Meditations of Old Testament Highlights: 21. 1 Chronicles
1 Chron 17:16,17 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God.
Verses can stand out for different reasons. These verses stand out, I believe, because they both reveal David’s humility and God’s oversight. In going into Chronicles we backtrack on history for this part of scripture covers from a different perspective the matters covered in 2 Samuel. David has become king and is settled in Jerusalem, and the ark of the covenant has eventually been brought into Jerusalem and is located in a tent. David has it in mind to build a house for the ark and God, a temple, but Nathan the prophet brings him a word to the effect that his son will do it and not him. Now that might have been a real downer if it wasn’t for the fact that in the word that Nathan brings to him there are many encouragements about Israel’s future and that of his chosen son. Read the passage in 1 Chron 17:7-14.
Note it concludes with a promise: “When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.” (1 Chron 17:11-14) Now, note within that a) the promise of an eternal throne, b) father and son intimacy with God, c) a kingdom over all others that d) will last for ever.
Now of course from our perspective today we can see that such promises apply to the coming of Jesus and his bringing the kingdom of God on earth that will last for ever. From David’s perspective it is just mind blowing and it is this which provokes his response in our starter-verses: “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God.”
Yes, the Lord has reminded him that he has been brought from looking after sheep on the hillside and been made king and if that wasn’t amazing enough the thought of him ushering in through his family, a kingdom that will be greater than any other on earth – and eternal! – just blows him away.
Now let’s think about this some more. First of all, David is aware of his humble background and he completely accepts that he is where he is today because of the Lord. David’s story shows very clearly that he is a man who knows the Lord and has relied upon him through thick and thin – and there have been seriously difficult times along the way!
The second thing to note is that he now struggles to accept what the Lord has said about him, and in this sense these verses stand out as examples of what so many of us struggle with. I have been privileged to bring many personal prophetic words to people and in line with the apostle Paul’s teaching I hope they have always come for “strengthening, encouragement and comfort,” (1 Cor 14:3) and so often I have watched the responses of those to whom such words come and so often they are, “Me? Who am I that you should say this?”
The third thing to note is that David cannot, from his limited view of history, comprehend the future. And neither can we. When the Lord speaks a word of encouragement about our future we cannot see from this present perspective how that will work out. We need to remind ourselves that for that end product to come about there needs to be a process, the Lord working in us, through us and around us to fulfil the things upon His heart. He knows what He wants to achieve and how He wants to do it and, more often than not, it doesn’t come with a flash of lightning, it comes over a long period of time, bringing many changes along the way. When Zechariah heard his wife was to conceive in old age, he struggled with it, basically in unbelief. When Mary heard she was to have a child without the help of a man, her response was, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” (Lk 1:38) She didn’t know how such a thing could happen and so she just trusted God to do it as the angel had said.
Perhaps behind all this, there is a fourth thing to be noted and it is the fact that the Lord would not let David build the Temple, but had to leave it to his son. For what ever reason, the Lord knows we are not the people for some things but, on the other hand, He knows what we are good to achieve and that is why we find ourselves gifted in some ways but not in others in the body of Christ. We may marvel, like David, that God has chosen to do wonderful things in and through us, bringing about changes that years back we could never has dreamed of, and we may praise Him for what He reveals of His plans for us, and then play out part in bringing it about, but we also need to rest in who we are in the body – yes, available for greater things, but not striving with inadequacy that mourns that we are not like someone else. Be who God calls you to be and rejoice in it.