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Monday 02 September 2019 – The Prayer of a King

2 Samuel 7:18  Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19  And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD; you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord GOD! 20  And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD! 21  Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. 22  Therefore you are great, O LORD God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23  Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people, and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things for them, by driving out before his people nations and their gods? 24  And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever; and you, O LORD, became their God. 25  And now, O LORD God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever; do as you have promised. 26  Thus your name will be magnified forever in the saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel’; and the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27  For you, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28  And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; 29  now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

Here we have one of the great prayers of the Bible. David has been asked to become King of Israel. And the author has framed David’s response.[1] Here is a man who remembers his humble roots: “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?”  David wants to be the kind of King that remembers that all of life is lived in response to the call of God.  This connects deeply with Israel’s Covenant with God. This prayer acknowledges that ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel‘, and therefore the king (in this case David) needs to ask God’s blessing in order to be an instrument of the Lord’s rule over his people. This prayer admits that the king and the people need to recognize the Lord as their Divine Sovereign.

King David provides a prayer that is a timely reminder for all who would be in authority. There are many rulers – of nations, of institutions, and of families – who could do with using the words of David as a sobering reminder that all leadership is held in trust as a service to God.

Ordinary 19 / Pentecost +12

41 Prayers and Promises

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 255.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day
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[1] There is a chronological uncertainty to this passage, and a suggestion that 2Samuel 7 should to be placed chronologically after David’s conquests described in 2Sa 8:1–14.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)