|THE HUMBLE HEART
2 SAMUEL 7:1-29
Series: David: Heart Matters - Part Seven
Pastor Stephen Muncherian
February 13, 2011
Please turn with me to 2 Samuel 7:1
Last Sunday - when we last left David - David was learning to do things God’s way. When our hearts become truly sensitive to God’s heart - meaning when we truly care from the core of who we are about what God cares about - when our hearts become truly sensitive to God’s heart - then and only then do we begin to have real freedom and happiness. When we saw that in how David learned to pay attention to the things that God considered important. Does that sound familiar?
We sing a Newsboys song - Blessed be Your name. Remember these words?
“Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful, where Your streams of abundance flow. And blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness. Blessed be Your name.”
It is a whole lot easier to sing “Blessed be Your name” - to be sensitive - obedient to God - when we’re in the land that’s plentiful.
But, sometimes God loving us means God taking away from us something that we have our heart deeply set on. God revealing to us His heart. “That’s not My plan. That might be a really awesome thing you’re focused on doing. But its not what I have for you to do.” That’s a harder obedience. Yes?
That direction of life course correction is where we find David this morning.
2 Samuel 7 - starting at verse 1 - verses 1 to 3 focus us on David’s Desire. Let’s say that together, “David’s desire.”
Verse 1: Now it came about when the king - David - lived in his house, and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.”
We’ve seen David as a warrior - battling Goliath - the Philistines - playing cat and mouse with Saul - David the leader of mercenaries. Now we’re seeing something completely different. God has given David rest on every side from his enemies. That didn’t happen a whole lot in David’s life. These are good times in the kingdom.
not hard to imagine David sitting at home - in his
cedar paneled house - propped up in his barcalounger -
reading a good scroll by the fire - and David’s mind
begins to spin - to reflect a bit on his life and his
In that reflection comes a vision - a dream - that David shares with Nathan. Nathan who is a close friend - a counselor - a prophet - a man of God. “Nathan, its not right for me to be living in such luxury while the ark of God is sitting out there in a tent.”
Last Sunday we saw how David brought God’s ark to Jerusalem. The ark was a box that God had given specific instructions to Moses on how to build it. The ark contained symbols of God’s relationship with His people - a box that the very covering of which - the lid - was known as the mercy seat - the place of meeting between God and His people.
Once a year - on the Day of Atonement the blood of a bull and goat were sprinkled on that Mercy Seat - the blood being a temporary covering and removing of the sins of the people. All of which was a foreshadowing of God covering for all time the sin of His people through the sacrifice of the Messiah Jesus.
Point being that God’s ark that was holy because God made it to be holy. God made His ark to be the meeting place of God and His people - a unique focal point of their relationship.
How can the king live in such a lovely home while the very presence of God himself is out there in a tent? Bottom line being - David’s dream - his vision - the desire of his heart - is to build a permanent home for God’s ark - a temple worthy of His God.
We need to grab this. From what we know about David we know that David was sincere in what he desired to do. There’s nothing in here about David glorifying himself. There’s no selfish ambition.
People with godly ambition - their ambition isn’t rooted in their position or in gaining recognition - what they gain for themselves. Godly ambition is about God being glorified. Its about accomplishing something for God - moving His kingdom forward.
That’s what David is interested in here. His dream - his vision - his heart’s desire - is about God being glorified - as David builds this temple for God’s ark.
We all have visions - dreams of what we’d like our lives to be like - where we see our lives going - what we’d like to do or accomplish in life. Sometimes those dreams come as we sit around a campfire at a camp - or off on some retreat or conference someplace - or listening to a sermon - in a Bible study - or during the quietness of our own time alone with God. Ah hah moments. Things in our lives line up. We have clarity. Our heart’s desire is to pursue that dream.
Sometimes a dream comes from God. Sometimes it doesn’t. It may be an awesome God glorifying dream. There may be nothing wrong with what we’ve set our heart on doing. We may even have godly people around us like Nathan who are telling us to “Go for it.”
But maybe its not of God. Hard to know which is which. Isn’t it? Hard sometimes to be open to God when it isn’t. A life direction correcting moment. That’s where David found himself.
Verses 4 to 17 focus on God’s Desire. Let’s say that together, “God’s desire” God has a plan for David’s life.
Verse 4: But in the same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in?
Tough spot to be in. Isn’t it? Earlier Nathan - godly man - the king’s confidant - Nathan tells David, “Go for it. God is with you.” Now he’s got to go back and tell David he - Nathan - got it wrong. He wasn’t listening to God. The Lord has something different in mind. “Great dream David. But, its not God’s plan.” Tough spot to be in. Pretty humbling.
Verse 6: For I - God - have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’
God never asked for a temple. The timing of this - the implementation of this - all this is what’s on David’s heart. Its David’s dream. Not God’s plan. There’s a direction in life correction coming here.
Verse 8: Now therefore - because this is David’s dream and not God’s plan - therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel.
Notice the affirmation in that. Its not a rebuke. Its encouragement. “David, I choose you and gifted you to be the king - to lead My people.” Who choose David? God.
Verse 9: I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.
“David you’re a great warrior. I’ve been with you in the battles. Made you victorious. Your reputation is going to be as great as anyone in history.” Which it is. Who’s doing all that in David’s life? God. “David you’re My man.” Affirmation. Encouragement.
Verse 10: I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly - like when they were slaves in Egypt - even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you.
The Almighty Sovereign God of Creation Who delivered His people from Egypt and established them in land that He - God - promised to them. It is God’s plan that God has been working throughout the history of His people that God establishes His people in the land and establishes David over God’s people. God establishing David - and his kingly line - so that David can lead God’s people in peace.
“David, you are an integral - crucial - part of what I am doing in the life of My people.” Affirming and encouraging.
12: When your days are complete and you lie
down with your fathers, I will raise up your
descendant after you, who will come forth from you,
and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build a house for My name, and I will
establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him
and he will be a son to me; when he commits iniquity,
I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes
of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not
depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I
removed from before you. Your
house and your kingdom shall be established
forever.’”’ In accordance
with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan
spoke to David.
Every godly parent prays that their children will grow to be the men and women that God has created them to be - to walk closely with God - knowing God - being blessed by God - living in obedience to God - living out God’s great purposes for their lives.
This is one amazing promise. “David, your son is going to be like a son to me.” That’s an intimate relationship. “Your son is going to build My temple. Through him your kingdom will be established forever.” What an awesome vision to grab onto.
Solomon - David’s son that’s being talked about here - when Solomon is speaking at the dedication of the temple that God did use Solomon to build - Solomon says, “It was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not built the house, but your son who will be born to you, he shall build the house for My name.” (2 Chronicles 6:7-9)
God says to David, “You did well that it was in your heart.” God affirming - encouraging - David’s dream - the desire of David’s heart.
Grab this: There was no sin in what David desired. God is not judging David because of sin. God is simply redirecting David’s plan. Bottom line: “David, your son is going to build the temple. Not you.”
Not too many years ago when I was in high school and thinking about what college to go to - the future direction of my life - I thought it would be a great idea to go to Wheaton back in Illinois. Great academics. Awesome campus. So - trying to understand God’s will I prayed about it. I did the Gideon thing. Throw a fleece out in front of God and see if he soaks it.
I told God, “If you want me to go to Wheaton then I’m not going to contact them. You’ll have to have them contact me.”
About two weeks later - out of the blue - I got a phone call from a lady in the church who said that a representative of Wheaton was in the area and wanted to meet with me. A man who - in that meeting - greatly encouraged me to apply to Wheaton.
Done deal. Right? I told people, “God wants me to go to Wheaton.”
I filled out the application - sent it in - and was promptly rejected. “Dear Stephen we’re sorry to inform you blah blah blah.” Don’t you just love those letters? So, knowing God’s will for my life I applied again and was promptly blessed with another rejection letter.
A tad later a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you apply to Biola?” Not my first choice. Not my announced God’s direction for my life. But what could it hurt? I applied - well after the filing deadline had passed. I was accepted. Ultimately the choice that God used tremendously in my life. God’s plan.
There was nothing sinful about desiring to go to Wheaton. It just wasn’t God’s plan for my life. What David is facing here isn’t sin. Its not a question of being wrong. It’s a question of accepting God’s “no” and living within the awesome plan of God for David’s life.
Verses 18 to 29 are David’s Response. Let’s say that together, “David’s response.” How did David respond when God redirected his life?
Verse 18: Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord,
Grab that. David went and sat before God. Maybe back to his barcalounger. Someplace where he could get alone with God.
Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord God - when those two names of God appear together - here in the NASB English translation - Lord and God - the meaning is literally something like “O Sovereign Lord” We need to grab the weight and power of that title - David - contemplating - understanding at the heart level who He is before the awesomeness of Who God is.
“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord God - “O Sovereign Lord” - for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Sovereign Lord. Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Sovereign Lord!
David’s response is like child sitting before Abba - Father. “Who am I that You took me from being an insignificant shepherd leading a little flock of sheep and have given me this throne that endures forever.”
We need to do this every now and then. Probably more now than then. To sit before God and realize just how greatly He has blessed us. Who are we? That God blesses us with clothing and warm homes and food on our tables and health and strength? That God sustains us employed or unemployed? To have the families we have? Our spouses? The opportunities? This congregation to be a part of? Salvation? Forgiveness of sin? Life with God now and forever because of Jesus?
There’s David - disappointed - probably - but still, “Who am I that God should bless me so.” “You God are sovereign.”
Verse 21: For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. For This reason, You are great, O Lord God - O Sovereign Lord - for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
David contemplating the awesomeness of Who God is. “You are great. There is no other God like You.”
Verse 23: And what one nation on earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods? For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God.
David contemplating God’s sovereign power. “No other God could do or would do what You’ve done. And its all about You. To God be the glory.”
Verse 25: Now therefore, O Sovereign Lord, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken, that Your name may be magnified for ever - catch that - do what you will with us that You God would be glorified - by saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’; and may the house of Your servant David be established before You. For You, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You. Now, O Sovereign Lord, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Sovereign Lord, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”
Notice the relationship. How does David describe himself before the Sovereign God? “Your servant.”
When God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint David - David was a boy - out in the fields - faithfully keeping his father’s sheep - doing what brought honor and success and glory to his father. That’s the heart of a servant. A servant’s goal is to make the person he serves look better - make that person more successful. God saw in David’s heart the humility of a servant’s heart. A heart that God could call a heart after His own heart.
If you would, turn forward with me to 1 Chronicles 22. Actions speak louder than what? Words. David’s response in 2 Samuel 7 is an amazing prayer. But sometimes we pray things in a moment of redirection - of humbling - that later on we somehow struggle to live by.
1 Chronicles 22 - starting at verse 1 - look with me at the humility of David’s heart on display - his actions. 1 Chronicles 22 - verse 1: Then David said, “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
David purchases the land that the temple is to be built on. There he’s unrolling the blue prints - pointing out where things will be. Knowing that he’s not the one who’s going build all that. Knowing that he’ll be dead before the structure is even begun.
Verse 2: So David gave orders to gather the foreigners who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to hew out stones to build the house of God. David prepared large quantities of iron to make the nails for the doors of the gates and for the clamps, and more bronze than could be weighed; and timbers of cedar logs beyond number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought large quantities of cedar timber to David. David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore now I will make preparation for it.” So David made ample preparations before his death.
That’s the humble heart of a servant on display. I’m not suppose to build it. But, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure my son is successful in fulfilling the dream. And then, I’m going to step back and let you O Sovereign Lord glorify your name through the work of another - my son.
