15 January 20222 Samuel 7:18-29
'You established your people Israel for yourself to be your people for ever; and you, O LORD, became their God.' (v. 24)
In David’s meditation and prayer that we read today a central theme is the permanent dynasty God has promised. [NB: Throughout this prayer ‘house’ means dynasty.] David’s regal successors will preside over a unique situation. Israel will be a settled, chosen people, carefully holding in trust the marvellous story of how they got there (v. 19); they will live in harmony with their uniquely wonderful God (with whom no one and no god can compare, (v. 22), who is worthy to be worshipped (v. 26). It was their God who had secured Israel’s home and destiny, by liberating them from enslavement in Egypt and then driving out from Palestine the indigenous "nations and their gods" – the Canaanites and the Philistines (v. 23).
This is deemed to be the apex of God’s actions in history. David is awed and humbled (vs 18-20) that he – taken from obscurity to become a successful soldier and then the greatest king of all God’s people – has now become ruler of a situation that will last for ever, through his dynasty of rulers. God has done this by the power of God’s promise and by God taking the initiative to bring his will to pass (v. 21).
Pray God may not have a change of mind, as has happened in the past (1 Samuel 2:30-31)! So David asks for God to confirm the promise and to bless David and his family successors in perpetuity – for a blessing from God cannot be retracted (vs 25-29).
The prayer envisages an idealised, steady-state future. Israel and its leaders will be insulated from the hazards and unpredictable tragedies of history. The foibles and weaknesses of human beings (their propensity for self-centredness, hatred, jealousy and irrationality) get no mention.
- Acts of worship typically conclude with a prayer for God’s blessing. How do you understand that? Is it a yearning for an assurance that God will always make life good for you? Is it a plea for God to assure you that God’s loving presence will be with you, whatever experiences and challenges lie ahead and however well or badly you stick at doing God’s will?
- When Christians pray, they are asking God to help them to do God’s will, in God’s way, in everyday practical circumstances. In your experience, is as much attention given to the how as to the what? Do we pray persistently enough for help to think, speak and act in the spirit of Jesus – full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience?