David’s Prayer to ADONAI

Second Samuel 7:18-29
and First Chronicles 17:16-27

DIG: How is God’s sovereignty underscored in the way David addresses Him in this prayer? In the actions David credits to ADONAI? How would you describe Isra’el’s relationship to YHVH here? Why does David want the LORD’s promise kept forever so badly? How does God’s action and character give David courage to pray like this? Why did David ask the LORD to do what God had already promised to do?

REFLECT: How do you respond to the promises of a trust-worthy YHVH? How, primarily, have you addressed the Lord: With introductions? Requests? Confession? Thanksgiving? What does this say about your relationship with Him? What would you like to adopt from David’s example in this regard? What “good things” do you desire which conform to God’s will? Who are you concerned about pleasing?

998 BC

Today we have a universal Church made up of Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14) because YHVH used David’s family to bring our Savior into the world, and there is a future for Isra’el because ADONAI gave David a throne forever. The way that David responded to this great news from God is a good example for us to follow today. He humbled himself before the LORD, and at least ten times called himself a servant of God.

The present: gratitude for God’s favor: Then King David went in and sat before the Ark of the Covenant inside the tent that he had pitched for it (Second Samuel 7:18a; First Chronicles 16:1a). As believers, we no longer need a tent to sit in when we worship ADONAI. When Christ died, the curtain of the Temple was torn in two (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Lw - Accompanying Signs of Jesus’ Death). Therefore, there is no longer any separation between the believer and the throne of ADONAI, as we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15b). Abba is an informal Aramaic term for Father, implying intimacy, tenderness, dependence and a complete lack of fear or anxiety. Modern equivalents would be daddy or papa. Because we now have personal access to Him, we can call out daddy, just as children do to their earthly fathers. We are His adopted children (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Bw – What God Does For Us at the Moment of Faith), and have direct access to God the Father through Yeshua ha-Meshiach.

God accomplished this reconciliation on behalf of mankind. When that curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, it symbolized a change in our relationship where a state of hostility and estrangement was justly replaced by one of peace and fellowship. For if we were reconciled with God through His Son’s death when we were enemies, how much more will we be delivered by His life, now that we are reconciled (Romans 5:10 CJB)!

Nothing could be more humbling than to hear the word of the LORD, spoken directly to one’s most pressing situation in life, hence David’s question: Who am I, Adonai ELOHIM; and what is my family, that has caused You to bring me this far? It was God’s grace that had brought David a long way – from the sheepfolds to the throne – and now the LORD had spoken about his descendants far into the future. David addresses YHVH as Adonai ELOHIM (LORD God) seven times, and which only occurs here in the books of Samuel. Only a God of sovereign grace would give such a covenant (see Ct – The LORD’s Covenant with David), and only a God with sovereign power could fulfill it. Yet in Your view, Adonai ELOHIM, even this was too small a thing; so You have even said that Your servant’s dynasty will continue on into the distant future. We must forgive David’s goosebumps. Is this Your usual way of dealing with man, Adonai ELOHIM? In one sense, the answer is no, because God chose the house of David to bring His Son into the world; but in another sense, the answer is yes, because any sinner can trust Jesus Christ and be saved and enter into the family of God.293 What more can I say to You about the honor You are bestowing on Your servant? David doesn’t have words to express his gratefulness. Words failed him, but God knew what he felt. For You know Your servant intimately. Adonai ELOHIM, it is for the sake of Your word (the prophecy of David’s kingship was made through Nathan) and in accordance with Your own heart that You have done all this greatness and revealed it to Your servant (2 Samuel 7:18b-21; First Chronicles 17:16b-19 CJB).

