Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Responding to the Promise of God (1 Chronicles 17:16-27)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you're able, please remain standing and let's hear God's word from first chronicles chapter seventeen. This is now the second half of this chapter and the first half of the chapter. Last week we considered God's covenant with David, his promises, and now we hear David's response, the prayer that he prays to God, response to the promises that he has received. So this is first chronicles chapter seventeen versus sixteen to the end. Let's give our attention to God's word. Then King David went in and sat before Jehovah and Said Who am I, Oh Jehovah God, and what is my house? That you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, Oh God. You have also spoken of your servants House for a great while to come and have shown me Future Generations, Oh Jehovah God. And what more can David say to you for Honoring Your Servant, for you know your servant, for Your Servants Sake, Oh Jehovah, and according to Your own heart, you have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. There is none like you, Oh Jehovah, and there is no god besides you, according to to all that we have heard with our ears, and who is like your people, Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeemed to be his people, making for yourself a name for great and awesome things, and driving out nations before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt, and you made your people, Israel, to be your people forever. And you, Oh Jehovah, became their God. And...

...now, O Jehovah, let the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house be established forever. And do as you have spoken, and your name will be established and magnified forever, saying Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God, and the House of your servant, David, will be established before you, for you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore, your servant has found courage to pray before you. And now, Oh Jehovah, you are God and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now you have been pleased to bless the House of your servant that it may continue forever before you, for it is you, Oh Jehovah, who have blessed, and it is blessed forever. May God bless his word to us. Please be see you kids, you know that when God speaks, you are to respond, because you know, as the adults know, that when authorities speak to you, you're supposed to respond. If mom or dad says, Hey, I want you to go clean the dishes off the table and you just look at them and you don't respond and you don't say anything. You don't say a yes or an okay, or can I finish this up first, you know you're going to be in trouble. You know you're going to get something like have you heard me? Did you hear what I said? Well, this is true for all of us. When an authority speaks to us, we are supposed to respond and we're supposed to respond appropriately and fittingly. Sometimes that's a command. If someone who is in charge of...

...you says you need to do this, you say yes, I will do this. That's an appropriate and fitting response. But there's other kinds of things that people say, other kinds of ways in which we respond. Sometimes somebody may give you a gift. Imagine somebody gives you a really great gift, something you've been waiting for, something that you've really been wanting. It's been on your list for some time and you get it, they put it into your hands and you look at it and you just turn around and walk away. That's not an appropriate response, is it? Where's the thank you, where's the wow, I really appreciate this, or how did you do this or how did you know? When people speak to us, especially when authority speak to us, especially when somebody WHO's an authority over US gives us a gift, we're called to respond and to respond in an appropriate way. But when it comes to God, many, many people, including me, fail to respond or we fail to respond in a proper way. Perhaps some of these things are familiar to you. A God speaks, he offers something to you, he promises something to you, and you act as if it's kind of an automatic thing, as if you deserve it. It was. I was reminded recently. Elder for a reminded me recently how often we we pray for things and then we don't return thanks for them after we've received them. We Act as if it's automatical. Of course I deserve this, of course I get to have this thing. We have this kind of presumptive thing, presumptiveness about us, like we deserve this, so God must give this to me. Of course he offered it to me. I'm that kind of guy.

Well, no, that's not right. This is a poor response to assume and or act as if the things that God gives us are automatic or that we deserve them. That's a that's a poor response. Others don't respond to what's offered, but respond to something else. God gives them one thing and they respond as if he's given them another, failing to actually pay attention to what's been given. Others fail to respond properly by fearing receiving. God says here's a gift, it's for you, and they say no, couldn't be for me, I don't believe you get it away from me. I don't deserve that. I'm a sinner, I'm unholy, I'm not good enough to get a gift from God. Well, that may be true, but if God desires to give a gift, surely he's figured out a way to make you worthy or to make his purposes worthy. So acting as if it's automatic, not responding properly, responding in fear there's probably a bunch of other ways. We can list bad ways to respond to God giving a gift to us. But here in first chronicle seventeen, in David's prayer, we have this very wonderful example, a great example of how we ought to respond when God gives us something. We have this holy example of what it means, in particular, to pray. This is how we respond to God, by praying to him. We're told here and for or we're given this example in first chronicles seventeen how to respond to the Lord, a holy way to respond. But more than that, God also teaches us in this passage the why we ought to respond or the what we are responding to. So I want...

