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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

2 Samuel 7

Verses 18-19

DISCOURSE: 314
DAVID’S GRATITUDE

2 Samuel 7:18-19. Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house, for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?

IT is no small comfort to reflect that the dispositions of our hearts are noticed by God, and, if good, are well-pleasing in his sight. There are many holy desires and purposes which we are not able to accomplish; which yet are accepted before God, as much as if they had been carried into effect. David had conceived a wish and determination to build a house for God, in order that the ark, which was the symbol of the divine presence, might no more dwell within curtains, while he himself was dwelling in a house of cedar. But God did not suffer him to execute his purpose, on account of his having shed much blood in war [Note: 1 Chronicles 22:8.]: nevertheless he commended the desire (“thou didst well that it was in thy heart [Note: 1 Kings 8:18.]”) and made it an occasion of discovering to him the honour that was to be conferred on him and his posterity. Struck with the majesty and condescension of God, David went in before him, and burst forth into these expressions of devoutest adoration. We shall shew,

I.

What grounds David had for gratitude and thanksgiving—

Though David was not suffered to gratify his own inclinations in the particular before mentioned, yet he found abundant cause of thankfulness in,

1.

The mercies already vouchsafed to him—

[He had been taken from a very low employment [Note: ver. 8.]; chosen in preference, not only to all his own family, but also to the whole nation; preserved in the midst of numberless dangers; exalted in due season to the throne prepared for him; made victorious over all his enemies; and brought to a state of unrivalled power, affluence, and prosperity [Note: ver. 9.]. On a review of these mercies, he could not but be astonished at the divine goodness to him, or refrain from proclaiming it with rapturous admiration.]

2.

The mercies yet further promised to him—

[God had promised that he should have a son, on whom the honour of building a temple should be conferred; yea, moreover, that the Messiah also should spring from his loins, and sit upon his throne for ever and ever [Note: ver. 12–14 with Hebrews 1:5.]. In comparison of this, David observes that all his personal advancement was “but a light matter:” and then, as utterly at a loss to express his sense of the divine goodness, he exclaims, “Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” is this the way in which mean and worthless men, such as he felt himself to be, are treated by their fellow-creatures [Note: See 1 Chronicles 17:17.]? No: it is peculiar to God, who magnifies his own sovereignty in conferring the richest benefits on the most unworthy of mankind.]

But however distinguished a favourite of Heaven David was,

II.

We have still greater reason for gratitude and thanksgiving—

Let us view our obligations to God,

1.

Generally—

[As creatures, we were originally formed of the dust of the earth: yet, though so mean in our original, we were distinguished above the whole creation by having a rational and immortal soul breathed into us, and a capacity given us to know, to love, to serve, and to enjoy God. Let any one of the human race reflect on this, and say, whether he has not reason to adore the goodness of God, who has given him powers so infinitely superior to any that are possessed by the brute creation, and faculties that shall enjoy eternal blessedness, if it be not utterly his own fault. Let but this elevation of our nature be considered, and we shall exclaim, with profoundest reverence, “Who am I, O Lord God, that thou hast brought me hitherto?”

As sinners, we have still further ground for praise. We are by nature mean; but by practice we have been inexpressibly vile. Yet when we were deserving of nothing but his wrath, God loved us, and gave his own Son to die for us. Further, when we were even trampling on the blood that was shed for us, he sent his Spirit to reveal his Son in our hearts, and both to fit us for his glory, and to bring us safely to the possession of it. And “is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” Man selects those who are great and worthy, in order to bestow on them his richest favours; but God, in choosing us, “has lifted the beggar from the dunghill, to set him among princes, and to make him inherit a throne of glory [Note: 1 Samuel 2:8.].” O what marvellous condescension is this! and what gratitude does it demand at our hands! “Who is a God like unto thee [Note: Exodus 15:11.]?”]

2.

