Love Came Down with Greatness

2014-08-22 18.12.23King 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.

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.

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—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people 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.

“Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.For You, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’’ Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You.And now, O Lord God, 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.” ( 2 Samuel 7: 8-29)

Despite bloody battles, betrayals and broken families, King David prayed to God with love and deep reverence.

As king of Israel, David could have sought God solely as Israel’s Man. For further conquest, David could have solicited battle strategies from the Lord to enlarge his already substantial kingdom. With all the wounds of the past, David could have petitioned God for justice, bemoaning the disappointments he had endured in his ascent to the throne, recounting the decade of life on the run as he suffered the false brand as traitor, homeless and hunted for years.

Instead this king wanted to build a home for God.lake

From a logical standpoint, David had plenty of reasons to hold back his trust. God commissioned Samuel to anoint David and then his huge success on the battlefield set David up for Saul’s jealous manhunt.  David slayed the enemies of Israel and then lost his marriage to Michael as Saul handed her over to another man, like the old Western where the bad guy kidnaps the wife to force John Wayne’s hand.  As David practiced Mission Impossible raids throughout Philistia, leaving none behind, he returned to Ziglag to find his own family kidnapped by raiding Amalekites.  In local time, God gave David a man like Joab, who murdered his allies and messed with his kids and still remained in leadership. David endured plenty in his preparation for royalty.  Often his obedience brought pain more than reward.

Given his story, how did David keep trusting God?

Consider David’s prayer:

Lord God, thanks for bringing me this far. Who am I, that You would do so much?

God, You brought this nation into being. Thank you for blessing this house.

God, I know You did all this so that I could know your heart and know your Word.I have found that nothing is too hard for You.

Who are we, Israel, that you would come down so intentionally, and pay whatever the price necessary for our freedom, not just from Egypt but from the nations, from the filth of the gods of these nations?

I am full of wonder with what You have planned and created and set in motion for this nation and my family, God. You got us this far, Lord, and in Your Greatness, please bless us. We know we are unable to do any of this except for You.

sunsetThe whole world will have one firm undeniable case, as You establish my lineage forever, that You are God, You are true and Your Word counts, Lord God.

With Your blessing, my house will continue forever, so please Lord, bless my house. I am counting on wonderful You, Lord.

In his capacity as king, David prayed with a Big Picture perspective of the greatness of God. With a national historic viewpoint, David’personal losses were irrelevant since it was God’s greatness throughout Israel’s history that framed David’s grid. In recounting the vast testimonies of God’s blessing and intervention throughout the history of Israel, David acknowledged God with royal deference and just kept worshiping.

Worship is a choice of the heart that begins with the will.  As David acknowledged the glory and greatness of God more than his current circumstances, sorrows or fears, he was moved with wonder over God’s beauty, His majesty and brilliance, and with determined intention, David kept surrendering his heart to the will of God. As Samuel had prophesied, “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people.” 1 Sam 13;14

Sometimes, in times of confusion, grief, disappointment and sorrows, we may find ourselves praying a litany of accusations to God rather than reflecting on His goodness. Questions like “Why, Lord?” and “Are you there, Lord?”” shout loud. Have you ever rebuked God for how He handled a situation, for not doing things the way you expected, for allowing pain when you expected reward? Welcome to Club Idol.

Club Idol is a dangerous place.  The steps are often greased with anger. As you slide down the steps and duck into the dimly lit corner pub, you are often wearing heavy shrouds of self-righteousness as you convince yourself you would be a much better god.  At the bar, you find folks who agree with you, as you discuss how God could have handled things much better and as you swap stories of injustice, loss, betrayal, you may notice the drinks taste bitter.  The longer you linger there, the blinder you become, as the heart shifts away from worship into iniquitous vanity, control, and pride.  Finally, like the alcoholic ignoring their kids’ plea to come home, your will escorts the last of His Lordship to the door, certain He doesn’t have rights to your life.  In pain and sin, you order another round, telling God that you will handle things from here, thank you very much.  Nursing the gall, the bartender keeps reminding you of all the ways God could have done it better, and slowly the poison of bitterness numbs and convinces you He just doesn’t care.  As the karaoke music starts up, you stumble to the stage, hearing the cheers of the disgruntled and dissatisfied. The cheap thrill in a two-bit bar blinds you and when you finally emerge into the fresh air, even sunlight hurts your eyes.

David could have gone there when caves and deserts were his only choice.  He could have nursed bitterness and anger when his son died despite David’s repentance, prayers, fasting.  David could have ordered a round of disdain for all the palace when news of Amnon’s rape of Tamar hit the halls.  David could have stumbled into iniquity when Absalom murdered his son, Amnon.  At the edge of the Jordan, when Absalom had raped David’s concubines before the public, David could have taken matters into his own hands, to rule by will instead of worship, to live as god instead of  God’s servant.  Instead, David remembered the greatness of His God and kept asking for direction.  God was large and in charge, in David’s life, and that left David small and beautiful, blessed and dangerous to the kingdom of darkness.

dawn portDavid, the one who feared God, lived as a righteous king.  He bypassed self-idolatry and purchased fear of the Lord with a life devoted to worship. David always remembered Who he was praying to and the glory, the privilege of being in the presence of this merciful glorious King never got old.  O, that we could learn from this man’s life, and stay in reverence before our mighty God!

Let’s pray:  O Lord God Almighty, as we consider Your greatness and Your mercy in David’s life, in the Bible, and in our lives, we bow in reverence of Your constant goodness.  Your Holiness silences any complaint. As we reach for You, Lord God, because of Christ’s reconciling work of the cross, forgive us for every time we have approached You without due reverence and awe. Keep us far from self-idolatry.  Keep us far from self-righteous religious mindsets.  May we worship You by Your Spirit in truth this day. Amen.

This Week’s Reading: 2 Samuel 4 -14

Next Week’s Reading:2 Samuel 15-25

Study Questions:

1. Is there a place for anger when things do not unfold the way we expect?  How can we stay real with God and stay in reverence too?

2. How did David keep his heart steady before God?  How do you?

3. David had a big picture perspective on God in history.  How does looking at history enhance your worship of God?

4. Sometimes we make idols of ourselves, our own opinions, our own ideas.  When life brings loss and failure, often closing our heart to God can lead us into great sorrows. Have you ever asked God to forgive you when you fired Him and hired yourself as a ‘better’ God?  Ask someone to help you with this experience.  It’s sure to bring great freedom to your life.

5. When have you worshipped God through difficult circumstances?  What was the outcome? How was that different from closing off from God and staying distant in disappointment?  Which is your default?