...to think about David's prayer this evening with you and will do so under three points. First, a covenant for David, Second, a prayer for God and third, an example for us. So three things, a covenant for David, a prayer for God and then an example for us. Those are our headings. So First, a covenant for David. If you want to understand the prayer of David, if you want to understand why it's a good example of a of a prayer, you have to understand the thing that he is receiving, and this we considered last time, but you'll notice it's also embedded here in the prayer itself. It's a good reminder that David's prayer is actually responding to a particular promise. So, for example, in Verse Twenty Five, and there are other places, but in verse twenty five we read for you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Do you remember what David's talking about here? Do you remember what happened in the first part of first chronicles? Seventeen? David is in his palace, his beautiful palace made of Cedar Imported Wood, majestic, standing there and he looks out on the Ark of God, which he's gone through a lot of trouble and and and and a lot of pomp and circumstance and other things. That's not the exact what I want to use, but there's been a much ado about bringing the arc to Jerusalem and he looks out on it and he says, is it right for God to dwell in a tent? And he goes to Nathan, remember, he goes to Nathan and says, I'm going to build a house for God. I'm going to make a temple so that I'm not in this great palace and God's in a tent, but so that God can be in a palace as well, a temple. Nathan says, Go David, do what's in your heart. But then God comes to Nathan and says, don't tell him that. Chell him...

...the opposite. Tell Him, don't build a house for me, because I'm going to build a house for you. That's the good that God gives, that's the present that God gives to David. He says, you want to build me a house? No, because I'm going to build you a house. And when he says a house like that, he doesn't just mean this a palace that David already has built, although God has certainly given him that, but he means this great family and, in particular, a son that will come and establish this family of David and the throne of David forever. You remember how many times that word forever is used in God's promise to David, over and over and over again. If memory serves it's something like eight times. He says forever, I will establish this forever, forever, forever. God doesn't just want another king to come after David. He wants to establish a dynasty through this servant of his forever, a throne to rule over his people and over the nation's for all eternity. This is what God promises to David. David says I should build God a temple and God responds by saying I'm going to build you a house, a kingdom of throne for all eternity. Well, that's the promise, that's the Covenant for David. So what's David's prayer for God or to God was? We Look at David's prayer, you can see different ingredients. You could think of it as ingredients, like ingredients for a cake. A good cake will be made up of, you know, sugar and flour and eggs and probably some other things. I don't really cook, but this cake takes ingredients right, and a good prayer has certain ingredients to it as well, and we see several of those here.

The first thing you see is humility. That's the first ingredient of this prayer. Notice how David Starts. He's been given this amazing promise. God has made this covenant with him. And what does he say? Well, of course I'm a king after all. No, he says, who am I? Who Am I, Oh Jehovah, God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far? You See, even before considering the future promises that God has just said he will give it to David, David says, even what you've already given me I don't deserve. You remember what God said and the first person, first part of first chronicles, seventeen, he says, you were nothing, you are a shepherd and I've made you a king. You remember, too, how that shepherd boy was chosen. Samuel, when he comes to annoint him, goes and goes and he he looks at all the brothers and and he thinks, will surely it must be one of these. And David sort of left left, left alone, until finally says to Jesse, is there anyone else? He says, well, there's my son and my son David, and that was the one, this shepherd boy, this boy God would turn into a king. But this great thing that's happened to David, David says, and this was a small thing in your eyes. Oh God. This is a good reminder, by the way, of events and things that happen in our lives. These things happened to us which are cataclysmic, life changing. Maybe it's a great thing, maybe it's a great turmoil, whatever it is, but to God, David says it was a small thing in his eyes to do something so great.

You, here is humility. Who Am I, he even says in verse eighteen. He you finds himself a somewhat speechless. And what more can David say to you for Honoring Your Servant? Have you ever felt like that before God, to simply not have the words to express your thankfulness, to be somewhat speechless at the goodness of God's grace? That's humility, and you notice that the humility is not a focus on himself. Sure, David says who am I, and he reflects on his weakness, but it's all in the context of God's greatness, of what God has done for his servant, the great things God has done, how small it was in his eyes. When David speaks in this way, he's humble, yes, but he's humble and it's true humility because he's focused on God. It's not a false humility where he's focused on himself, and in that he's not obsequious. That's a word that means like in genuine groveling, this kind of flattery or way of puffing up someone who's an authority over you, over you so that you can be thought of as being better. That's not what's going on here. David is truly humble, but this humility has another ingredient mixed in with it. It's a humility that's mixed with courage. Remember that example I gave before, where the person is given a gift and refuses to Receive Says No, I don't want it because they're afraid of give it getting the gift. That's not what happens with this piety of David, this godliness. He is humility,...

