We noted in the last lesson that 2 Samuel 7 is the theological hub for the book. In fact, we can reasonably argue that 2 Samuel 7 is the theological hub for all the scriptures. David has a desire to build a house for the Lord. But the Lord turns this around and tells David that he will build a house for David. God’s promise will extend past the life of David. The Lord will establish the kingdom of David’s offspring. The Lord will be a father to David’s offspring. When David’s offspring sins, the promise will not be removed. The promise will not depend on the righteousness of the people but on the righteousness of God. We noted the many ways that this promise would be fulfilled in Solomon and in the future of kings of Judah. But all of these kings failed at accomplishing God’s purposes. One of David’s offspring perfectly fulfilled God’s will and these promises were fulfilled in an even greater way. In Jesus, the kingdom of the Lord was powerfully established and destroys all the enemies that come against it. In Jesus, we see him building a house for the Lord in that he is the means by which all the world will come to the Father. In Jesus, we see him to be the true Son of God. When we see Jesus, we see the Father. In Jesus, he lives a perfect life and does not sin so that all the promises are shown to be valid and guaranteed through him. Finally, we saw in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 that these promises also trickle down to us as the offspring of Abraham and the offspring of David through our connection to Jesus. We are children of God and God is our Father. We are the temple of the living God and we are being built up into a spiritual house for the Lord (1 Peter 2:5). When we sin, our hope is not lost but God remains faithful to his promises. In short, 2 Samuel 7 is critical to the New Testament and to all of scriptures. This promise is the hope for all the world. We left off in our study in the middle of 2 Samuel 7 for the sake of time. Now we need to see how David will respond to what God has promised him through the prophet Nathan.
Who Am I? (7:18-21)
David is going to respond in prayer with a number of different praises for the Lord. Notice in verse 18 that the king went in and sat in the presence of the Lord. David approaches the Lord and has so much to say. First, David asks, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” When we consider all that the Lord has done, we must look at ourselves and just wonder to the Lord about who we are that the Lord would do this for us. When we look at Jesus and how our Lord sent him for us so that we could be his offspring and belong as his children, who are we that the Lord has done this? When we look at the offer of eternity to rebellious sinners like us, who are we that the Lord has done this? Humility begins by looking at what the Lord has done. This is what David is doing. He is looking at the promises of God and exclaims, “Who am I, O Lord God!” My family does not have power or reputation and I am nothing. Yet God has given you great and precious promises.
But look at the rest of the sentence. “Who am I, O Lord God… that you have brought me this far?” You have to stop and look at where you are and realize that God has brought you here. Now you may not have expected where you would be right now. But God has brought you here. You are right here in your life and God has brought you to this moment. David realizes this. David has gone through years and years of suffering. David was simply tending sheep and now he is the king over Israel. God will bring you through fire and flames to get you to this moment of humility to see the greatness of God and the lowliness of ourselves. We may not know what God is doing but he know that he is with us and brought us here. What God has done for David is a revelation and instruction for all people. The word translated “instruction” in the ESV is the Hebrew word torah. This is God’s teaching that all are to understand. I want to see that Isaiah reaches to this idea. Look at Isaiah 55:1-4.
1 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. (Isaiah 55:1–4 ESV)
What God did with David is to be our instruction. Listen to the Lord and accept his invitation and he will make an everlasting covenant with you to change your life, bringing you from nothing to eternity with him. God can radically change your life if you will give it to him. David is acknowledging this in his prayer. I mentioned Isaiah 61 in the last lesson. Isaiah 61:1-3 describes what the Lord is going to do with Christ comes. But keep reading what he will do for those who come to him.
