So, What Does God Want?


King David said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” (2 Samuel 7:2)

Have you ever really thought something was a great idea and wanted to be sure to make it happen? Often, we get an idea in our head and can’t shake it. Our idea seems so good – who could be against it?

That’s the situation that King David finds himself in above. Jerusalem has been established as the capital of a united Israel. King David has a beautiful home – a true palace. Yet he is feeling a bit guilty about having such a wonderful place to live when the Ark of the Covenant that houses the presence of God is still being kept in a tent. Surely, Israel can offer something better for God to reside in.

God sets him straight. God has no interest in a house. Some time in the future, after David has died, God will use one of his descendants to build the temple. But not right now. David’s dream will have to die. God doesn’t want him to do it.

Being able to discern what God wants from our lives is not always easy. Like David, many of us have passionate ideas that we want to make happen. Often, like David, we also think that our idea will make God happy. David’s idea didn’t make God happy. How do we know ours will?

It is important to take to time to reflect on God’s desires for our lives. Paying attention to God routinely can help us when we need to pay attention most carefully. Listening to others offer their thoughts and guidance can help.

We will not always know for sure what God wants. We will get some things right and get others wrong. That’s why it is so good to be followers of Jesus. His actions led to the cross but also to the resurrection. In him our personal dreams may or may not find ratification. But we will, for sure, find that in Christ the will of God has been perfectly carried out. And that frees us up to listen to God and offer our best efforts. In the end, even more than discerning what our best choices are, faith tells us that God has chosen us – and that’s a decision we can always give thanks for.


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