Men Ought Always to Pray: Prayer and Rejoicing

John Slabaugh

David and His Prayers

David is introduced to us in 1 Samuel 16 when he is anointed by Samuel to be the King of Israel. He was likely 22 years old at that time. A few months later, he won his renowned victory over Goliath. He spent most of the next eight years as a fugitive, pursued by Saul who intended to kill him. However God's purposes for him must come to pass and when Saul was dead, David came to the throne of Judah at the age of 30. Many Israelites remained loyal to Saul's son, Ishbosheth, and this led to a seven year civil war. Ishbosheth died and the Israelites came to David to make him king over all Israel at the age of 37. Six years later David and the Israelites had subdued all his enemies and we read, "The Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies" (2Sa 7:1).

God's Message to David

2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17 record that David purposed at that time, to build a House for God in Jerusalem. He spoke to the prophet, Nathan, of this purpose. The Lord sent Nathan to tell David:

"Thou shalt not build Me an house to dwell in" (1Ch 17:4).

"I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight."

"Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel."

"Also the Lord telleth thee that He will make thee an house."

"I will set up thy seed after thee…and I will establish his kingdom."

"He shall build an house for My name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever" (2Sa 7:8-13).

"Thy throne shall be established for ever" (2Sa 7:16).

These promises from God were given to David nine years before Solomon, who was to fulfill some of them, was born! Later God revealed to David why he was not to build the house. "…thou shalt not build an house unto My name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in My sight" (1Ch 22:8). To his credit, David did not pout about God's decision that Solomon would build the house but he prepared an abundance of materials and gave lavishly of his wealth for the Temple he would never see in its beauty and glory.

God reminded David of his past, how God had taken him up as a shepherd lad and raised him up as king over His people. We will rejoice also when we recall where God found us and where we are now.

God also reminded David of His purposes for His people and the place to which He had brought them. Let us remember the assembly is God's assembly, unique in its calling and position before Him; and it is our privilege to be part of that exalted company.

Then follows God's threefold promise of blessing to David's household: God will build it for him, his son will rule in his place, and his throne will be eternal. Solomon's throne is also David's throne that will be established for ever. Without doubt, this promise of an eternal throne, refers to David's greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah. God had revealed to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, and now to David and to his seed, that the Redeemer would come through his line of descendants.

David's Response to God's Message

Nathan retired from the king's presence after delivering this message from God. No wonder we read in the next verse, "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?" David's heart is filled with wonder and worship. We read of his wonder at the riches of God's grace to him in 2 Samuel 7:18-21 and then of his worship in v 22, "Wherefore Thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like Thee, neither is there any God beside Thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears."

David not only rejoices in God's personal blessings, but he recalls God's blessings upon His people in vv 23-24. God redeemed them out of Egypt to be His people and He had become their God. David concludes his worship in prayer for God's further blessing upon himself and his house in vv 25-29. He recites the promises God made to him as the basis for his petitions and expresses his faith that God will do as He promised. "And now, O Lord God, Thou art that God, and Thy words be true, and Thou hast promised this goodness unto Thy servant" (v 28).

It is interesting to note that the first time we find the word "prayer" in the King James translation of the Bible is in 2 Samuel 7:27, "For 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." We do read of Abraham, his nameless servant, Moses, Hannah, and Samuel praying before this occasion.

From our consideration of this occasion in the life of David as he prayed with rejoicing, we may learn to recall the Lord's blessings and promises to us. Surely this will lead to rejoicing as we claim His promised presence in the midst of His own today. Rejoicing is an element of worship and when we rejoice before Him we shall also find our hearts welling up with thanksgiving and praise, not only for what He has done for us but for Who He is in all His power and greatness. Let us ponder our blessings beforehand and meet together, prepared to praise Him at the Lord's table.

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