2 Samuel 7:8-17
Now therefore so shall you say to my servant David, Thus said the LORD of hosts, I took you from the sheepcote…
I. A CONCEPTION OF A NOBLE PURPOSE. It was a great thought that came to David. It was in part suggested by the exigencies of the situation. After the ark had come to its new home, Asaph and others had been appointed to celebrate, and thank, and praise the Lord, and minister before Him (1 Chronicles 16:4-37); and it is supposed that, at this period, the twenty-four courses of priests were appointed, an arrangement which lasted to the time of our Lord. It is thus, especially in young life, that great conceptions visit the soul; ideals of surpassing beauty cast a light forward upon the future; resolves of service for God and man brace the soul as the air from the glaciers does the dwellers in the plains; and all life assumes a nobler aspect, and is set to a higher key. Secretly that lad resolves to be a preacher, missionary, or philanthropist; and that girl, to be queen in an ideal home, or to go far hence to the zenanas of India. "I will do this great thing for God," the young heart says to itself, altogether heedless of sacrifice, tears, blood. The bugle-notes of lofty purpose ring out gladly, summoning the soul to noble exploit; and it is saved from the low levels which satisfy others by the immortal hope that has already gone forward to occupy the future. Young people, never surrender your ideal, nor act unworthily of it, nor disobey the heavenly vision. Above all, when you come to the house of cedar, and God has given you rest, be more than ever careful to gird yourselves, and arise to realize the purpose that visited you when you kept your father's sheep.
II. THE IDEAL IS NOT ALWAYS REALIZED. There is no definite "No" spoken by God's gentle lips. He presses His promises and blessings upon us, and leads us forward in a golden haze of love, which conceals this negative. The plant is conscious of a great possibility throbbing within it; but somehow the days pass, and it does not come to a flower. The picture which is to gain immortality is always to be painted; the book which is to elucidate the problem of the ages is always to be written; the immortal song is always to be sung. The young man is kept at his desk in the counting-house instead of going to the pulpit; the girl becomes a withered woman, cherishing a faded flower; the king hands on to his son the building of the house.
III. GOD EXPLAINS HIS REASONS AFTERWARDS. What we know not now, we shall know hereafter. The blood-stained hand might not raise the temple of peace. It would have wounded David needlessly to have been told this at the time. It was enough to wrap up the Divine "No" in a promise of infinite blessing; but, as the years passed, the reason for God's refusal grew clear and distinct before him. Meanwhile, David possessed his soul in patience, and said to himself: God has a reason, I cannot understand it; but it is well.
IV. AN UNREALIZED CONCEPTION MAY YET BE FRAUGHT WITH IMMENSE BLESSING. Solomon completes the story. David was a better man because he had given expression to the noble purpose. Its gleam left a permanent glow on his life. The rejected candidate to the missionary society stands upon a higher moral platform than those who were never touched by the glow of missionary enthusiasm. For a woman to have loved passionately, even though the dark waters may have engulfed her love before it was consummated, leaves her ever after richer, deeper, than if she had never loved, nor been loved in return. God will credit us with what we would have been if we might. In the glory David will find himself credited with the building of the temple on Mount Zion.
V. DO THE NEXT THING. The energy which David would have expended in building the temple wrought itself out in gathering the materials for its construction. If you cannot have what you hoped, do not sit down in despair and allow the energies of your life to run to waste; but arise, and gird yourself to help others to achieve. If you may not build, you may gather materials for him that shall. If you may not go down the mine, you can hold the ropes. There is a fact in nature known as the law of the conservation of force. The force of the accumulating velocity of the falling stone passes into heat, of which some is retained by the stone, the rest passes into the atmosphere. No true ideals are fruitless; somehow they help the world of men. No tears are wept, no prayers uttered, no conceptions honestly entertained in vain.
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: