Have I Asked You To Do This? (Advent 2017)

Guest post by Roger Hanggi

A meditation upon 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

In this passage, we hear a conversation between King David and the Lord, as moderated by the prophet Nathan. We know that David was not a perfect king. He had sinned as we all have in our lives. He repented and received God’s grace and forgiveness, as have we. God blessed David and his rule—materially, relationally, and spiritually—and David knew this. This is yet another similarity as we reflect on the greatness of God’s blessings and love in our lives during this season of Advent.

But there is one more similarity that we do not want to miss. David pondered the ways that the Lord had blessed him and revealed his heart’s desire when he observed, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” The king wanted to show his appreciation and give honor to God by building a fitting dwelling for the ark. It sounds like a great idea from a man that wanted to thank God! But in verses 4 to 7, God with wonderful gentleness seems to ask the question, “Have I asked you to do this for me?”

In my faith walk, when I take time to reflect on what God has been doing in my life, I am amazed, even overwhelmed, by the immensity of God’s love and provision. Too often, instead of just basking in holy grace, there is this voice that whispers inside of me, “You should do more to show your thanks.” I hate the word “should” because I have too often lived with a pattern of sensing a need and then quickly promising to act. The trouble is that this pattern can accumulate a great debt of promises I have made, and often my best intentions to do good become an immense burden I try to carry and too often result in failure and guilt.

As we prepare for Christmas, this is a time to reflect on all that God has done and will do in your life. This is an act of worship and appropriate gratitude. Then when God’s Spirit prompts you to act, do so with passion and joy. Make BIG promises as you trust God. But there may be times when God also asks the question, “Have I really asked you to do this for me?” Our greatest response is to allow God to shape both the plans for what we do, and also to teach us when action is not needed.

For Reflection:
  • Which do you think brings God greater delight—when you are busy doing things for God, or when you wait on the Lord and find yourself doing things with God?
  • Can you think of well-intentioned commitments you have made too quickly, and then discovered the immense burden of trying to honor these commitments by your own efforts? How could you respond next time?


About the Author

After more than 30 years in ministry, first as a pastor, then overseas in Cameroon, Roger and his wife Cherie serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators working to identify people groups that do not have the Bible in their heart language.