After reading the story of David desiring to build God a house in 2 Sam. 7 we realize that God doesn’t want our initiation but only our cooperation; He wants us to cooperate with Him.
God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him – He simply wants us to stop our opinions and ideas and let Him speak, come in, and command.
In case after case in the Old Testament we see how God was the One who initiated man’s service for Him, and all He wanted is man’s cooperation.
Noah found grace in the eyes of God, and God appeared to him and gave him specific instructions on how to make the ark to save himself and those around him from the coming judgement.
In serving God and working for God we need to first come to Him, open to Him, have His appearing, and receive His command and instructions; then, the work has to be carried out according to the Lord’s word.
Abraham served God and followed Him where He wanted him to go according to God’s appearing. When Jehovah appeared to him, Abraham obeyed and either moved or built an altar, consecrating all he is and has to God for His purpose.
But when Abraham did something to “help God” in the fulfillment of His purpose, he caused more damage than good – and even today there’s much suffering because of this.
Moses also served God according to God’s instruction to deliver the children of Israel and build the tabernacle – everything according to God’s pattern. We may be like Moses when he was 40 years of age, full of zeal and knowledge, ready to serve God and do something out of our own strength and natural power.
But God rejects such actions, for He wants us to pass through death and resurrection so that, in His time and in His way, He can use us. May we be those who learn to serve the Lord not by initiating the work but by coming to Him and depending on Him to cooperate with Him.
Even though we may have to do the same action hundred of times, we still need to depend on the Lord, seek His face, and wait upon Him. If we are careless or rash in our service to God, we may damage God’s work and His people. May we be those who learn to serve the Lord in His way according to His desire!
Serving God by Stopping ourselves, Loving God, and Waiting for His Command as David did
David was a man after God’s heart, and he was zealous to build a temple for God (2 Sam. 7:1-3); however, God rejected David’s good intention! God sent Nathan the prophet to David to ask, Is it you who will build Me a house for Me to dwell in? (2 Sam. 7:5) It’s almost as if God replied by saying, Are you sure about this? You think it’s a good idea, but I think it’s not!
David’s heart was for the Lord to have a resting place; he even said the he would not give slumber to his eyelids unto God has a house. Our heart to serve God is acceptable, but our decision to do something for Him is not acceptable.
God has monopoly on the matter of decision; He wants us to love Him, fear Him, and desire to serve Him, but He doesn’t want us to decide anything on His behalf. Some believers think that, as long as they have a heart for the Lord and the necessary money, they can do whatever their heart for the Lord tells them.
But David feared God, and, although he had the opportunity, saw the need, and had the ability to build God’s temple, he stopped at God’s command.
We need to realize that God is the One who decides, and we love Him and want to serve Him, so we need to stop ourselves when His command comes.
We need to be like the slave in Exo. 21:6 who love his master and allows Him to bore his ears through with an awl to the doorpost; we need to focus our attention and love on our Master, and let Him speak to us and initiate everything.
We should love God and wait for His command; we should seek God’s will and wait for His revelation. We should not initiate anything but rather seek the Lord, stop ourselves with our opinions and desires, wait on Him, and receive His word.
Because David feared God, he didn’t react to Nathan but rather stopped; this act of stopping in building the temple is a great matter.
It is a great lesson for us before the Lord to stop, for when we stop, we allow God to carry out His work in His way, in His timing, and in His manner, for Him to gain all the glory.
M. E. Barber once said, Whoever cannot stop working for the sake of God cannot work for the sake of God. This is so true. God wants a house, but He doesn’t need us to initiate anything – He simply wants us to love Him, seek Him, stop ourselves, wait for His command and instructions, and let Him do the work.
The fact that David stopped when God told him to establishes a twofold testimony in the universe: all work in the universe should come from God (not from man), and all that matters is what God does for man (not what man can do for God).
David wanted to build a temple for God to dwell in, but God said that He will build a house for David, from which a kingdom will come forth. Only after God has built something into us can we build something in God and for God.
We need to realize that all the work for God in the universe comes from God, and all that matters is not what we do for God but what God does for us.
