How To Treat The Future

David, the famous giant slayer, was destined to become the greatest King of Israel, after King Saul had lost his claim to the throne. David was victorious in war, and wise in governance. The prophet Nathan was his faithful advisor, and admirer. When David announced that it was his heart’s desire to build a Temple for the Lord, Nathan approved, and encouraged David to undertake the task.

That very night, according to 2Samuel 7:1-17, God told Nathan to tell David that he would not be permitted to build the Temple. According to 1Chronicles 22:7-10, God refused permission, because David had shed much blood in war, and God wanted the Temple to be built by a man of a man whose name meant peace, Solomon.

However, in the account of 2Samuel, God promised to establish a dynasty of kings descended from David. That God rejected David’s treasured plan to build the Temple must have been a great disappointment to David. But, that is not the end of the story.

The Scripture says, “Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?    And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD!    Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it” (2Samuel 7:18 21).

What David desired was the short view. The promise he received from God was a long view, one which would extend far beyond his death. He could willingly surrender his material plan to build the Temple, in exchange for that great promise of God.

In contrast, Jesus told the story of a rich fool, whose goods were so plentiful that he could only be satisfied with building bigger barns, in which to store them. He thought, “I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20 21).

The shortsighted person, who ignores the spiritual future, is like the rich man, whom God defines as a “fool.” The person who accepts the long view, like David, can feel rewarded, even if his short-term goals are denied. God has promised His children an eternity of bliss that supremely surpasses the brief satisfaction that can be had from any earth-bound short-term goals they may desire.