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD to glorify him. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former devastations; they will renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5 Strangers will stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers. 6 But you will be called the LORD’s priests; they will speak of you as ministers of our God; you will eat the wealth of the nations, and you will boast in their riches. (Isaiah 61:3–6 CSB)
What happened to David is an instruction to us, which Isaiah uses to show that God can do great things for his glory through your life. Who are we that God would do such a thing? Sometimes we think we are too insignificant for God to do anything. We are too little. We are nothing. What can we possibly do? God loves to take nobodies and accomplish great things. Who was Noah? He was no one but through him God saved the world from complete destruction. Who was Gideon? He was a nobody hiding in a grape vat. God used him to lead only 300 men to accomplish his will against the Midianites. Who is Joseph? Joseph is a kid whose brothers all hate him and he goes through torment. But God used him to save his people and accomplish his purpose. Who is Moses? Moses is a nobody but God uses him to save his people from slavery. Who was David? David is a nobody that his own father did not think could possibly be anointed as king when Samuel came. But God used him to rule over Israel and through David his offspring would save the world.
How many times do we have to see God use people who are nothing and do great things for himself? We serve an amazing God who can use you to accomplish his purposes. God does not use the important people of the world. God uses the people who see themselves as nothing to accomplish great things. God has brought you to this moment. Be humbled before our God who gives us these kind of precious promises. God uses the humble. God uses those who do not think much of themselves to accomplish much.
Praise Him (7:22-24)
Notice what David does next in verse 22. He simply proclaims the greatness of God. You are great, O Lord God. There is none like you and there is no God besides you. What we have heard about you is true. We need this kind of praise on our lips. When we look at what God has accomplished through Jesus and when we look at what God has done for us and through our lives, bringing us to this point, who is like the Lord? He is great and there is none like him! We have read about it. But, friends, we have seen it in our lives. You have redeemed your people and established them forever as your people. Praise him because we can belong to the Lord and be his people. Praise him because God is able to use us for his purposes. He has become our God through his promises.
Do As You Promised (7:25-29)
David ends his prayer by asking God to do just as he said. Keep your promises, Lord! Do as you have spoken so that your name is glorified forever. Accomplish your promises, O Lord. We have seen David pray this way in our study of the Psalms in the Sunday morning Bible class. David knows the character of God and the promises of God. Based on God’s character and based on God’s word, David repeatedly prays for the Lord to act.
I want us to see how David has prayed based on what God has done and what God has said. Prayer is so much easier when we are looking at God rather than ourselves. Praying like David prayed and praising him is so much easier when we are looking at him. When we look at God we are able to see how little we are how much God has done for our lives. Praise and prayer comes from being in awe of what God has accomplished. I want to end our lesson with two applications.
First, what do you want God to do for you? I want us to see that David’s prayer is that God will accomplish what he had spoken. David wants God to do his will, not David’s will. God, you do what you said. God, you accomplish your will. Jesus taught us to pray just like this as well. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). What do we want God to do for us? Do we want God to fulfill our short term earthly desires? Or do we pray for God to accomplish his global purposes for the world through us? This is the kind of kingdom view God desires for us to have. Your will be done on earth and use me to do it. So our perspective of life changes and our prayer life changes as we ask God how we can be his servant in whatever circumstance we are going through. This is what the apostle Paul also said to the Philippians.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11–13 ESV)
Paul is saying that he can be content in any circumstance, whether good times or bad times, because he knows God is working through him and giving him strength in that circumstance. God is accomplishing his will through Paul in all that Paul was experiencing in life. I am content in the present because I am praying and I know that God is working in my life for his glory and purpose. What do you want God to do for you? What do we pray for? We must be praying for the glory of God and the will of God to be done.
Second, what will be our response? David’s response to what God is doing is pray and praise. What is our response to the reversal that God says he will accomplish through those who submit to him and humble themselves before him? Is it a yawn or is it excitement? There is something exciting and amazing to see God work in your life and God work through you. It is even more humbling and causes more praise to be given to the Lord when we see God’s will being done through us. The apostle Paul says this also to the Christians in Galatia.
Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me. (Galatians 1:21–24 ESV)
I always struggled with what Paul was saying here when he says, “They glorified God because of me.” Is Paul being arrogant about his work? No, Paul is seeing God at work in his changed life to cause God to be glorified by others. God is changing your life so that other people will see God through you. Are we excited about what God is able to accomplish through us for his glory? Or do we find this work of God to be not worthy of our time, our prayer, or our praise? Praise the promise and watch how God works in your life.