Paul writes the Corinthians, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:5,6)
The ambition of a godly man or woman is to glorify God - not self. That’s the humble heart of a servant. Regardless of who gets the credit - regardless of what needs redirecting - God is sovereign and I will follow His plan for my life. To God be the glory.
There is one truth of application that would be helpful for us to focus on this morning. Here it is: When God says, “No” - our best response is humble cooperation. Let’s say that together, “When God says no our best response is humble cooperation.”
That’s hard. Isn’t it?
Biola’s not the only course correction God has made in my life. Some of those course corrections have cut deep into my heart - some have been very humbling - some painful. There are times when I have resisted and even rejected God’s course corrections. Not a good thing to do.
We all have visions of what we desire for ourselves - families - occupations - schools - standards of living - ways we’d like to serve God. When we set our hearts on pursing something - maybe we make public declarations of where we feel God is leading us - maybe we give years of our lives to pursing a course of direction - we have it all mapped out - we’ve given time and money to getting there - and it cuts deep when things don’t go they way we’ve envisioned. When God calls us to something different.
run across people - in the church - people who are
trying to hang on to the vision that they had for
their lives. They’re
living in guilt and despair. People
who’ve even given up on God. Who
live with such great disappointment.
Not because they’ve been judged by God because
of some great sin. But
because they’ve struggled to accept His redirection of
Who’s this? Tony Dungy. Back in 2007 Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl championship. Recently Tony Dungy was asked, “Given your coaching style and calm demeanor, were you ever criticized for not being ambitious enough?”
Tony’s answer: “Absolutely. I didn’t fit the stereotype of a National Football League coach. If you’re different and you win, people say your different characteristics are great. If you don’t win, those same characteristics are the reason you’re losing. When we were having trouble, they said, ‘If he was more edgy, if he pushed the players harder, they would win.’”
Question: “How did you respond?”
Answer: “I wasn’t trying to satisfy the critics. I was trying to satisfy the Lord.” (1)
Life is about God and what He - and only He - desires for us.
Chuck Swindoll writes this: “God does not call everybody to build temples. He calls some people to be soldiers. He calls some people to do the gutsy work in the trenches. He calls some people to represent Him on foreign soil, but He doesn’t call everyone. God has all kinds of creative ways to use us - ways we can’t even imagine and certainly can’t see up there around the next bend in the road.” (2)
Godly ambition is focused on glorifying God. Not our vision for our lives. Not what other people think our lives should be about. But humble obedience to God’s plan for our lives - even if that means giving up what we desire in order to pursue what God desires for us.
Martha Snell Nicholson for 35 years suffered from 4 incurable diseases. She was bed ridden and in constant pain. Quite a course correction. Anyone here ever hear of Martha Snell Nicholson? Martha was a sister in Christ who wrote poetry. This one is entitled “Treasures.”
One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth’s highways, grieving,
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift those empty hands to Me!”
So I held my hands toward Heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches
Till They could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full. (3)
Maybe your dreams have been shattered. Maybe they’re crumbling at your feet. Maybe your clinging to a dream but the only way to see if fulfilled is to give back to God. Maybe you need to allow God to correct your course. Maybe you need to let go of bitterness and pride and accept God’s correction of your course. Maybe your just empty handed and wondering what happened.
Sometimes God says yes. Sometimes God says no. But whatever God’s direction - His direction is always right.
God is ready to fill your empty hands in ways that you or I could never imagine - if - you let go of what you are clinging to - open your hands up to Him - open your heart up to Him - in humility - in obedience - in praise - as David did.
1. Interview in Leadership Magazine, Fall 2010
2. Charles Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny
3. Martha Snell Nicholson, “Treasures,” Ivory Palaces
As a general reference for this sermon/series I have been using the book by Charles Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny - I highly recommend this book as a tremendous study on the life of David.
indicated, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN
STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,
1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman
Foundation. Used by