Particularly, as compared with David—

[In no respect are the obligations here specified to be put in competition with those vouchsafed to us. Was he chosen from the low estate of a shepherd? Look at the state from which God has chosen us. We were fallen, guilty, hell-deserving creatures, utterly incapable of ever restoring ourselves to his favour; yet did God set his love upon us, and elevate us, not to an earthly throne, but to a crown and kingdom in heaven itself. And not from earthly enemies, such as David had to encounter, has he preserved us, but from all the powers of darkness, against whose wiles and devices it was not possible for us to stand, if we had not been upheld by his almighty power and grace. And though it must be confessed, that to be the progenitor of the Messiah was an inconceivably high honour, yet to be interested in him, and united to him as members of his mystical body, and made fellow-heirs with him of all the glory and felicity of heaven, is an infinitely higher honour. And all this is vouchsafed to us, so that in all the points which David enumerates, we are far above him: our election is from a far more degraded state; our elevation is to a far higher throne; our preservation is from far greater dangers, and more powerful enemies; and our destiny, to an infinitely higher honour than any which a carnal relation to Christ could confer. How well then may we exclaim, What are we, that we should ever be brought to such a state as this?]

That this subject may be brought home more powerfully to our hearts and consciences, let us comprehend it under two pertinent reflections:
1.

How wonderful has been God’s love to us!

[Well may we say with David, “Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” No: nothing like it ever did, or could, exist among men. Man selects the most worthy as the objects of his love: but God has chosen the most unworthy, even us, who had reduced ourselves to the condition of the fallen angels, and deserved nothing but their portion at his hands. Man confers but small benefits, which, however valued by his fellows, scarcely deserve a thought: but God confers riches and honours which far exceed all human comprehension. Man soon repents of the favours he has conferred, when those on whom he has bestowed them prove themselves unworthy of them. But “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” on his part [Note: Romans 11:29.]: yea, “if it had not been that He was unchangeable, not a soul amongst us could ever have been saved [Note: Malachi 3:6.].” Further, what man bestows is but for a little time: the present short life is the only season wherein we can possess any benefits conferred by man. But what God bestows, he gives for ever and ever: and death, so far from terminating our felicity, brings us into the most complete and everlasting enjoyment of it.

“Behold then, what manner of love is this wherewith the Father hath loved us!” Verily, if David was quite overwhelmed with the favours conferred on him, much more may we, whose obligations are so infinitely higher, and more permanent than his.]

2.

How faint and cold is our love to him!

[See David coming into the presence of his God, and sitting in the temple before him. His mind is quite oppressed with a sense of gratitude, and words seem altogether inadequate to express his feelings. Yet, notwithstanding our obligations to God so infinitely exceed his, how rarely has God ever seen us in the posture of David! Many of us, it is to be feared, have never spent so much as one hour in our whole lives, in his contemplations, and in his exercises — — —
Do you ask, How shall I attain his frame? Beg of God to work it in you by his good Spirit. And especially do as he did. He determined to promote to the very utmost of his power the honour and glory of his heavenly Benefactor: and then it was that God revealed to him all the purposes of his grace respecting the raising up of a son from his loins to execute the work which he had contemplated, and to make that son of his the progenitor of the Messiah himself. Improve ye in like manner for God all the faculties and powers that ye possess; and in honouring God ye yourselves shall be honoured. Only exert yourselves for God, and every thing which you do, or only devise, for him, shall return in blessings into your own bosom.]


Verse 27

DISCOURSE: 315
THE PROMISES AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER

2 Samuel 7:27. Thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.

IF we were to judge from the infinite distance which exists between the Creator and his creatures, and especially between a holy God and sinful man, we should say, it was vain, if not impious, to imagine that any request of ours could enter into the ears of Jehovah, or that he could by any means be induced to notice it with his favourable regards. Indeed, it God had not, of his own sovereign mercy, commanded us to spread our wants before him, and assured us of an answer to our supplications, Beelzebub himself might as well hope for acceptance in prayer, as we. But “God has given us exceeding great and precious promises;” which we may plead with him, just as David pleaded in the passage before us.
David had desired to build an house for the Lord: and Nathan, the prophet, had encouraged him in his purpose. But God, not willing that David, who had shed so much blood, should execute that office, devolved it upon one who should spring from his loins [Note: ver. 12, 13.]; at the same time assuring David, that God would make his family to be of long continuance upon his throne: “The Lord telleth thee, that he will make thee an house [Note: ver. 11.].” Encouraged by this promise, David poured out his soul before God in prayer, saying, “Now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said [Note: ver. 25.].” Then, apologizing, if I may so speak, for presuming to offer such a prayer, he refers expressly to the promise before specified, and assigns that as the ground on which he had found it in his heart to pray this prayer [Note: The text.]. Then he goes on, again and again reverting to this in vindication of himself: “And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant. Therefore, now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever [Note: ver. 28, 29.].”

Now, in speaking upon this subject, I will shew,

I.

