitions. When we don’t achieve those ambitions, all this guilt comes upon us, and we somehow feel that God’s standard has been the standard we have set for ourselves. I want to remind you, friends, that God doesn’t judge you by the accomplishments of your hand, but by the ambition of your heart. I may not be the preacher tonight I set out to be, and I’m not the holy person I thought I would be. I’m not the Christian I thought I would be, but I believe I could stand before God tonight and say, “Lord, I may not have accomplished nor achieved what I wanted to do, but you know it is in my heart to do it.”
I remember one night some years ago, I came downstairs and my wife was sitting at the kitchen table weeping. I went over to her and said, “Honey, what in the world is the matter?” She said, “Oh, I’m such a failure as a mother.” That was just when we had started having trouble with our teenage son, and we had never experienced anything like that before. I said, “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again.” I don’t know what perfection is, but I know that if God requires perfection of a parent, we’re all lost. We may have made some mistakes, and there is no doubt we have, but God doesn’t judge us by our achievements; He judges us by the ambitions of our hearts. There is not a person here tonight who couldn’t stand up and say they feel like a failure in some area or another. All of us feel that way, but most of the time that is the accusation of the devil as he pounds into us our own inadequacy and inability. God doesn’t judge you by what you’ve accomplished, but He judges by what is in your heart. Is it in your heart? You say, “I’m not the parent I wanted to be.” Yes, but is it in your heart to be the best? You say, “I’m not the husband or the wife, I wanted to be. I’m not the preacher or the Christian I wanted to be.” That doesn’t matter. Is it in your heart? Can you stand before God tonight and with all honesty say, “Lord, you know I’ve failed, but you also know my heart. It was in my heart.” And God said, “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.” One last word—what to remember when we can’t forget is this:
3. When God says “no,” it is not to deprive us of a blessing, but it is to drive us to a greater blessing.
When God says no to some request, to some desire, to some ambition or plan, He doesn’t do it in order to deprive us of a blessing, he does it in order to drive us to a greater blessing. Someone was interviewing me a few years ago for some Christian publication, and they said, “Preacher, can you put into one sentence what you hope people will get out of your ministry? Just sum it up into one sentence—what you want folks to get out of your ministry.” I thought about that for a moment, and said, “Would you give me two sentences?” They said, “All right, two.” I said, “Here is what I think I want more than anything else for people to get, and it is this: 1) God is faithful. I mean you can trust Him. And, 2) God is good. Even when it looks like He isn’t, God is good. He says, “I know my thoughts toward you, that they are thoughts of peace and not of evil.”
Oh, if we could ever come to the place where we really understood and believe that God is only good to His people. That is all God ever is. You say, “But you don’t understand what God took from me.” Listen, if God takes something from us with one hand, it is because He’s got something better in the other hand for us. The problem is that we don’t always have the same standard of values that God has. What we need to remember is that when God says no to us and denies us some little trinket that we have wanted, it is not simply because He is a capricious, hard-hearted God who is trying to see how mean He can be to us. It is because he is trying to force us into the greater blessings He has for us.
1) I think He wants us to have the blessing of remembrance.
Now, I want you to go back to that seventeenth chapter of 1 Chronicles. I think one of the blessings that God constantly has to force us into is the blessing of remembrance. Look at verses 7 and 8. Now God knows human nature. He knows that when he says no to us, we are going to start whining and whimpering about how mistreated we are, so He says to Nathan, “Now, Nathan, don’t just say NO to David, you are not going to build my temple, but I have something else I want you to say to him.” In verse 7:
Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel: And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.
He is saying, “Now, Nathan, when you go to David and tell him that I am not going to let him build the temple, before he starts puffing up in self pity, you remind him where he was when I found him.” He was in the pasture, following the sheep. You know what that means, don’t you. Watch your step! I mean he wasn’t even leading the sheep, he was following the sheep, which is the worst place to be as far as I’m concerned. You remind David before he starts swelling up with this feeling of injustice and accusing Me of mistreating him that I took him out of the pasture, and I have been with him whithersoever he has walked, and I have cut off all of his enemies, and I have given him a name like the great men of the earth. I tell you folks, there are times when I need to be reminded ,as Spurgeon said, “of the pit from which I have been digged.”
Some years ago I was pastor in the Dallas area, and when they opened Six Flags Over Texas, of course, my kids wanted to go. I was born an old fogy. I don’t like to do things. I’m scared to death of a Ferris wheel. My wife is an eternal child. If I were to call her tonight and say when I get home tomorrow, we are going straight to Six Flags, she would be ready to go. I’ve got three children—no, four, three children and a wife. I mean she is always ready to go. They kept after me to take them. For the five of us it would cost about $100 to get in. You know, that was a lot of money 20 years ago. It’s still a good little bit. And I thought a hundred dollars was a lot to spend, but I said, well, I”ll spend some quality time with my kids. That’s the buzz word today, quality time. So finally I gave in and said, “All right, we’ll go to Six Flags Over Texas.”
