ISRAEL'S HISTORY: ANCIENT

David’s Humility

David’s Humility
By Charles E. McCracken
GROW February 2

 

TODAY’S TEXT: 2 SAMUEL 7:18-28

For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant. For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O Lord GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 2 SAMUEL 7:20-22

 

David’s strategic plan envisioned the building of a temple to Jehovah in Jerusalem. God confirmed Jerusalem would indeed become the spiritual center of Israel, but David would not build the temple. Instead, God guaranteed David a perpetual posterity, an everlasting kingdom and an eternal throne. David’s response is an amazing demonstration of his true character.

After David left Nathan the prophet we are told, [t]hen King David went in and sat before the LORD (2 Sam. 7:18). David had prepared a temporary tent-like pavilion to house the Ark until the temple he envisioned could be built. (1)

Frederick_Leighton_-_David_2t

David, 1865. By Lord Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons ~ Enhancement: MKM Portfolios

He entered the tent alone and the grammar suggests he sat in silence. Undoubtedly pondering Nathan’s message and the implications, David sat in contemplative stillness.

The fact that God had chosen him was ingrained into his psyche. He had not forgotten his humble beginnings as a shepherd, nor were his royal surroundings taken for granted. David owed it all to God—God led him; God subdued his enemies; and, God established his reputation (2 Sam. 7:9). Now, according to Nathan, David wasn’t going to build God a house of worship; God was building David’s “house”—an eternal dynasty.

There is no indication how long he sat mute; but, when he finally spoke, his words convey profound humility, gratitude and faith. David humbly asked, Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? (2 Sam. 7:18).

David understood that the seemingly insurmountable barriers preventing a shepherd from assuming the throne were minutiae from God’s perspective. To be king would have been enough for David, but God revealed He was planning something even more amazing that would span millennia.

Recognizing God had chosen him as the progenitor of the familial line leading to Messiah, David asked, Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? (v. 19). The English Standard Version (ESV) renders the Hebrew translation as, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD! (Heb. יְהוִֽה׃ אֲדֹנָ֥י הָאָדָ֖ם תּוֹרַ֥ת וְזֹ֛את). David was not questioning God’s wisdom or purpose, but rather underscoring God’s favor as being contrary to what is deserved.

Acutely aware of God’s grace, David modestly concluded, Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant (v. 20).

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View from King David’s Palace, Elef Millim – City of David – JERUSALEM. Image courtesy, Ovedc [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons ~ Enhancement: MKM Portfolios

With fervent gratitude, he acknowledged, You are great, O Lord GOD, for there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears (v.22).

David was not only awestruck by the personal implications of God’s promises, but also by the ramifications of the covenant to the nation of Israel.

God decisively proclaimed his words through Nathan the prophet:

Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore (2 Sam. 7:10).

David understood that Israel’s future was intertwined with his own. The Davidic Covenant reaffirms and underscores Israel’s right to the land God promised the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in perpetuity forever (Gen. 15:18; 17:7-8; Jer. 7:7-8; 25:5). It will be literally fulfilled in the still future Messianic Kingdom.

Stressing God’s grace on behalf of His people Israel, David exclaimed,

And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name . . . whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God (2 Sam. 7:23).

No other nation has experienced anything like it. Israel is unique.

It was not Israel’s merit that gained this unprecedented favor, but God’s sovereign grace.

David ended his prayer with a powerful declaration of faith. His words are simple, yet eloquent and profound:

You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord GOD, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever (vv. 28-29).

David not only affirmed God’s promises by faith; he petitioned God to keep His promises!
His words translated “let it please you” form an imperative. Not an impertinent demand, it was a wholehearted affirmation of faith in God soliciting everything He promised.

David spoke to God from the heart with humility, gratitude and faith—virtues truly befitting the king of Israel.

Whatever preparations you have made for your life’s journey, while important, are nothing compared to God’s plan for you.

Take time to reflect on God’s abundant blessing. If you’re not in the habit of recording what He has done for you, start journaling His goodness today. That exercise can be a powerful motivator empowering you to express gratitude—which will in turn increase your faith—fostering a humble spirit in light of God’s awesome power.

ENDNOTES:
1) While we can make inferences from Scripture, there is no clear biblical explanation for the sustained location of the tabernacle in Gibeon; it remained there until the completion of the temple. For further study, see 1 Chron. 16:39-40; 21:29.

© Charles E. McCracken 2016, text content only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author.