Old Testament Passages Good for Every Christian to Know, Part 17

Old Testament Passages Good for Every Christian to Know, Part 17

Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know, Part 17

by Douglas Jacoby
We all face disappointment from time to time, so not surprisingly the Bible speaks to this. Unspiritual Cain's face fell when God accepted his brother's offering but not his own (Gen 4:5). The Rich Young Ruler walked away from Jesus, crestfallen, as he realized discipleship's implications for the pocketbook (Mark 10:22).

Even the good guys faced disappointment. Righteous Job experienced one loss after another (Job 1:13-2:8). Or consider those whom Jesus did not choose when he selected the Twelve (Mark 3:13). (How did no.13 feel?) And on the Emmaus road, two disciples, unaware that Jesus was walking beside them, lamented, "We had hoped that [Jesus] was the one who was going to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). (Soon their hearts would be afire with faith.)

One biblical character I admire for his handling of disappointment is David. The scriptural record is clear: David got a lot of things wrong—but he also got many things right. He had zealously made preparations for the temple. No longer would the ark of the covenant be sheltered in a tent (the Tabernacle). It was time to build the house of God. Yet God rejected his overtures, even though they were well intended. Notice his response:

David summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem... King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my fellow Israelites, my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.’...
     [Yahweh] said to me: ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws...’" (1 Chronicles 28:1-7).

David is not permitted to build the temple because he has shed so much blood. It will fall to his son Solomon to oversee the construction of what must have been one of the most beautiful buildings in the ancient world. What are the takeaways for us?

  • Disappointing situations. Sometimes we may stand deeply convicted that it is God's will for us to act in a certain way—when actually it isn't. (Right idea, wrong person.) Naturally, such times can be disappointing, and sometimes even humiliating, as when we are passed over for someone less experienced than us. 
  • Limitations stemming from our past. Killing (in battle) somehow tainted David; shedding blood is unholy. Past decisions affect present possibilities. Yes, in Christ we get a fresh start—yet that doesn't mean the clock is reset when it comes to consequences. We can do all things in Christ (Phil 4:13), but that doesn't mean "the sky's the limit." There are limits, and we all have limitations. 
  • Bouncing back. Despite crushing disappointment, David adjusts. His heart is flexible. More than that, he gets fully behind Yahweh's decision, giving Solomon strong moral support, detailed instructions, and encouragement (1 Chron 28:10; 28:11-19; 28:20-21). He also backs the building plan financially—even though he won't live to see the completion of the temple (29:2-5; 29:28).
  • Balance and grace. And David does all this in an exemplary and spiritual manner (29:10-20).

And remember that, because we live in a fallen world, we all have to deal with unfair decisions, unjust actions, and unscrupulous behavior that, through no fault of our own, can lead