Today, our passage is going to show us the difference between cats and dogs. Think what cats are like. When you feed a cat, pet a cat, care for a cat, and love a cat the cat concludes that it must be god. Dogs on the other hand are different. When you feed a dog, pet a dog, care for a dog, and love a dog the dog concludes that you must be god. Now, whether or not you agree with this very researched, proven, and scientific data I just shared with you there is a profound lesson in it. The Bible, from front to back, presents to us a view of man that is much more cat like than dog like. By nature we tend to think like this, ‘God created the heavens and the earth just for me, all the stories in the Bible are just about me, Christ came to earth just for me, to suffer just for me, to die just for me, and has gone back to heaven to wait just for me. Therefore, since God did all of this for me, God must love me more than He loves anything else and since God loves me more than anything else I am going to love Him just because He loves me so much.’ There is a phrase that describes this cat like thinking, we call it man-centered theology.

Think of it now more from the dog perspective. All that God has done, is doing, and will do He does first and foremost for His great glory and by exalting Himself over and above all things God’s love for me is seen the clearer. His love isn’t about making much of me, no. He loves me by freeing me from sin and enabling me to make much of Him forever. By doing this He is vastly glorified and I am deeply satisfied. There is also a phrase that describes this dog like thinking, we call it God-centered theology.

I tell you all this because in our passage this morning we see a crystal-clear example of this God-centered reality in David.

Our passage today is the second half of 2 Samuel 7, but before we get to that do not forget what David had just been told in the first half of 2 Samuel 7. In v12-13 God promised to David, “I will raise your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever.” David just heard that his own descendant would be the Messiah through whom the Kingdom of God would come to earth, and that God’s very throne would forevermore have a Son of David on it.[1] What is David’s response to this? He doesn’t respond in cat like fashion saying, “Well my goodness God, it’s about time you recognized my worth and value by giving me what I deserve! I will therefore honor You because You’ve first honored me.” Rather, David responds in dog like fashion, with surprise that God would show such grace to someone like him.

There are many ways to order this text, I’ve divided it into two points for us today.[2]

Wonder Before the Lord (v18-24)

“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? 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, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD! And what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD! Because of Your promise, and according to Your own heart, You have brought about all this greatness, to make Your servant know it.”

7:4 and 7:17 told us the Word of the Lord came to Nathan and he spoke to David in accordance with all this vision. We might be tempted to think that Nathan receiving this Word from the Lord might be more extraordinary than David hearing this Word from the Lord, but David’s prayer in response to it proves just the opposite.[3] He hears it, is stunned by it, and is deeply moved by it. David’s prayer begins not in isolation out of nowhere but flows forth in response to what God said.

In v18 we see it begin. In the whole of this passage only in v18 do we read the phrase “King David.” Why is the phrase only here? Because it isn’t King David mainly in view here, it’s the King of kings in view. So King David comes into the tent he made for the ark in chapter 6 and sits before it, before the symbol of God’s presence with His people. This word ‘sit’ is the same Hebrew word translated ‘lived’ and ‘dwell’ in 7:1-2, leading us to believe David in v18 is so struck by God’s promise to him that he came out of his grand kingly palace, entered the tent of the ark, and sits or dwells before the Lord in a humbled awe.[4]

David’s first words aren’t words of petition or request but wonder and surprise, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?” Do you see, that to ask this question is to answer it. David isn’t in need of an answer, he, though king, knows he is a small man in comparison to God – and knows his house, though large, is a small house in comparison to God, even so God exalts and enters into covenant with David, extending his house and kingdom forever. This too, David knows, is just a small thing to the Lord. This kind of question in v18, this acknowledgement of finiteness, can only come from a heart that has been thoroughly undone by God. No one can believe simultaneously they’re the coolest thing since sliced bread and praise God for being great. Why do we know and sing of God’s grace as amazing? Because we also know God ‘saved a wretch like me.’ Lesson? Anyone who thinks they deserve such grace, shows how far away from such grace they truly are. The author of 2 Samuel may have called David ‘King David’ in v18 but ten times throughout this prayer David refers to himself as ‘Your servant.’ By knowing God David knew who he was and who he wasn’t.

