What does a warrior king do when the land rests? David immediately compares his accommodations with those provided for the Ark of the Covenant and determines to build a temple to replace the tabernacle.
This chapter describes four conversations. In the first we are introduced to Nathan the prophet. I generally think of Nathan coming on the scene when he confronts David over the affair with Bathsheba. We have no idea when Nathan’s relationship with David begins, but when David has a question of God, he asks Nathan for an answer. David suggests to Nathan building a permanent structure to house the ark and Nathan thinks this is a good idea.
God has other ideas and comes to Nathan in the night to let Nathan know that He is building something far greater than a building. He gives Nathan a message for David. God wants Nathan to tell David that it is He that made David successful. He will make David’s name great, but David is not to get a big head. God is building a kingdom that will be led forever by descendants of the house of David. God describes His future relationship with Solomon and looks ahead to Jesus who will finalize the establishment of a forever kingdom.
Nathan reports all that he has heard from God to David. David accepts the message and goes to sit before God. David begins his conversation with God by acknowledging what God has said to him about the past. He expresses gratitude for the description of the future that God provides. David praises God for His uniqueness and the uniqueness of the people He has created.
David concludes by asking God to keep His promises so that God’s name will be great. He concludes by asking God to bless his house forever.
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.”-29 NIV)2 Samuel 7:28-29 NIV
What about us?
I have been taught that physical posture impacts our attitude in prayer. Lying flat on the ground is a cry of desperation before a word is spoken. Kneeling communicates submission and worship. Standing with arms raised indicates a desire to be filled. What I had never thought about was sitting.
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?2 Samuel 7:18 NIV
This posture strikes me as unusual. It speaks to me of a level of comfort and familiarity, yet David’s words are filled with praise and respect. Maybe the best picture is a conversation over a special meal hosted by someone who deeply loves you and whom you deeply respect. David’s words flow freely. Different postures fit different times and it appears appropriate to on occasion sit comfortably in God’s presence.
This morning after my Bible reading the cat wanted to curl up on my lap. Journaling with a notebook in one hand and pen in the other challenged me, but how could I push a purring cat off my lap. Seeing the cat curled up and hearing it purr reminded me of David sitting before the Lord. My normal prayer posture in kneeling, but this morning I tried sitting.
Regardless of our posture our prayer should begin with an acknowledgement of the relationship. God is God and we are not. His power, uniqueness, and superiority in every way set Him far apart. Confessing to God that we understand this is a great way to begin.
It isn’t just that God is God. We need to recognize and admit that regardless of whatever delusions of grandeur we have we are only servants in God’s kingdom. I am in the habit of beginning my prayers with the phrase “Heavenly Father.” Especially when I am self-absorbed, I need to begin my prayers with “Sovereign Lord.” I urge you to try this some time and see what a difference it makes in your attitude in prayer. David uses the phrase translated “Sovereign Lord” in the NIV six times in this prayer.
We have many examples of David’s prayers in the Psalms. I am grateful for this one outside the Psalms as it gives us a picture of David praying. We can learn from David’s posture, attitude, and words.