My life has many instances of me running ahead of God. Now there are many times that we run from God. There are times that I have run from God. Then there are times that I have run ahead of God. Both running away from and ahead of God has a similar root issue. Me wanting to do life my way!
Our congregation has been moving through the Old Testament book of 1 Kings. We are currently working through King Solomon’s reign. I was interested to note the potential in all of our lives to run from God. It is in the context of 1 Kings 5 that we are reminded of King David’s desire to run ahead of God in building a “house for God.”
It has often been said that, “We sacrifice what is best on the altar of what is good.” Take a moment and think about that statement. It reminds us that we allow good things, generally speaking, to distract us from what is best. I am reminded of this truth in King David’s life and his desire to build a permanent temple for the Lord. David, known as a man after God’s own heart, was burdened that the Creator was not receiving the recognition He deserved. David was bothered that God’s place was temporary, literally a tent. So David’s solution was to build a temple for the Lord. This is a wonderful desire, with the support of the Prophet Nathan but there is a problem. It was not God’s will for David at this time.
Let’s begin by looking at why we run ahead of God and fail to discern His leading from 2 Samuel 7. It is in this passage that we see the King’s godly heart. Now it is always easier to discern when we are running away from God than it is to realize that we are running ahead. Both situations find their root cause in putting our desires before God’s desires in our lives. Running ahead of God is more challenging to discern because we are often attempting something good for God, at least from our perspective. We do this by putting ourselves into a role that God does not intend us to fill and/or by getting ahead of God’s timing. King David did both. The 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Kings 5 passages remind us that King Solomon was the one God had appointed to build the temple.
Here are a couple practical helps for getting ahead of the Lord. First, make sure that we are “walking with the Lord.” It is easy to elevate our ideas to God’s when our Christianity is going through the motions. All of us have those times that our hearts are not walking with the Lord although we are going through the motions. The solution here is to prioritize our regular time with the Lord.
Second, seek out Godly counsel. It is easy for us to rationalize what we want. This is, when we tell ourselves “rational-lies.” A godly sounding board can often help us to discern our self-focused bias. Now, as we see in David’s situation by Nathan’s support that this is not fool proof.
Third, give God time to lead us. I have learned that snap decisions, almost always lead me down the wrong path. It is good to let that “great idea” for the Lord cure with time and prayer. If it is God’s will He will bring it up again and if not then maybe it is not His will or timing.
And last, if your heart is right, trust God to intervene and override the process. It is easy to fall into the trap of not taking any risks for the Lord. I am thankful that, just as in David’s situation, the Lord has stepped in to redirect me because I had missed God’s will or timing in my life. So I ask, “Am I letting God lead me?”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson