According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash “is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Anyone who has been rear-ended probably knows what this feels like. I think David knew what it felt like, but in the spiritual realm.

On Monday we wrote about the backstory of this psalm. We learn in 2 Samuel 7 that David shares with the prophet Nathan his dream and plan to build the LORD a house. In verse 3 Nathan says, “Go for it!” David goes to bed a happy man.

But then the unexpected happens. The word of the LORD comes to Nathan and says, “Not so fast. I’ve never asked for a house, and I’m not asking for one now. But here’s what I’m going to do for you, David. I’m going to make you a house and I’m going to make your name great and I am going to establish your throne forever.” Whiplash!

Obviously this news thrills David’s heart, and he spends time worshiping and praising the LORD for His unexpected and undeserved generosity. This is the David about whom Psalm 132 is written.

You know, I’m not sure what stands out as you read 2 Samuel 6-7 and Psalm 132, but let me share two things that strike me. The first is David’s flexibility. David goes to bed one night fully planning to build an amazing residence for the LORD, and by the time he goes to bed the next night he is no longer going to do that, but instead has received the promise of a lifetime, really. He wanted to make a big deal out of the LORD, but the LORD wants to make a big deal out of him. And while you may be thinking, “Where’s the flexibility in that?” I want to point out that he could have remained resolute in his commitment, despite learning all God is going to do for him. Sometimes we get it in our heads just how we are going to serve Him, and if His plans for us result in a redirection, not all of us are able to make that pivot. To some people it’s more important that they serve Him in their way than that they follow His way. This absence of flexibility can cause spiritual whiplash. One thing David teaches us is to remain open to the plan changing at any minute.

The second thing that strikes me is David’s perspective and understanding that there are great things behind God’s, “No.” Sometimes, when we hear a, “No,” we get so wrapped up in it that we don’t hear the, “But here’s what I’m going to do for you” part. Now to be fair, we don’t always get the, “Here’s what I’m going to do for you” part. It’s in those times when we don’t that this account becomes so powerful. What we learn from God’s interaction with David is that something good, something better than we could have dreamed of, is around the corner. God isn’t saying, “No,” to hurt us, He’s saying no because He has something better in mind. This account reminds us of that, and I believe God intends for us to use it to encourage ourselves when we need it.

Scott Smith
Connections and Growth Pastor

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