Saturday

19 January 2019

2 Samuel 7:18-29

‘You, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.’ (v. 29)

Psalm: Psalm 56

Background

David’s response to Nathan’s message that he is not to build a temple (‘house’) for God but that God will establish his dynasty (‘house’) forever is to pray. There is irony in the writer’s telling us that David went into the presence of the Lord when the whole episode has been about a suitable place for God’s presence to be found. David has no problem offering prayer without a temple.

The prayer begins with an expression of humility; Nathan had reminded David of his origins as a shepherd (v. 8) and David acknowledges that all he has achieved has been through God’s activity. Now God has promised much more and his prayer is both one of thanks and a claiming of that promise.

2 Samuel 7 is sometimes known as the Davidic covenant and the language of covenant is implicit throughout the prayer. David knows that the covenant that God is making with his family has to be understood in the broader covenant with the people of Israel (v. 24). This is the people whom God redeemed from Egypt, conquered their enemies and settled in the promised land. Throughout the prayer there is a sense that the covenant has not only been a blessing to Israel; God’s glory has been made known through God’s relationship with God’s chosen people. In the same way, the blessings that have been promised to the family of David will be such as to make God’s name great.

David’s humility at the beginning of the prayer gives way by the end to utter confidence that God will fulfil God’s promises. The prayer is in some ways a parallel to the much longer prayer that Solomon will offer at the dedication of the temple when it is finally built (see 1 Kings 8). In both, the person offering the prayer links God’s greatness to God’s fidelity. David expresses his faith that what so great a God has promised cannot be unfulfilled.

 

To Ponder:

  • David begins “Who am I and what is my house?” Have you been surprised that God has chosen certain people to fulfil God’s purposes? Are you surprised that you are one of them?
  • David’s prayer simply asks God to do what God has promised to do and expresses confidence that it is unimaginable for God not to fulfil God’s promises. Why do you think he prays at all if that is the case?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler

Having been a Methodist circuit minister and a theological college tutor, Jonathan is now the Assistant Secretary of the Conference.