Sometimes God’s Guidance Isn’t So Clear

Sometimes God’s Guidance Isn’t So Clear

Kathy Collard MillerBy Kathy Collard Miller5 Minutes

Adapted from God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller


It came about the same night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell David My servant, ‘Thus says the Lord, “You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in; for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from one dwelling place to another. In all places where I have walked with all Israel, have I spoken a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built for Me a house of cedar?’”’ — 1 Chronicles 17:3-6 (NASB)

At this time the ark of the covenant which houses God’s presence is sitting in a tent. King David is upset the ark doesn’t have a “home” befitting God’s glory. David expresses to the prophet Nathan his desire to build a temple for God’s dwelling. Nathan replies, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”

Nathan makes a snap response before consulting God. That night, the word of the Lord comes to Nathan instructing him to ask David the question we have in today’s devotional. We don’t hear Nathan say anything like, “I’m so sorry, but I made a mistake. You’re not supposed to build a house or temple for God.” We don’t know why God didn’t correct Nathan, but Nathan did follow God’s direction to change David’s desires to be in alignment with God’s own creative ideas.

Sometimes hearing God’s direction and will is just as confusing. We think we know his direction based on logic and reason. We might also receive guidance from a very godly person, but we are still responsible for our own choices.

King David believes God wants a temple for his holy residence. After all, for many years the Lord God Almighty has been using the tent made by human hands. Who would want that? King David is convinced God longs for and deserves a magnificent temple.

True, but God wants David’s son, Solomon, to build it. God is indeed creative, but at times he throws us a curve ball with his plan.

God says to David, “Not yet and not you. You will not build the temple, but you will have the privilege of preparing the plans for someone else to do it.”

Sometimes God has to ask a question because, although the direction seems clear from our human and logical perspective, we aren’t fulfilling God’s plan in the way and method he wants.

We may even think we hear God’s message, but we are mistaken. When God asks, “Did I say?” his question may not necessarily be a rebuke but a course correction.

In the mid-1970’s, I was filled with rage primarily against my husband, Larry and I displaced my anger onto our toddler daughter in physically abusive ways. I prayed again and again for an instantaneous deliverance, which I believed God would want to do to give himself more glory.

When God didn’t give me instant victory, I concluded he had given up on me, and there was no hope.

But in time he revealed the victory would be a process empowering me to learn his biblical principles for a future ministry of teaching parenting classes and writing books (which I had no idea was coming). In effect, God said, “Did I say you would be delivered instantaneously? No, but I do have a plan different than what you think. I am more creative than you can imagine.”


Amazing God, thank you for opening my eyes when you have a different plan than I originally envisioned. In Jesus’ name, amen.