I made a mistake and went on a Saturday in August, when half of the civilized world was there.. It opens at 10 o’clock in the morning and closes at 12 midnight. Nothing to do, of course, but we had to be there right as it opens. You pay a lot for parking, and then you have to pay $100 for the five of us to get in, and then they stamp your hand with an invisible mark of the beast. And everybody is there. I hate the place. I really do. You know, you stand in line for two hours to get on a 30-second ride. Have you ever noticed that? I would start looking for short lines. I wouldn’t care what it is. But you realize they have deceived you because it is a serpentine line that doubles back and forth. You think there are just a few people there, but you get inside and there are 5,000 folks in front of you—waiting. Then we rode the log ride. My kids knew what would happen so they put me in the front. I was soaking wet, and I was so tired. It was on a Saturday, and we had an 8:15 service on Sunday morning. I had to get up at 5:00 a.m., prepare, and get ready. Saturday was a terrible time to come. I was so tired and weary. My mind was preoccupied, and I couldn’t forget about that $100. When you have everybody out there all day long, you have to feed them. About six o’clock, I said to my kids, “Hey kids, are you all ready to go?” They said, “No, Dad. This place is open until midnight. We’ve got six more hours.” There we were, til midnight—fourteen hours! We watched the fireworks go off. Finally, when they said it was over, we left. Of course, getting out is another matter. I mean you get in the parking lot, and you sit there and sit there. And then when you get to the exit, you are in the wrong lane. Have you ever noticed that? You want to turn left, and you are in the right hand lane. We get back on the highway about 1:00 a.m. I am so tired. I am so worn out. In four hours I’ve got to get up and get ready to preach. I spent a fortune out there today. But, it was quality time with my kids.
So I was driving down the highway toward home, and the kids were in the back seat asleep. My wife had gone to sleep immediately. All of a sudden from the back seat, I hear this little sobbing. Well, I don’t pay a lot of attention. It’s probably the eighteenth hotdog hitting home. After awhile, you know how children are, they turn up the volume when they don’t catch your attention. So over my shoulder I say, “What is the matter?” From the back seat comes this little sob, “I didn’t get a balloon!” What did you say? Now folks, I am ashamed to admit it, but that was it. I came apart. Blame it on the devil, or blame it on weariness, or whatever you want to blame it on. I pulled that car off the side of the road. I was so angry. I pushed that gear into park. I spun around and said “What did you say?” My children are huddled up in the back seat. They know something is wrong. They don’t say a word. What did you say? They said, “We didn’t get a balloon.” You see, when we first entered the park, they were selling these little twenty-five-cent balloons. I told them to wait until we leave, and they wouldn’t have to carry it all day long. I thought they would forget and I’d save a quarter. I said, “Kids,I want to tell you something. I have spent my whole day here. I’ve got to get up in four hours and be ready to preach. I spent over a hundred dollars out there. We’ve ridden the log roll; I’m soaking wet; we’ve ridden the tilt-a-whirl. I haven’t heard a single thank you. About that time, my wife woke up and leaned over and patted me on the leg and said, “Now, honey, you are tired.”
You know, I had been out there for fourteen hours. I had given up my Saturday, spent over a hundred dollars, spent quality time with those kids and there wasn’t one “thank you,” No, the only thing they said was “We didn’t get a balloon.”
I cooled off, got back on the road. My wife said, “Hon, they are just children. That’s the way they are.”
And there has been many a time when I have shaken my fist in the face of God and said, “Lord, I didn’t get a balloon.” And God has had to remind me of all the things He has given me. And I’ve spent a great deal of my life crying over some little balloon I didn’t get when I had forgotten all the good things God has given me. There are times when he has to force us to the blessing of remembrance.
Where would you be tonight if it weren’t for the grace of God? Huh? Where were you when God found you? Where would you be now if God hadn’t found you?
I think God tries to drive us to the blessing of reassurance. He goes on and says, “I will build my house, and I will make of thee a name. Out of thy loins shall come a son.” David wanted to leave behind a monument that the world will never forget, that will be an everlasting memorial of his devotion to God. He thought a magnificent temple would be the best thing.
Well, you know there were three temples built. Never had there been a temple like it, but it was destroyed. Then there was Zerubbabel’s temple, and it was destroyed. The last temple was Herod’s temple, and it was destroyed in 70 A.D. If you were to go to that place today, do you know what you would find on that temple site? A Moslem mosque. So much for everlasting monuments to God. You see, David said the best thing I can leave behind is a temple. God said no; there is something else better than that you can leave behind. One of them is called the book of Psalms, and there isn’t a dotting of the “i” nor a crossing of the “t” that has passed away from that. We are still blessed by it tonight. By the way, he left behind something else. I think it was called the seed of David—the Messiah.
Now, God has blessed me. I am amazed at how good God has been to me. Folks, he has given me every desire of my heart. If God were to give me a pencil and paper tonight and tell me to write down what I want, I don’t know what I could write down that I have not already received. Only one thing that I could think of that would make me happier than I am. I have a son who is in seminary, and like every parent I am proud of him. There is only one thing tonight that I would wish, and that is that God would honor him. I would rather have God honor him than God honor me. Isn’t that the way all parents are? We want to see them succeed even more than we do, to be blessed even more than we are blessed. And this is what God is saying to David. He said, “ David you can’t do it, but your son Solomon will do it.” That must have meant more to him than anything, especially after Absalom, don’t you imagine. And God drives us to the blessing of reassurance. He said, David, I want to build you a house. The trouble is that you are trying to build me a house but I want to build you a house.
What you need to remember when you can’t forget is that when God says no, it isn’t because He wants to deprive you of something; it’s because He has something better He wants to give you.
I wonder tonight if some of us haven’t grown bitter because of memories—somebody injured us, somebody did us wrong, somebody offended us. Even when we try to pray, our prayers are strangled in our throats because of a memory. Maybe we are still whining over some little balloon that God didn’t give us, and we need to be reminded of all the things that God has given us.
© Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2005