...this who am I is mixed with courage. Listen to verse twenty five again. For you, my God, have revealed to your servant and that you will build a house for him. Therefore, your servant has found courage to pray before you. Have you ever thought about that? What gives you, in all of your sins and all of your failures and all of your hostility toward God, what gives you the right to go before the Almighty God and say anything, to ask him for forgiveness, to praise his name. I'm what would make you think that you would be worthy to go before God? Well, David has courage to do that. He has courage because of the promise. We go to God and we ask him for forgiveness, because he says, if you come to me for forgiveness, I will forgive you. You See, when we do that, we're trusting in God's promise more than we are in our sinfulness. And that's what David does here. He says you have revealed this thing, so I have found courage to pray before you and to ask that your will will be done. If God hadn't said it, we wouldn't have a right to respond in the way that we do. But because he says it, we can go and courage, with boldness and confidence, before the throne of God and say I'm going to ask you, creator of the heavens and the earth, to do something because you have said you will do it. That kind of prayer, that humility and courage prayer, is a prayer of faith. So we have humility in David's prayer.

We have humility mixed with courage. We also notice that this humility is is not a flattery. It's the praise that he gives God is not undeserved or excessive, but it's truly genuine. We might say that the flip side of this is praise. Our prayers should be filled with the praise of God. Notice some of the things he praises. In Verse Nineteen, he praises God's will. He says, for Your Servants Sake, Oh Jehovah, and according to Your own heart, you have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. You See, God wasn't pressured into doing something. David didn't manipulate him into building in a house. God did it because he wanted to do it according to his own heart. This is David. One of the David's ways of praising God. He says, he praises him for the for the greatness and the goodness and the authority of his will. That's verse nineteen. He also praises God for his uniqueness. That's in the next verse, Verse Twenty. How about this? There is none like you. There is no God besides you that's unique. There is one God, David says, when he goes before God to pray to him, to thank him for this gift he doesn't go before a Pantheon, he doesn't make his choice among various options. He goes before the one and only God and he praises God for being that one God, that he is completely and entirely unique, that there is no one besides him, no one comparable to him. So he praises the will of God in Verse Nineteen, he praises the uniqueness of God in verse twenty, and then he praises the uniqueness of God's promises to...

Israel. In other words, he's praising the Work of God in Verses Twenty One and twenty two. Who is like your people, Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem, his people, making for yourself a name for great and awesome things in driving out the nations before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? David Praises God's people because they are God's people. It's a way of praising God. It's like if you went to a museum them and you were looked at a piece of pottery and you said, wow, this is an amazing piece of pottery. You're not just praising the pottery right, you're praising the maker of the pottery. You'll look at the plaque next to the next to the work, and you'll say, look, who's done this? Maybe you hear a piece of music on the radio and you say who composed this? Who wrote this? You desire to give praise to the maker, and that's what David Does by looking at this work that God has done in Israel. So he praises the will of God, he praises the uniqueness of God and of his works and finally, he praises the goodness and greatness of God, these works that he says are not just big, but they are good, they are great. In Verse Nineteen he says they are great, these things are great, and then in verse twenty six he calls them a good things. So these are ways in which David Praises God. This is a way to respond to a gift that you've been given, to come humbly before the one who's giving you a gift you don't deserve, to offer to them a respectful attitude, a heartfelt attitude of thankfulness, but also praise for who they are, the goodness and kindness that they...

...have done. That's a true prayer, a prayer that belongs only to God. So we have humility, humility that's mixed with courage. We have praise and finally, we have, in David's holy prayer, requests, things that he asks God. This is another important ingredient of prayer. He says of various things, in verse twenty three, for example. In Verse Twenty Three He says, and now, Oh Jehovah, let the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house be established forever and do as you have spoken. What is David asking here? He's asking that. That a petition that Jesus mentions in the Lord's prayer. He asks that God's will would be done. He says that he that he asks that God that the word that he has spoken would be done, that God would do it. This is a way of really trusting in God's promises and not doubting. If God promises to give you something, even if you haven't yet received it, the right response is to say thank you, not well, we'll see how you do right. This is God we're talking about. We're not talking about a fallible human being. We're not talking about someone who breaks their promises over and over and over to you. We're talking about God, who steadfast love is forever, whose mercy endures from generation to generation. We're talking about God, who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose word never fails. When God says, David, I am going to establish your throne forever, David Responds rightly when he says do this, I trust you to do this. So this is what he asks God. He this is...

...the request that God would do his will. He also asks two other things. Briefly, in Verse Twenty Four, he asks that God would be glorified in this work. He says it, inputs it in this way, and your name will be established and magnified forever, saying Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God, and the House of your servant, David, will be established for before you see what David's praying. He's saying that God is you give me this gift. I pray that you will do your word, the thing that you have promised, and not only will you do it, but because this gift is to be given and because this kingdom is to be established forever, that you would therefore be magnified and praised forever. Does that ever figure into your prayers, that God would be praised and magnified, that he would be glorified in the works that you have asked him to do, works that are according to his word and to his promise. I hope so. These are good ways to pray. And then, finally, his final request is that God not only would be magnified or glorified in his work in building David this house, but also that his people and David would be glorified or blessed in him. David doesn't see himself simply as being separate from this work of God. He sees it himself wrapped up and involved in it. So in verses, in the final verses, he says this. Now you have been pleased to bless this house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you, for it is you, O Jehovah,...