The past: praise for what God has already done: You are great, ADONAI, God, and there is no God beside You – all the works of God handed down throughout biblical history confirms that there is none like You. Because of the covenant, David and all the family of Isra’el were His people. So David could ask: Who can be compared with Your people, with Isra’el? YHVH is the LORD of all the nations, but He did great things for Isra’el, His chosen people. David recognized the wonderful truth that YHVH had chosen Isra’el to be His people forever!294 What other nation on earth did God set out to redeem and make into a people for Himself? You made Yourself a reputation by doing for Your Land things that even for You are great and terrifying, for the sake of Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt and from other nations and from their gods. You set up Your people for Yourself as Your people forever; and you, ADONAI, became their God (2 Samuel 7:22-24; First Chron 17:20-22 CJB). By recalling the exodus events and the establishment of Isra’el’s tribes in the Land of Canaan, David declared his faith in the God of His fathers, and identified his role in ADONAI’s continuing purpose. The living YHVH unified history, giving meaning to both the past and the present.

The future: prayer for God’s fulfillment of His covenantal promises: The third part of David’s prayer and praise looked to the future as revealed in the covenant just delivered to the king. So now, ADONAI, God, establish forever the word You have spoken through the prophets concerning Your servant and his house be confirmed forever. David believed it, and he asked YHVH to fulfill that word for His people, “Do what You have promised.”295 But like us, David needed to trace the steps in the discussion in order to be certain that his feet were on solid ground, so by turning the promise into a prayer he both endorsed his acceptance of God’s word through Nathan the prophet, he also, by repetition, made it a part of Scripture for future generations.296 May Your name be confirmed and magnified forever, then the people will say: ADONAI-Tzva’ot is God over Isra’el, is Isra’el’s God, and the dynasty of Your servant David will be set up in Your presence. You, ADONAI-Tzva’ot, God of Isra’el, have disclosed to Your servant, “I will build you a house.” This is why Your servant has the courage to pray this prayer to you (2 Sam 7:25-27; 1 Chron 17:23-25 CJB).

It wasn’t enough for David to simply hear the promises and believe them; he also prayed to the LORD to fulfill them. Now, Adonai ELOHIM, You alone are God, Your words are truth; and You have made this wonderful promise to Your servant. So may it please You to bless the family of Your servant and thereby cause it to continue forever in Your presence. For You, Adonai ELOHIM, have said it. May Your servant’s family be blessed forever by Your blessing (Second Samuel 7:28-29; First Chronicles 17:26-27 CJB).

Therefore, David gave up his intention of building the Temple. Though he was the king of Isra’el, he accepted that he had to defer to a Higher Authority, that of the God of Isra’el, to whom he owed his calling through the prophet Samuel, his preservation as Sha’ul tried over and over again to kill him, and his accession to the throne by common consent of the people. This put David in the role of a servant . . . Your servant . . . as David called himself ten times over this prayer.

David was far from perfect, as we will soon find out, but he had grasped that all-important truth of servanthood about himself. He was sensitive to rebuke and repented when he stepped out of line. For this reason, he knew forgiveness and the restoration of fellowship, both of which had eluded Sha’ul because he could never bring himself to take his hands off the steering wheel of the government, or readily admit being wrong. It is beyond ironic that Sha’ul by clinging tenaciously to what he regarded as his kingly prerogative, lost the kingdom; whereas David, being more concerned with honoring God than guarding his own reputation, had his kingdom made secure forever.297 There is a lesson there for all of us.

The bold prayer of David is an ideal match for the remarkable prophecy of Nathan. David and ADONAI had reached an understanding. It was clear where they both stood. God was deeply committed to David, and David would insist on that commitment. Yerushalayim would be the residence of the king, the city of David. David, like his distant relative Jacob, would not let YHVH go unless YHVH blessed him (Genesis 32:26), and blessed him forever. David is a bold model of faith. David, without embarrassment, would hold the LORD to the promise of the Covenant. He would not let circumstances talk him out of the promise, and he would not despair. Nor would he, in false respect, release God from His commitment. David was a hard bargainer both on earth and before heaven. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had invited David into that kind of mutual relationship.298


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