Lectionary reading for 11/29/2021: Psalm 90; 2 Samuel 7:18-29; 2 Peter 3:1-18
Selected passage for reflection: 2 Samuel 7:18-29 NIV
2 Samuel 7:18-29 NIV
18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!
20 “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
22 “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 24 You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.
25 “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.
27 “Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 29 Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
Promises made; promises delivered. But never quite like we imagine.
Just two verses before our scripture today we have God’s promise to David: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:16)
We then get David’s response- he is overwhelmed at the promise- a promise of his royal legacy & line being established forever. What more could a king dream for?
God seems to go out of God’s way to honor David with this promise. And David is reminded that is the way God works. In Egypt, God pursued Israel and rescued them to set them apart for a special relationship.
David is comforted by this promise, even bold enough to pray “Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever (verses 25b-26a).”
Except, I’m pretty sure David wasn’t thinking that God’s promise was going to take hundreds of years, an exile or two, multiple occupations and more, just for one of his offspring to be born in less-than-ideal circumstances in tiny Bethlehem. This descendent who lived only a short while on the earth and did nothing to challenge the earthly kings & occupiers for his throne. This Yeshua, who was crucified…and was raised again 3 days later, only to have his throne established in heaven itself at God’s right hand- truly an eternal throne.
How could David have even begun to dream of such a thing?
Promise made; promise delivered. But not quite like David imagined.
This seems to be God’s nature, which makes sense, because I have learned we humans have such limited vision and limited understanding. What we take as personal, God wants to be for the good of everyone. God’s promises are much grander than we can even imagine.
I have learned over time to hold those promises loosely- to keep checking back in with God.
“Am I imagining & dreaming too small again God?”
“Am I losing touch with your grand design?”
But there is another aspect of David’s prayer that is a real encouragement to me as well. Daivd had the audacity to essentially pray: “You said it God, now you better do it. For YOUR sake as well as mine.” I have not often been bold enough to pray that prayer! That is a boldness born of the deep intimate relationship David had with God. He had so many years of deep reliance on God that stepping out with this kind of boldness in prayer seemed natural to the relationship.
There is a prayer warrior in my church, Constance, who is much like David in this boldness. “And won’t God do it?” she says often. She is not afraid to hold God accountable to God’s promises- to even REMIND God of what God has promised to us. And of course, in the same breath, this in turn is a reminder to us that God is indeed faithful. God keeps all God’s promises.
Promises made, promises delivered. But never quite like we imagine.
Respond & Rest
Today I encourage you to spend a few minutes reflecting on God’s promises to you. They might be very personal promises, or they might be the promises God has made to each of us in scripture. Then pray a prayer of thanks like David, as well as a prayer of accountability- don’t be afraid to hold God to God’s word.
About the Author
Pastor Sarah Robinson loves living & serving in the eclectic eco-district Audubon Park in urban Orlando, FL, where she bikes all over and works in her edible/pollinator garden covering her entire front yard! She considers it a privilege and a calling to work for rights and justice of the most vulnerable.