...who have blessed and it is blessed forever. He has promised this good thing to David, and David Asks that he would indeed find good in it, that he would find blessing in it. So what are the ingredients of David's prayer? What are the ingredients of a of a prayer that rightly responds to a gift of God, humility, courage, praise and requests. So this is David's prayer for God, to God, and we've heard of God's covenant to David. But finally we realize and see that this prayer is not just David's prayer, but it is an example for us, and this is somewhat obvious, isn't it? These are obviously good things, good and holy responses that we are to emulate, ways in which we are also to pray. When we ask how we should pray, what should be the ingredients in our prayers, these are the things on that God would have us do. David's example was given a partly for this, but we have to remember that God's prayer are God's promise to David is not just his promise to David, it's also a promise for us, and this is important because it will affect the way that you pray. Let me explain. If a friend came to you and said, Hey, I god gave I was a God gave me a spouse. I really wanted a spouse. God has given me a spouse and I've prayed to him and I've asked him and I've praised him and I've thanked him and I've asked that he would make this a good marriage and these kinds...

...of things. You might look at that and let's say your friend is a good, holy person, a Christian who is acting piously before God, and you hear their prayer and you say that's good, I was a good prayer. I should pray more like that now. That would be a good thing, and in some ways that's what we have here with David. God promises something to David, David Responds, we get to hear that response and we should say that was a good response. I should pray like that. But it's more than that. God's promise is to David. Are Not just this singular event in David's life which David responded to and we learned this moral lesson from. God's promise to David is a promise to us, because this House that he establishes is a house that is established in Jesus, and Jesus is the one who is common and who said, if you believe in me, you will belong to me, you will be my brothers and sisters, you will belong to my house. The inheritance that I earn I give to you so that means when God is making this promise to David, we are called to respond not just in the way that David did, but to the things that David did. Does that make sense? David's covenant is not just David's covenant. It's Pete and Francis has and Vanni's and mine. It's our covenant. It's the covenant that God has promised to us. So we respond not just with the ingredients of prayer, but we respond to the same gift. There is, of course, something of a difference, and it's in this the David is praying about something that is largely in the future. We are...

...praying about something that we are very much in the middle of. This would buy be like going back and reading your your grandma's prayer journals or something, and you read and they're aligne her praying for you and that one day such and such a thing would happen, and you say, wow, that thing is happening right now. God is answering Grandma's prayer from fifty years ago. Here I am in the middle of it. It's like that, only the generations are not fifty years, it's hundreds of years. God made this promise to David and we are in the middle of the fulfillment of it. God has sent his son, Jesus, the son of David, to come and build this house, to build that temple, and he's doing that living stone, as Peter Calls us after living stone, lock by block, brick by brick, God is building this temple out of us, a place for his spirit to dwell and to dwell forever. So when we pray David's prayer in response to the promises God has given us, we're not just responding in the way that he did, but responding to the what that was given. We're not mimic merely mimicking a style, but we're grasping hold of the same substance, which is who is Jesus Christ. This is our hope and in many ways we get to pray a prayer and make praises and ask things that are even much farther beyond what David could even imagine. We can understand David's prayer in a way that he didn't even fully understand, because we've seen how God...

...has fulfilled these things. We're in the middle of these, were in the middle of these. The fulfillment of these promises. So you might put it this way. If David could have confidence and courage to go before the Lord, will you be fearful? Will you'll be ashamed? May It never be. We go before the Lord knowing that God Godd Him, God has sent Jesus to die on a cross to forgive us our sins. And that has happened. The Cross has happened, the resurrection has happened, the ascension has happened, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit has happened, the building of the up of the church, not just in Israel but all over the world, is happening. We are happening. And so how will we respond? Well, we stand before the Lord and we say who am I? And we stand before the Lord and we say I don't know what to say. And we stand before the Lord and we go before him with courage and boldness. We praise him for the works that he has done, the things that he is doing, and we say, may your will be done here on earth even as it is in heaven. We ask him to bring about the fulfillment of these promises. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, we look forward to Jesus is coming and his promises being fulfilled. We look forward to all the enemies of God coming under subjection to him forever and ever and ever. That's how we pray and that's how we live. Let's go to the Lord in prayer.

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