2 SAMUEL 7:18-29
18Then 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? 19And 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! 20And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD! 21Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. 22Therefore 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. 23Who 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? 24And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever; and you, O LORD, became their God. 25And 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. 26Thus 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. 27For 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. 28And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; 29now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue for ever before you; for you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”
Prayers can be revealing. A prayer can reveal something about the person praying. A prayer can reveal something about God to whom one is praying.
Here we eavesdrop on David's prayer to YHWH.
David knows God has shown him favor and that the Lord has promised to establish his house (the House of David) forever as the royal house of Israel.
Overwhelmed and humbled by such knowledge, David begins his prayer with words we can understand, "Who am I?" In Isaiah 6, Isaiah says something similar when he sees YHWH in glory, "Woe is me!" It is natural for any one of us, when we consider God's unmerited blessings upon us, to first look at ourselves and say to God in essence, "Who am I that you should be so good to me? What did I do to deserve your favor? Why me?" It is natural for us to think that there must be something special in me to merit God's special attention and favor. Why else should God choose me over another? Or, choose someone else instead of me?
Unfortunately this train of thought leads to a dead end. No matter how much we search deep down inside for the reason why God should choose me instead of someone else, we cannot arrive at a satisfying answer. Because, ultimately, God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). We are all fallen and flawed. We can always find someone else better -- more virtuous, more loving, more kindhearted. God does not look at human beings and line them up in some sort of "virtue scale" and choose the best and the brightest. In fact, God seems to be in a habit of picking bad ones, the ones you don't want to meet in a dark alley or the kind you don't want to take home and show your parents. A mixed bag at best.
The only satisfying answer is: God's sovereign choice based on "reasons" we know not of. So it is that David too comes to this realization. In the end, David is only certain about God's promises to him and to his house and to the nation that God has chosen to reveal Himself. Searching for person-centered, people-centered reasons is an exercise in futility. What's clear and certain is God's promises and His actions according to His heart.
If we are recipients of God's choosing, of His calling, of His grace, of His salvation, we can only marvel and give thanks. And once we know what God's promises are for us, then (as David prays above) we can find the courage (and conviction) to pray for the fulfillment of God's promises for our lives.
On this ground of God's promises we can stand, with humility, courage, and thankfulness.
Let's pray: Father God, we confess that your ways are often beyond our ability to comprehend fully. Who am I? we ask. Why me? We look for answers but cannot find any. Like David, we will move from this search to find our certainty in your promises. From certainty we will find the courage necessary to pray for the fulfillment of your promises. For we know the promises you make will be fulfilled. In Jesus' name, amen.