Telling God what to do

“And now, Lord God…Do as you promised.” 2 Samuel 7:25

The title to our meditation today is somewhat provocative. At least it is unusual, at worst it is heresy. Who are we, specs of dust on the face of eternity, to tell the Almighty what to do? There is something audacious about this idea. Yet, if you choose to read your Bible and examine the prayers in it you will find in various places that God’s people do exactly that. They tell God what to do.

In the context of our verse we find King David praying to God. David reminds God of some things that God had promised to him. For example God had told David that his throne would last forever. We know that through Christ who sits on David’s throne that the promise has now been fulfilled. But in David’s time none of this was known as historical fact. David came hundreds of years before Christ. All David could do was to live in faith that God would perform the promises He made.

However, David comes before God and speaks to God about the commitments God had made to Him and asks that the things would happen that God had indicated would occur. Now why should we remind God of His promises? Isn’t God as good as His word? Does God have a short memory? Is He apt to forget what to do if we do not constantly remind Him?

We know the answers to these questions. God is not absentminded and likely to forget an appointment. God is always as good as His word. We are absolutely certain that God is going to do everything HE says He will do. Prayer then seems pointless. At least in that part where we ask Him to do what He has promised.

There is good reason for God to require that we bring to Him the promises He has made and to ask Him for the fulfilment of them. It is not God who has the short memory but us. We too often forget the real source of our blessings. It is God who has made us with the ability to earn our daily living. He gives us the physical strength to get up each day and go to work. He is sovereign and has given us jobs to go to in order to work for our daily bread. This is why we pause and give thanks at each meal. Jesus taught us to pray and ask for our daily bread from God even when we have money in the bank and food in the kitchen.

If we did not come to our Creator and ask for what He has promised we might become proud in ourselves and think we are more than we actually are. Pride is a sin that alienates us from God. God knows the proud at arms length but comes near the humble. So if you desire the presence of God you need to be thankful to Him. There is humility in David’s prayer in this context. He wants to know who he is that God has made such great promises to him and his descendants.

When we receive the things we ask of God there is a rejoicing in God as our Provider. We are drawn out in worship and praise to Him for His blessing upon us. In v. 22 of our chapter we hear David calling God great and the Sovereign, and the only God that exists. So calling on God to be faithful to His promises is a source of blessing in itself.

The last thing to ponder here today is to ask ourselves what has God promised to me now and what has He promised me forever. Some misguided people think that we can create a list of what God has promised from memory or logic and we do not need to look at the Bible for answers. I recall hearing a speaker once ask the question of his audience, “God wants you to be happy doesn’t He?” I thought that was a good idea and it seemed logical. Then I started to try and recall any verses in the Bible that said God wanted us to be happy. None came to mind and I am not sure there are any. I do know where the Bible shows us how to have joy.

Jesus tells us we will have joy if we know and obey His commands John 15:9-11. We need to study and do the things Jesus taught in order to have joy. John 16:22 is where Jesus said His followers would have their grief turned to joy when they see Him. So there is joy in being a follower of Jesus but consider how it comes and do not be misguided into thinking that we may have joy simply by asking for it. Jesus tells us how to get it and it is not ours for the asking. We must work for it.

What promises do you know that you would like to bring to Jesus to have answered or fulfilled in your life? Do you go to a church that teaches the Bible clearly and shows you how to pray? Do you hear sermons that provide you with information on what God has promised for His followers in this life and the next? Do you read the Bible to see what God has promised?

If you cannot answer these questions readily may I suggest you start with the New Testament Gospel of John? There are great things there for you to discover. You will find a lot of information on how to pray and meet with God. Why not start today? Then you will learn how to tell God what to do.

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