Tuesday May 26, 2020
2 Samuel 7:18-29 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed,
“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?
20 “What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord. 21 Because of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known to your servant.
22 “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! 23 What other nation on earth is like your people Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you redeemed your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations and gods that stood in their way. 24 You made Israel your very own people forever, and you, O Lord, became their God.
25 “And now, O Lord God, I am your servant; do as you have promised concerning me and my family. Confirm it as a promise that will last forever. 26 And may your name be honored forever so that everyone will say, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is God over Israel!’ And may the house of your servant David continue before you forever.
27 “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, I have been bold enough to pray this prayer to you because you have revealed all this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings!’ 28 For you are God, O Sovereign Lord. Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 29 And now, may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you have spoken, and when you grant a blessing to your servant, O Sovereign Lord, it is an eternal blessing!”
There is no doubt that David had a special relationship with God – God called him “a man after my own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). No other human being has ever been so particularly called out to be in God’s care. David cherished that unique relationship. Just read a few of the psalms that he wrote, and you can see how he communicated with God. He could pour out his heart to God; he could complain to God; he could grumble at God; he could thank God; he could compliment God; he could praise God.
Even though David had this unique relationship with God, he never forgot that he was dependent on God. He saw God as sovereign, and he saw himself as God’s servant. He could have a conversation, prayer, with God that had many different facets – complaint, thanks, and praise. David also accepted as fact what God said to him. One of those facts was that God would bless him and his descendants with a dynasty – to rule over Israel for many years (verse 27). David accepted this statement from God as truth and never questioned why God would grant such power to him and his descendants. It was enough to know that he had a special place in God’s heart.
We know that the reign of the house of David did not last long at all. While David was king, the northern and southern parts of this part of Palestine were united, and they remained so for David’s son Solomon. Two kings and two kings only and the kingdoms broke apart, never to be reunited again. Still, the Israelites continued to see themselves as God’s special people, chosen early in their relationship with God. In the book of Deuteronomy 7:6 we read “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the people who are on the face of the earth.”
God’s later declaration that David was a man after God’s own heart only strengthened the conviction that the Jews were, are, and continue to be chosen by God. Many have seen this statement as a blessing for an entire nation. This was true in biblical times when the Jewish nation was led by kings, but the religious leaders were also quite powerful. The belief developed that God’s blessing was not just on individual people; instead, that blessing covered a whole nation.
This idea has carried over to our nation as well. Our country has been richly blessed in so many ways, and we have become the most powerful nation in the world. We have indeed been blessed. We also feel that we have been chosen, and implicitly, chosen by God. This is biblical. In Luke 12:48 we read: “To whom much is given, much will be required.” So, this suggests that biblically we are being held responsible for what we have. Since we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we benefit others.
This gets at the heart of what it means to be chosen. One way to see being chosen is to expect good things to come to. Chosen as the winner means receiving a reward. Chosen as best means receiving praise. In this sense, chosen means getting something, receiving good things, feeling like a winner.
But this is not the sense of chosen that God used when choosing the Israelites. Here God’s use of chosen carries with it the responsibility of giving back, sharing resources, thinking about others rather than themselves. When a country or a nation or a state or a community or a church or an individual has been blessed with much, each is chosen by God to give back, in whatever way they can.
David’s words suggest that he is talking about a political entity – “a dynasty of kings.” Another way for us to interpret this passage is to see the “house” (verse 27) God will build as the church instead of being political or governmental. To see the church as the house blessed and chosen by God gives us a greater responsibility to share what we have with others.
One of the only things the church has that other groups do not is our faith in God through Jesus Christ. We can certainly share our time, talent, and treasure with those in need – that is part of the obligation of being both blessed and chosen. Many groups and organizations, local, national, and international, are carrying out many, many humanitarian operations, and we do the same. But the one thing that God’s church can do best is to share the Good News with others.
In this difficult time, with so many dealing with the fallout from the current pandemic, there are fewer ways we can share God’s Good News, at least in ways that are most familiar to us. Yet there are still many things we can do. One of the most important is to stay in touch with our friends, neighbors, and fellow church members, especially those who live alone. Each time we call, text, send an email or card, we can let others know that God is helping us through this difficult time. Each time we make a connection, we can give thanks to God that those we are contacting are staying safe. Each time we contact another we can let them know we are praying for them.
And certainly, for us individually, we can recognize how important those relationships are to us. We may once have seen connections to family or neighbors or other church members as less important to maintain than job duties or other more immediate tugs on our time. One of the positive outcomes of this pandemic may very well be that now we cherish those relationships and see them as blessings from God.
Call someone today. Email a greeting to someone today. Write a card. Text. Pray for them. Share your blessings because you are chosen, chosen by God, to do just that. Thanks be to God!
-Pastor Joyce Donigian