‘When God Says No’


2 Samuel 5:22 And the Philistines came up yet again and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up…” ESV

“No” is not a word that we like to hear. This is not only a problem for little children, but for many of us as adults as well. Many has been the time when an adult has sat in my office and tried to convince me that that doing wrong would be right. “I have a peace about it” they often say to me. As they say this I wonder – “But where is this peace coming from? This peace can’t be coming from God when what you are doing something that is completely contrary to His Word? This false peace can only be coming from your determination to do your will.”

In today’s passage of scripture we see that God sometimes says “no” to our requests. Why would God say “no” to something that we desire? Perhaps what we are asking for is not according to His will. Perhaps He has something better in store for us. Perhaps He is able to see things that we can’t see and therefore He knows what would be best for us.

Such was the case with David. As we read 2 Samuel 5 we see that God saw things that David couldn’t see. The first time David asked about fighting the Philistines, the Lord told him to proceed according to his plan. (see 2 Samuel 5:18-21) But the second time David asked about fighting the Philistines, the Lord declined his request and instead gave him a better plan.

2 Samuel 5:23 And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. 24 And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 25And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer. ESV

David wanted to do as he had done the first time; yet the Lord changed his plans. Why did the Lord say no to David? Though there are many answers we could give to that question, I believe the primary reason for God changing David’s plans was to teach David that he must trust in God and not in some man-made method.

One of the great problems we have as believers is trusting in methods rather than trusting in God. Churches hear of another church that is growing and quickly they try to emulate their methods. Although there is nothing wrong with trying to learn from the success of others, we must remember that the power is ‘of God’ and not ‘the method.’ Scripture speaks of only one burning bush; one army that marched around a city and brought the walls down with a shout; one disciple that retrieved a coin from a fish’s mouth; and one army that sat and waited for the sound of the wind blowing in the tops of trees.

Dear friend, if God says ‘no’, it is always because He has something better.

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