There are some decisions I have made or conversations that I have had, that I changed my mind about after a night's rest. In the moment of the conversation or decision, I may have thought that was the best position to take, but when the sun rose the next morning, I felt completely different about what I had said just the day before. Sometimes, the new perspective is because of prayer, or maybe I was too tired to make the decision or have the conversation in the first place. Sometimes I needed the space to more fully process another's perspective or a few new details came up after the fact. Either way, the bottom line is that there are times when I have second thoughts about people, places, situations, dilemmas, or consequences. What about you? If I need to have the grace to consider second thoughts, I am sure many of you have needed to receive or be extended that same grace. Sometimes we all need to just rest before we give a final word on a matter.
I believe we see that here in our text for today. Basically, after a night's rest, the prophet comes back to the king with a second thought.
When the king was settled in his palace, and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look! I’m living in a cedar palace, but God’s chest is housed in a tent!” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you.” 4 But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: 5 Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in." (2 Samuel 7:1-5)
King David desires to do what seems like a highly reverential act of honor and worship for God. He lives in a palace and he wants to build a temple "palace" for God. On the surface there seems to be nothing wrong with that. It seems like a nice thing to do and Prophet Nathan's first response is YES! Go for it, David! "Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you." The King and the Prophet were in agreement. They both thought a temple for God was a great idea AND the Prophet even went on to say that the presence of the Lord affirmed the idea.
Sometimes we do think that the Lord has affirmed a certain direction for us to go and we even get the "OK" from spiritual friends, mentors, leaders, trusted advisers. That's what King David did. Building a temple was supposedly a good thing, a positive thing, a place to worship God could not be "wrong." What exactly could be wrong with that? The Prophet gave the King two thumbs up and both were probably proud and a little excited to move forward. We have all been there! But then, like the Prophet, we walk away from that moment, probably not even thinking twice, because given what we knew, the decision we made would be the best course of action.
However, good ideas are not always GOD ideas. And on that second thought, is when we can get additional confirmation or a completely new revelation. The Prophet Nathan received a completely new revelation. "But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: 5 Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in."
Friends, I know that people harp on following their first mind, but sometimes, it is the second thought that we need to really pay attention to as illustrated in this text. And when our second thought is different from what we might have believed the Lord affirmed in the first place, we must humbly and graciously acknowledge that we now stand in a different place. That is OK. It really is OK. It's a different day. Even the Prophet had to go back on his original opinion. So, today I pray that you would listen for the second thought that comes AFTER your initial reaction. I pray that you would have the courage to change your mind and let whomever needs to know, know. I pray that you would embrace those second thoughts even if they are different from your first one. I pray that as good as your idea for ministry or helping out your neighbor or building God's Kingdom is, that you would be careful to ensure that it is a GOD idea and you might not know that until you have a good night's rest and a second thought.
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!