Praying the promises

Slices

Prepare

Thank God for his faithfulness to you.

Bible passage

2 Samuel 7:18–29

David’s prayer

18 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? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant – and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!

20 ‘What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.

22 ‘How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel – the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 24 You have established your people Israel as your very own for ever, and you, Lord, have become their God.

25 ‘And now, Lord God, keep for ever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great for ever. Then people will say, “The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!” And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.

27 ‘Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, “I will build a house for you.” So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 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 for ever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed for ever.’

Youth in baseball cap on mountain

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Past, present, future: it’s all here in David’s prayer in a brilliant example to us of active, expectant faith. David looks back with gratitude for all God has done for him and for his people, Israel (vs 18,23,24). In humility, he is careful to acknowledge that it is God’s greatness alone that has brought about Israel’s success, from driving out the people ahead of them to rescuing them from Egypt (v 23). And this is interesting to me: David doesn’t passively assume that God will continue to bless him or bless Israel and establish David’s family line. Instead, David prays back to God the promises the Lord has spoken to him (vs 25–29), asking God to remember these words and to fulfil them. Off the cuff, how many promises from God’s Word could you quickly recall? 

I think David’s prayer could be a key to our prayer lives today. Why not try this in your own prayer life? Write down in a diary or journal three or four promises from God’s Word that impact you personally. Then make time as you pray regularly to bring these promises back to God, repeating to him what he has said in his Word, asking him to fulfil each promise, and for you to see the answers with your own eyes.

Author
James Davies

Respond

‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory’ (2 Corinthians 1:20, ESV).

Deeper Bible study

We praise and thank you today, Lord, for the blessings and gifts you provide. Forgive our focus on the internal (or material), over your eternal fragrance poured over us. 

Yesterday we heard the great I AM speaking with promise and lavishness over David. Today we have that leader broken before God, saying, ‘Who am I?’ (v 18). David is but a servant before God (v 20), something he always has been, but he is now bowed down by the enormity of God, not just for Israel but in his life and legacy. Man may say, ‘Nothing lasts for ever’. God disagrees. David’s kingdom in God’s hand would be eternal (v 29). Our own kingdoms, business and even families will not last for ever, but Jesus will. The greatest privilege of our lives is asking God to show us where we can join him.1 This covenant is so lavish that David unsurprisingly questions: ‘Is this your usual way of dealing with man...?’ (v 19, NIV 1983 edition). It is undeserved love, amazing grace. Once more God has chosen the least: Saul from the smallest tribe, David the smallest son – or Nazareth the place from which nothing good could come.2 Repeatedly, we see God using the weak to shame the strong,3 thereby illuminating his greatness in them. 

What a promise to us! The everlasting kingdom spans the generations, touching those of us who have been so far from the kingdom – yet God, for some utterly incredible reason, reaches down and gives us more than we could ever expect or appreciate. The challenge is to look afresh, to ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’4 I don’t deserve it, but I have received it. Or perhaps, over time, have we switched our eyes from Jesus to the world, its problems, worries and ills?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face; let earthly worries grow dim, as his glory and beauty fill you, not just today but for evermore!5  

1 JD Greear and others, 1 & 2 Samuel, Holman, 2016, p176  2John 1:46  31 Cor 1:27  41 John 3:1  5 From H Lemmel, ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’, 1922 

Author
Andy Robinson

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year: Ezra 9,10; Luke 5

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The All Together Now holiday for families with children who are fostered and adopted starts tomorrow. It’s only the second time that it has run; please pray for John and Rachel Settatree and the team as they lead the holiday, and for a real sense of God’s presence.

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