1 Chronicles 17:16-27 On His Knees
David’s reaction to God’s words through Nathan shows his heart. He fell on his knees before the Lord and cried “Who am I” that You would notice me!
In scriptures David is called a man after God’s own heart. David had a servant’s heart. One that was forever first focused on the Lord. He was a humble man who knew that everything He had was from the Lord. And he showed all of this in his prayer before the Lord in response to the promises of God.
Before we join David again as he hears the things God had to say to him through Nathan, I want to say something about Nathan. He was a man unafraid to stand before the king and tell it exactly how it was. He held nothing back from David when God gave him a message. And he was used mightily by God because of this. God KNEW that Nathan would pay attention and do as instructed. He trusted Nathan to shepherd David. What an amazing place to be in! But what a responsibility too. I wonder if he ever felt fear or reluctance to bring God’s word to David.
I wish that God would speak to me as clearly as He did to Nathan. I don’t have the need of such interactions as Nathan and David did. Maybe that’s why I don’t hear such pointed and profound words from Him. I’m awed with what He does bring me through writing. And He is faithful EACH and EVERY time I come to Him to bring something of value out. Thank You Father. I’ll stop with the ‘prophecy envy’ now and get back to Your stories.
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David continues to weep at the words delivered by Nathan. Not knowing what else to do, Nathan retreats back to his own room. This is a matter between David and the Lord.
It is late in the night and David need not worry about being disturbed by many people as he reigns in his weeping. He isn’t concerned about being seen anyway. A king who is unashamed to dance before the Lord should be likewise unashamed to weep before Him too.
David’s deepest desire right now is to go and spend time in the presence of the Lord. To truly thank Him for remembering His servant. David rises from the floor where he had fallen while listening to Nathan deliver the words of the Lord. He takes no time to straighten his robes, wash his face or smooth his hair. He walks directly to the Tent on the hillside. The Tent that holds the Ark of the Lord; His presence among men.
David pays no attention to the guards near the entrance of the gates. He gives no thought to the Levites who are nearby. He walks directly to the Tent and falls to his knees again just outside the door. He would not presume to enter the Tent as it is a most holy place, reserved only for the Levites, but he desires to be as close to the presence of the Lord as possible. He longs to respond directly to the Lord regarding the words he has just heard.
Taking a few moments, David removes his sandals and sets aside his royal robe. He then seats himself on the ground in front of the tent door as if to have a conversation with the Lord. The first words out of his mouth clearly express his heart.
“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” (verse 16b).
David clearly recognizes that he is unworthy of the place the Lord has placed him in and that he could NEVER have attained it if not for His hand. David shakes his head in wonderment.
“And this was a small thing in Your eyes, O God.” (verse 17a).
David thinks back over the years. The enemies he faced, the time spend running from Saul, the men who had gathered to him, the death of Saul, the protection of the Lord through ALL of it. To him it was SO vast but to the Lord it was but a small thing. Then David turns his attention to the future that God so clearly spoke of through His servant Nathan. He gratitude and wonderment come tumbling from David’s lips.
“You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O Lord God! And what more can David say to You for honoring Your servant? For You know Your servant” (verses 17b-18).
Flashes of his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah come unbidden to his mind. He quickly sets them aside, because he knows the Lord has forgiven him, and continues with his prayer of thanks giving.
“For Your servant’s sake, O Lord, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things” (verse 19).
David shakes his head in wonder again. Then he speaks the truest thing his heart has ever known.
“There is NONE like You, O Lord, and there is NO God besides You, according to ALL that we have heard with our ears” (verse 20).
David’s mind then turns to the people God has called His own; the nation HE birthed and brought from nothing. The nation he is proud to call his own and would give his life protecting.
“And who is like Your people Israel, the one nation of earth whom God went to redeem to be His people, making for Yourself a name for great and awesome things, in driving out nations before Your people whom You redeemed from Egypt? And YOU made Your people Israel to be Your people FOREVER, and You, O Lord became their God” (verses 21-22; emphasis added).
David turns his attention to the future God has promised. He doesn’t know how or when the Lord will bring about His promises but he is CONVINCED He will keep His word.
“And now, O Lord, let the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house be established forever, and do as You have spoken, and Your name will be established and magnified forever, saying; ‘The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel’s God,’” (verses 23-24a).
David’s thoughts once again turn to the thing that set the stage for this night’s events; his desire to build a house for the Lord. Not an act of arrogance or pride but one of deep love. One that was humbled by the knowledge of all that he had gained and wanted desperately to offer an act of gratitude. But God turned HIS ‘gratitude’ and favor David’s way instead. NOT for some great works that David had done but for his steadfast love. With awe and wonder David continues his prayer.
“And now, O Lord, You are God, and You have promised this good thing to your servant. Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You, for it is You, O Lord, who have blessed, and it is blessed FOREVER” (verses 26-27; emphasis added).
David breathed a deep sigh. His soul was settled. He knew he was in the hands of the Lord and his house was also. There was NO better place to be. Not because he had earned it somehow but because his God had granted it and LOVED him.
David sat for a little while longer before the Tent of the Lord in silence. Then he rose and returned to his home. He washed his face, changed his clothes and climbed into bed. He slept in absolute peace.
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All David had to do was to love God. God took it from there. David’s life wasn’t smooth sailing with God. He had MANY challenges to face but he faced them with the Lord. That is the ONLY way to survive this world! Holding onto His hand and walking where He leads. He knows what lies ahead for each of us.
Father God, thank You that You have me firmly in Your hands. I can’t imagine hearing so clearly from You about my family. Your promises in Your word gives me something to hold tight to. David didn’t get cold hard facts on which of his kids were going to follow You or for how long. I guess I’m no better or worse off than him. I’m holding onto Your promises for each of mine. That is all the legacy I want.