God’s promise to David according to v19, “…is instruction for mankind.” Meaning that God intends to bless the house of David so that more than David’s house is blessed. How far the blessing to David’s house extend beyond David’s house? To all mankind. Or we could say, God intends to use David’s kingdom and David’s line to bring about the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham.[5] Remember that promise? Genesis 12:3, “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Question: how will God bless all the earth through Abraham? Answer: through His promise to David, and more so, through the descendant of David who will reign forever on the throne. Through this One, who will be both David’s Son and David’s Lord, God will bless all the earth. So David in wonder before the Lord seeks to find words to express his thankful and astonished heart in v20-21, “What more can David say to You?” David seems to trace out what he knows. He knew God had anointed him to be king (1 Sam. 16), he knew God had established him as king (2 Sam. 5), but he knew more. In v20 we see David knows that God knows him, and because God knows him we find in v21 that he now knew God had made a promise to him (v21a), he now knew this promise to him had nothing to do with him but that it was according to the desires of God’s heart (v21b), he now knew God was doing something great through him (v21c), and he now knew this greatness would reach the whole world (v19). What is all of this? When David heard what God had done he was amazed at what God was like.[6]

This leads right into David’s words in v22, “Therefore You are great, O LORD God. For there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”

There is quite a wonderful logic to praise isn’t there?[7] By the end of v21 David is barely able to find words to express his wonder in God to God, and it’s as if the words come to him and he then shouts out prayerful praise in v22 beginning with one word, “Therefore…” implying, the greatness of God’s work revealed not only how great God is, but how unique God is. None are like Him, there is no God besides Him. Why does David say this? Notice it in v22b, “…according to all that we have heard with our ears.” Church, David’s experience of knowing the greatness of God is like our experience of knowing the greatness of God. How did David know it? By what he heard of God. Where did hear of God? In God’s Word to him. How do we know the greatness of God? By what we hear of God. Where do we hear of God? In God’s Word to us. What does Paul tell us? How can one believe unless they hear? How can one hear unless another is preaching? How can one preach unless they’re sent? How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news. For faith comes from _______ what? Hearing! Faith comes from hearing. How strange and marvelous a thing that God would make it so that we see His glory with our ears.

And once David heard of God’s greatness and praised His greatness, he then moves in thought to the people who’ve been the main recipients and witnesses of His greatness, Israel. v23-24, “And who is like Your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be His people, making Himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And You established for Yourself your people Israel to be Your people forever. And You, O LORD, became their God.” As David humbly asked “Who am I” in v18, here he asks the same about God’s people. And as he concluded he was the gracious recipient of God’s sovereign choice for king and covenant head, so too he concludes Israel was God’s sovereign choice among all the nations to redeem from slavery and make His own. But there’s more here. Just as there is no god but the Lord, there is no people like the Lord’s people, why? Not because of them but because of Him!

These verses are clear. Israel is the one nation redeemed by God on the planet. Through great and awesome deeds God saved them and brought them to Himself establishing them as His people and He as their God. Why did God do this though? Was it to make Israel famous or increase their renown in the world? No. God chose Israel for the same reasons He chose David, to make for Himself a great name. This passage would’ve been amazing if it had stopped right here, but it doesn’t. It keeps on for five more verses. David has sat in wonder before the Lord, now we see him…

Pleading the Promises of the Lord (v25-29)

“And now, O LORD God, confirm forever the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, and do as You have spoken. And Your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of Your servant David will be established before You. 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. And now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. 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.”