We need to check with ourselves: oftentimes we are so busy in the work of the Lord, doing things in our own strength, seeking to have a little recognition, and using our ways and means….We need to “press the reset button” and just come to the Lord to tell Him,
Lord Jesus, we love You, and we simply want to cooperate with You for Your building. Instill in us a healthy fear of God so that we would not initiate anything in God’s work but rather seek God, wait for His command and revelation, and stop ourselves. Lord, we acknowledge that only You are the One who can initiate any work for God, and only what You do in us matters – not what we can do for You. Build Yourself into us, Lord, so that we may be one with You to cooperate with You for Your building work.
God only wants our Cooperation: we must Stop our Opinions, let Him Speak and Command
We all can identify ourselves with David, who both loved God to the uttermost and had some terrible failures – and some good repenting with receiving forgiveness from God.
David wanted to build God a house, but God stopped him – and David obeyed God; however, even after God spoke this word to David, he fell twice – with Bathsheba and with the numbering of the people.
First, he murdered Uriah (one of his soldiers) and usurped his wife Bathsheba; after David sinned, he repented at the Lord’s word, and God gave him a son, Solomon, who would be the builder of God’s temple (2 Sam. 11:2-17, 26-27).
Second, he numbered the children of Israel, thus showing his hidden pride by putting his faith in numbers of warriors rather than in God (2 Sam. 24:1-10, 18-25). After David was chastised for numbering the people, he offered sacrifices on a piece of land, as instructed by God; this piece of land later became the site for the building of the temple (see 1 Chron. 21:1; 2 Chron. 3:1).
David loved God and wanted to build a house for God, but he also sinned; however, God came in, and upon David’s repentance in both cases, God used his failures for the building of the temple.
David’s repentance for his sin with Bathsheba married God’s forgiveness and produced Solomon, the builder of God’s temple. David’s repentance and obedience for his sin of hidden pride in numbers married God’s forgiveness and produced the location for God’s temple.
This doesn’t mean that “we should do evil so that good may come”; rather, we should learn to stop ourselves, contact God, listen to Him, and allow God to carry out His desire in us.
We must learn deep within that God wants only our cooperation – He doesn’t need us to do anything for Him; He wants us to cooperate with Him. We must stop all our opinions, our decisions, and our ideas, and contact the Lord, let Him speak, let Him come in, and let Him command.
We need to learn not to initiate but only to cooperate with Him. In our service to the Lord, He doesn’t need our initiation, but He desperately needs our cooperation.
In Matt. 17, after Peter saw the great vision of Christ being the Son of the living God, he was on the mountain with Jesus and the other disciples, and Moses and Elijah were also there; so Peter suggested that they build three tabernacles – one of Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them and a voice said, This is My beloved Son, hear Him (Matt. 17:5).
God doesn’t want our suggestions, our initiation, or our doing for Him; He wants us to hear Christ, enjoy Christ, listen to Christ, pay attention to Christ, and let Him work Himself into us and through us to build up His church.
As we start to serve God, we need to hear Christ; as we are advancing in our service, we need to keep hearing Him; when we arrive at the destination, we still need to hear Him. This is the work of God.
Lord Jesus, cause us to learn deep within that God wants only our cooperation and not our initiation or suggestion in our work for Him. Save us from initiating or starting to do something for You. Lord, may we all learn to stop our opinions, decisions, and ideas, and let Christ speak, let Christ come in, and let Christ command. Oh Lord, we only want to hear You, pay attention to You, enjoy You, listen to You, and be one with You to cooperate with You for the building up of the church!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Minoru Chen for this week, and portions from, Knowing Life and the Church, chs. 16-17 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 3 (week 3), The Need for All Our Service to Be Initiated by God.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Recall how David swore, / “I’ll not come into my house, / Nor go up to my bed, / Give slumber to mine eyelids, / Until I find a place for Thee, / A place, O Lord, for Thee.” / Our mighty God desires a home / Where all His own may come. (Hymns #1248)
# For Your hand stopping I’d almost implore, / When I feel I cannot take any more. / Yet You are God! Oh, how can You give way? / Please, Lord, do not give in; wait ’till I obey. (Song on, God, You are now rearranging my way)
# Not where we elect to go, / But where Jesus leads the way, / There the living waters flow, / There our darkness turns to day. / Not our self-appointed task / Will the Lord’s approval win, / But the work we did not ask, / Finished humbly, just for Him. (Hymns #907)
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