II Samuel 7:8-13, 21-29
INTRODUCTION Dedication or consecration of life to the service of God implies a recognition that our life really belongs to Him. We are His by right of both creation and redemption, and must in the end render an account to Him as our Judge. We have nothing to offer to God but what He has first given to us. Even the desire to devote ourselves to Him is a desire that He puts within us, contrary to the sinful inclinations of our fallen human nature. As the goodness of God leads sinners to repentance [Romans 2:4], so the abundance of His blessings, both in experience and in prospect, leads His children to renew their consecration to Him. Divine promises encourage human dedication. The prayer of faith must be based upon the declared Word of God. We cannot pray, intelligently or faithfully, contrary to or out- side of the promises of His Word. This is the lesson exemplified in the Scriptural account of God's great promises to David and David's response of faith. An outline of the lesson follows: 1. Promise, II Samuel 7:8-13. a. Personal promotion, 8-9. b. Permanent place, 10-11. c. Promised posterity, 12-13. 2. Prayer, II Samuel 7:21-29. a. Pertinent praise, 21-23. b. Proper petition, 24-26. c. Privileged position, 27-29 NOTES ON THE TEXT: PROMISE, II Samuel 7:8-13. Blessings already received, promises already fulfilled, encourage us to believe that promises of future blessings from God are likewise sure to be fulfilled. So the "Christian" who claims to have been saved but fears that God may yet cast him into hell makes us doubt his professed experience of salvation. God does not change His mind; His gifts and calling are without repentance [Romans 11:29]. So God's promise here to David is introduced by a reminder of what God had already done for David in preparation for greater blessings to come. From preceding context we learn that David's appreciation from divine blessings had moved him to express to the prophet Nathan a desire to build a house of worship to contain "the ark of God." This desire seemed good to Nathan, but God had other plans. The first part of our lesson is taken from His message to David from Nathan. Personal Promotion, 8-9. Once a shepherd boy, now the king of Israel by divine appointment -- the promotion is more dramatic than the theme of "log cabin to White House" in American history. Yet we may observe that promotion "from rags to riches," from plow to palace, from commoner to king, is a little thing in comparison with our translation from darkness to light, from death to life, from bondage or sin to freedom in Christ. Moreover, David's promotion was not his own accomplishment. It was the presence, guidance, and power of God that brought him to his high position. God cut off the enemies of David; God made the name of David great among the great ones of the earth. Permanent Place, 10-11. God's blessings upon David personally were intended to be a means of blessing upon the entire nation of Israel. The history of the Israelites in the promised land had been marked by frequent attacks and oppressive mistreatment by other nations in and around Canaan. The promise here of a safe and permanent dwelling place for Israel should be understood in the light of Jeremiah 18:6-10. In addition to blessing David with victory over the oppressors of his people so as to give them peace and safety, God said further, "Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house." David wanted to build a literal house for God, but instead God would make a "house" for David: that is, a royal dynasty or succession of kings from his descendants. Promised Posterity, 12-13. Here, as we often find in the B1b1e prophecy, there is a doub1e reference, one near and the other more distant. The immediate seed of David whose kingdom God established and who built the house or temple which David was not permitted to build was So1omoni the more distant Son of David Whose throne was to be established forever is Christ. For David as for us, it is in Christ that the promises of God find their ultimate fulfillment.
PRAYER, II Samuel 7:21-29. This part of the lesson is taken from David's response in prayer after receiving God's message from Nathan. Too often we fail or neglect to pray except in times and situations of sorely felt needs; but certainly it is appropriate to pray at all times, and especially when God has been speaking to us through His Word we ought to answer Him in prayer. It is true that one dictionary meaning of the word "pray" is "ask"; but it is not true that asking is all there is to prayer. Too many spoiled baby Christians never think to address God in prayer except to ask for something; it is no wonder that God withholds so many blessings from them, because that is the only way He ever gets to hear them pray. Pertinent Praise, 21-23. God does not need our praise, but we need to praise Him to keep our thinking straight and our affections where they ought to be. "For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart," said David, and "for they servant's sake" [I Chronicles 17:19], God did "all these great things." The greatness of the true God leaves no place for rivals; the false gods of the heathen are not gods at all. And the greatness of this one God makes great the people whom He redeems. Proper Petition, 24-26. Sometimes "we know not what we should pray for as we ought" [Romans 8:26], but where God has clearly spoken we can be sure that it is always proper to petition according to His Word. What better plea can we bring to God than that He establish and fulfill His own Word? If we are sure that we rightly understand that Word, we may safely pray with David: "Do as thou hast said." Privileged Position, 27-29. To pray at all, with some hope that God may hear our prayers, is a high privilege; but to pray with the certainty that our prayer is in accord with the declared will of God is to occupy a privileged position indeed. David "found in his heart to pray this prayer" because he first listened to God's Word; let us also hear the precious promises of God and lay hold upon them through faithful prayer.
CONCLUSION [I Chronicles 28:20] Work not permitted to David was committed to Solomon. God assigns talents and tasks to His servants according to His own will; whatever the work that we would do for Him, if He is not with us we had better let it alone; but if He is pleased to be with us in our undertaking we can "be strong and of good courage, and do it." =============
[From AAB, October 4, 1974, pp. 2-3. -- jrd]
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