Before we saw the logic of praise in v22, here in v25 see the beautiful link between praise and prayer.[8] It has been said that if you pray long enough you’ll find yourself singing. This text shows us the reverse is also true. If you sing long enough you’ll find yourself praying. And so David prays in v25-29, but do you think his prayer is strange? God had just promised to bless David by establishing his house forever and what does David ask for here in prayer? That God would do what He promised to do. Specifically, in v25 that God would do as He has promised. In v26-27 that God would magnify and make His name great by doing the great work He had promised. And in v28-29 that God would be pleased to ever bless David by continuing to do what He had promised. Is that strange? Why pray and ask God to do what He’s already promised to do? I think we know the answer. The Word of the Lord came to Nathan the prophet, and when David heard this Word it he was humbled by God’s revelation, reminded of the things God had already done for him, and stunned to deep and vast joy in all that God was promising to still do for him.[9] These things created in him a deep joy as well as a deep longing. Longing for what you may ask? A longing for God to do what He had promised. So, David in prayer doesn’t pray in wishful thinking, or pray about his own ideas or ambitions about kingdom growth. No, from a grateful heart he courageously (see that detail in v27?) pleads God’s promises back to Him and leaves us a pattern to follow.[10]

Church, there is no arrogance in taking God at His Word, in praying that God would cause what He’s promised to turn into historical reality, in praying that God would bring His promises to pass.[11] It is by no means wrong or out of bounds to pray about pressing needs, sickness, worries, even joys – but reading God’s Word and praying His Word back to Him is one of the reasons God gave us His Word. This practice is what John the apostle had in mind when he said in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” This verse isn’t saying in prayer we approach God as a vending machine, that if we just say the right things in the right way the desired result will come about, no. This is saying that prayer brimming with confidence is prayer ‘according to His will.’ Where do we find His will? In His Word. Church, all of our prayer ought to be founded on the Word of God, all of our prayer ought to have the ultimate aim of glorifying God, and all of our prayer ought to be offered up with a bold and confident faith in God, not because our prayers are so eloquent or grand or long but because prayer based on the Word of God aimed at the glory of God is always in line with the will of God.

Conclusion:

No man could rise higher than David has risen in this moment. He was soaring in praise and in prayer, likely higher than he’d ever have before. But in a few short chapters it would all change as he comes plummeting down in sin and rebellion.[12] Such is the fickleness of man. We not only see this pattern in him, we see it ourselves. Only one Man didn’t follow suit in the up and down sinful shape of man, the Man Jesus Christ. So, if David can hear of great promises in this passage and can be stunned into a deep and vast praise filled prayer, how much more can we? David hears of the promise and rejoices, we have seen the promise come to pass, we can not only sit in wonder before the Lord and His Word, we can not only rejoice, we can plead God’s promises back to Him![13]

But this is a big idea, that God by redeeming Israel, choosing David, and choosing and redeeming us…makes for Himself a glorious name. How are we to understand that grand and lofty idea? Well, think of like this. God is like a mountain spring. His spring, that is Himself, constantly overflows and supplies others. So, the great question is: how do you glorify Him as that overflowing spring? If you want to glorify a mountain spring, you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have been refreshed and have gained strength enough to go back down the trail in the sustenance of that spring to tell the people the glories of what you’ve found.[14] This is what it’s like to be saved by God, feast on God, and spread the fame of His name to all who’ll hear.


[1] Richard D. Phillips, 2 Samuel (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2018), 155.

[2] C. F. Keil-F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Keil-Delitzsch) 10 Volume Set, Reprint edition (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982), 350.

[3] John Woodhouse, 2 Samuel: Your Kingdom Come, ed. R. Kent Hughes (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2015), 222.

[4] John L. Mackay and J. Gary Millar, ESV Expository Commentary: 1 Samuel-2 Chronicles, ed. Iain M. Duguid, Hamilton Jr James M., and Jay Sklar (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2019), 337–38.

[5] Dale Ralph Davis, 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity, Revised edition (Fearn, Ross-Shire Scotland: Christian Focus, 2013), 100.

[6] Woodhouse, 2 Samuel, 227.

[7] Woodhouse, 227.

[8] Woodhouse, 2 Samuel, 230.

[9] Peter J. Leithart, A Son to Me: An Exposition of 1 & 2 Samuel (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003), 220.

[10] Mackay and Millar, ESV Expository Commentary, 340. See also Woodhouse, 2 Samuel, 230-231.

[11] Davis, 2 Samuel, 106.

[12] Leithart, A Son to Me, 221.

[13] Phillips, 2 Samuel, 164.

[14] John Piper, Serving God With Your Thirst (Minneapolis, MN: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/serve-god-with-your-thirst, accessed on 10/11/19).

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