The Mightiest King and the Most Humble Servant

David, Paul, servantIn preparation for teaching Sunday School this week, I came across this passage of scripture from 2 Samuel.

18 Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 19 And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord God, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord God. 20 Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord God! 21 For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. 22 For this reason You are great, O Lord God; forthere is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 And what one nation on the 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? 24 For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God. 25 Now therefore, O Lord God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken,26 that Your name may be magnified forever, by saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’; and may the house of Your servant David be established before You. 27 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. 28 Now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. 29 Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord God, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.” (2 Samuel 7:18-29) NASB

 I am always inspired and encouraged when I read one of David’s prayers.  His honesty and sincerity touch my heart and make me want to be the man that God has called me to be.

What I find so remarkable about this passage is the how David refers to himself.  “Your servant”, he says.  And not just once; David refers to himself this way ten times during this prayer!

Mighty King David.  Poet.  Warrior.  Leader.  Song writer.  Dancer.  The greatest earthly king that the world has ever known.  And yet when he comes before his God to pray, he is the humble servant.

Might I learn something from David’s attitude?  Might we all?

I am reminded of another passage in the Bible that reinforces this idea.

8 Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8) NASB

Paul knew.  Paul understood, just like David did so many years ago.   No matter how great, wise or powerful we are on earth, we are all created beings who must acknowledge the majesty and sovereignty of the one true God.  And to come before God and to seek Him is to realize that He alone is worthy and that there can be no higher calling on earth than that of servant of the Most High God.

I acknowledge myself as His servant.  How about you?

Humility, I was Wrong About You

humble, bumblebee, selfless

The humble bumblebee

How did I never see this before?  How have I lived thirty-eight years on this earth without ever reading this marvelous quote by C.S. Lewis.  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less”.  If ever there was an accurate picture of Biblical humility, this is it!

My thinking about humility and what it means to be humble has been all wrong.  I mistakenly connected humility to someone who is low, abased and meek.  And while practicing humility may take us places where we are low, where we have been abased and where we need to be meek, it really isn’t any of those things.  True humility is selfless.  It is in actuality, less of self.

This discovery and new definition coincides nicely with the direction that the Lord has been taking me in recent weeks and months.  It started the way that it usually does with Him; through a gentle nudging by the Holy Spirit that I needed to pay attention to something.  That something was the way that I was praying and the way that I was thinking.  I had become (and perhaps always have been) very “me” centered.

You can’t be me centered and strive to walk closely with God for very long before He points it out to you.

It’s not that I lack the ability to be selfless or fail to recognize how I must submit to Him if I am to be of any use to the Kingdom.  Submission is a topic with which I am well familiar because it wasn’t too long ago that I finally told God that everything I have and everything I am belongs to Him. I believe it is precisely because of that first and most important submission that I am now able to hear Him speaking to me about how I must go further down this road.

It is not enough for me to say that I am submitted and to start the journey if I am not then willing to pay attention to what He has for me as we walk together.  If I have come under conviction about something, and I most certainly have at this point, then I need to confess my sin and ask my Lord to show me a better way; His way.  In this case, His better way is beautifully explained by the C.S. Lewis quote that we began with: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less”.

My prayer is now that I would fully and completely understand how well God is taking care of me and how He is always in control.  That sounds rather basic, and it is, but if we really and truly believed it would we still spend as much time thinking about ourselves and our circumstances as we currently do?  Or would we finally concede that if God really is who He says He is then the last thing I need to be thinking about is me because He can lead me far better than I ever could!

God has a plan for redemption (thank you, T. E. Hanna) and reconciliation that is so much bigger and better than me.  And I praise God for that.  I want to be involved in what He is doing and I want to be used by Him for His glory.  I want to be the instrument that He uses and I want to work alongside others of like mind.  And having made that decision I hope you will agree that I simply have no time anymore for “me”.


Sometimes, It Is Just Write

Psalms,King David,Honesty

It occurs to me that sometimes I just need to write.  I simply need to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, in this case) and let the thoughts flow and see how the Spirit moves me.

Over the last few weeks I have been writing very thematically.  I am making great use of my little black moleskin notebook to jot down ideas as they come to me.  I then take these ideas, usually days later, and try to develop them into full blown posts of 500-1000 words.  It’s a good system, and it works, but it’s not very spontaneous.

Spontaneous King David

Biblically speaking, I think about the Psalms of David.  How many of the Psalms did David write spontaneously?  How many did he plan out and build systematically over time, refining and correcting them as he went?  I really don’t know.  I do know that the kind of emotion displayed in many of the Psalms seem to me to be original, organic and most probably spontaneous.

David simply sat down and poured out his heart on paper, talking to God as he wrote.  Consider Psalm 55, verses 4-8.

“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me.  5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.  6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert;  8 I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

Tell it Like it Is

Clearly, David was in misery and pain and he was not hiding from it.  I am quite sure that his tears were falling even as he was writing.  I don’t envy what he went through but I very much respect his honesty and his willingness to throw it all down before God and acknowledge his helplessness.  And let’s face it, if you are in dire straits you aren’t going to wait until you can craft a formal request.  You are going to head straight to the one who can handle it for you.

That’s exactly what David did.  In verse 16 David says “As for me, I will call upon God,
And the Lord shall save me.”  And then in verse 22 “Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

The reason David knew that he could pour out his heart to God in honesty was because he knew that his God was big enough to take care of the problem.  David trusted God and continually called on his Heavenly Father (verse 17 says “Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.”) and never gave up hope.  And neither should we.

It may take a crisis for us to realize it, but our God is big enough to take care of us through life’s many troubles.  We simply need to remain honest and humble before Him and never stop praying.  Let us take spontaneous King David as an example and cry out to God and then wait expectantly on His deliverance.

Can you think of any situations recently where you have asked the Lord to intervene in a time of trouble and He heard and answered your prayer?