The first prayer I studied on Defy Augury was the one of King Solomon, in which he dedicates his newly-built temple. In that series, we discussed everything from the king’s humility to his sincerity, from Solomon’s desperation even to his very posture while praying. Yet we never delved into the history of the temple—how came Solomon the anointed one to build it? It’s a more than worthy inquiry, and it deserves a sufficient answer.
The short answer is that “God said so,” but He didn’t say it to King Solomon first. Instead, God sent a message to David through Nathan. The first half of Second Samuel 7 is God’s portion of the conversation; in it, He asks David for a special house (He is omnipresent, but this house would be dedicated especially to Him). But more than that, He specifically designates Solomon as the builder of the temple.
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son.” ~Second Samuel 7:12-14a (NKJV)
After God speaks, David answers, completely aware of the immeasurable and undeserved honor God has just bestowed on him through his son. His resulting prayer is one of the most beautiful and accepting of God’s will in the Old Testament, and it is for this reason I’ve chosen to bring it to my humble little blog and share my thoughts on it with you all.
Scripture for the Day: Second Samuel 7:18-20 (NKJV)
“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: ‘Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant.”
The bulk of today’s three verses is comprised of a private Q&A David has with God—and himself. That is, King David knows the answers to his questions, but he addresses his inquiries to God, as if saying, “Oh, Lord, I’m horribly confused. Can you help me piece together what I already know in order to help me understand You better? How can You be so good to me?” After asking these things, David answers his own questions and is overcome by God’s love and mysterious yet true and divine ways.
The Paradox of Worth:
“Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?”
When we talk of worth in the Christian life, we discuss something that can be potentially confusing—probably because the Bible’s words on these issues seem to run contrary to each other. How can one person be a depraved sinner and a glorious saint? Aren’t they antithetical? Normally we would say so, but God can work around this antithesis. When God comes in to cleanse us, when one asks Him in a manner similar to David, “Who am I?,” when we confess our sin and acknowledge Him as the only One to live for, He doesn’t change our sin nature, but He does change (1) our passions, (2) our character, and (3) our future. As a result, though our insides are not changed, God robes us on the outside with His Son’s glorious blood. Though we of ourselves are worth nothing, Jesus is worth all. Though we are not holy, God sees the holiness of His Son, and we are thus made worthy of spending time in His holiness. Sin—and the worthlessness that results in its execution— never defines His child again. Our flesh is worth nothing, but our adherence to the Father is worth everything.
The Contrary Ways of God:
“And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD?”
David is not only awestruck of God’s ways because they are holy and beautiful. He realizes that God’s ways are such because they run contrary to the ways of man. In other words, David’s question “Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD?” is rhetorical and already negated in David’s heart—and he’s already seen God act completely contrary to what one would normally expect. After all, David was a shepherd boy before he became king, with no auspicious genealogy to his knowledge until the revelation from God. A normal man would look to a mightier tribe of Israel for a king and look down upon David, yet God saw his heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and raised him up—not just in his own lifetime but forever (2 Samuel 7:16). In these instances—and the same goes for all the others in which God works—man can only look up and say, “I can never explain this, but something tells me that there is a God who can. He’s the only one who could have orchestrated this, because I am sinful.” As such, we ought to be thankful for His holiness and His superiority to man.
God’s Intimate Knowledge of David:
“Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant.”
One of the sweetest sides of David’s character, I think, is that although he knows the omniscience of God, he doesn’t use that knowledge as an excuse not to talk to Him. Instead, he shows his dedication in the relationship he has with his Savior by continually coming to Him with his worries. The “cast all your cares” principle was implemented even before Peter recommended it for the growth of the church (First Peter 5:6-8)—and David does it in the best way possible by praising God all throughout the first few verses of his prayer.
“Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.” ~Psalm 143:10-11, NKJV
Thank you for joining me in this study of King David’s prayer! Next week I’ll be discussing verses 21-24, which talks about God’s greatness and His people Israel. I strongly encourage you to read that passage before Wednesday of next week so you and I can be on the same page. See you then!
June 9, 2018