The connexion which exists between the promises of God and our prayers—

The promises of God are, in fact,

1.

Our warrant for asking—

[Pardon, peace, holiness, glory! How should it be, that we, sinful creatures, should dare to ask such blessings at God’s hands? But God has promised them all. There is not any one thing that an immortal soul can need, which is not the subject of an express promise in the word of God — — —Moreover, he permits his sinful creatures to come to him “as his remembrancers.” By this very name are his suppliant people designated [Note: Isaiah 62:6-7. See the marginal version.]; and every one of them is authorized to spread his promises before him, saying, “Remember thy word unto thy servant, wherein thou hast caused me to hope [Note: Psalms 119:49.];” and “do unto me as thou hast said [Note: ver. 11, 16.]” — — —]

2.

Our security for receiving—

[God is altogether immutable, both in his nature [Note: Malachi 3:6; James 1:17.], and in his word [Note: Hebrews 6:17.] — — — “Sooner should heaven and earth pass away, than one jot or tittle of his word should fail [Note: Matthew 24:35.].” As for difficulties, we have nothing to do with them. Sarah sinned in suffering these to have the least influence upon her mind: for “Is any thing too hard for the Lord [Note: Genesis 18:10-14.]?” Our confidence cannot possibly be too strong, when we have an express promise to rely upon. We should have this as an abiding principle within us; as a principle which no difficulties whatever should shake: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good [Note: Numbers 23:19.]?” Never did any one trust in the Lord, and find himself disappointed of his hope. As Joshua appealed to all Israel, so may we appeal to every believer in the universe: “Ye know, in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you: all are come to pass unto you; and not one thing hath failed thereof [Note: Joshua 23:14.].”]

From the example of David I will further point out,

II.

Our duty in relation to them—

1.

We must embrace them as made over to us in Christ Jesus—

[It is “in Christ alone that they are all Yea, and Amen [Note: 2 Corinthians 1:20.]:” and it is to those only who are in Christ by a living faith, that any of them are made. True, indeed, there are general promises given to those who come to Christ [Note: Matthew 11:28; John 6:37.]: but we never have any part in them, till we actually perform the conditions on which alone they are vouchsafed. The Covenant of grace provides for us all that we can ever stand in need of. But we must “lay hold on that covenant,” and on “Jesus the Mediator of that covenant,” before we can possess the blessings of it. Let not this be forgotten. Let us not suppose that we are to obtain mercy in ways of our own devising. We must come to God by Christ: we must plead what Christ has done and suffered for us: we must trust in him alone. There is “no access to God, for any of us, but by Him [Note: John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18.]:” “nor is there any name but His, whereby any man can be saved [Note: Acts 4:12.].”]

2.

We must treasure them up in our minds, in order to plead them before God—

[In going to God, we greatly honour him, when we remind him of his promises, and declare our entire dependence on them. See the example of Jacob, who for his power in prayer was surnamed Israel [Note: Genesis 32:24-28.]. He had been assured, in a dream, that God would be with him in all places, and never leave him till he had fulfilled to him his promises in their fullest extent [Note: Genesis 28:15.]. Full twenty years afterwards, Jacob, in a season of great distress, reminded God of this promise, saying, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my Father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: deliver me, I pray thee! for thou saidst, I will surely do thee good [Note: Genesis 32:9; Genesis 32:11-12.].” Thus we should bear in mind the promises which God has given us, and present before him those which are in a more peculiar manner suited to our state. This will give us confidence before God; and it will secure to us infallibly an answer of peace: for “this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and, if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him [Note: 1 John 5:14-15.].”]

3.

We must wait with patience for the fulfilment of them—

[God may not answer, either at the time, or in the manner, that our impatient spirits may wish. But though we may ask of him, we are not to dictate to him. We must wait His time, and leave every thing to His disposal. The saints of old “saw the promises afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them [Note: Hebrews 11:13.].” Thus must we do. Times and seasons must be left to God, who alone knoweth what will be eventually best for us. If we “have found it in our hearts to pray unto him,” we may be sure of two things: first, that God himself has put it into our hearts to pray; and next, that he therefore put it into our hearts to pray, because it was previously in his heart to give. It is “through faith and patience that we are to inherit the promises [Note: Hebrews 6:12.]:” and the more dark his dispensations, whether of providence or of grace, may be, the more must we “hold fast our confidence in him,” saying, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him [Note: Job 13:15.].”]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/2-samuel-7.html. 1832.