The following article by Rev. C. Hanko appeared in the Oct. 1, 1995 edition of the Standard Bearer.
Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and 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; for 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?
– II Samuel 7:18, 19
King David is overwhelmed, filled with awe and gratitude! It is all so marvelous, so incomprehensible, exceeding his fondest imagination.
He goes to the house of God and sits in worship and adoration before that great God of Israel. He is wrapped in deep humiliation and prayer as he declares, “Who am I, O Adonai Jehovah, that thou hast brought me hitherto, . . . that thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come?”
The Lord had given David victory over all his enemies. The land was at rest for the first time since the agonizing times of the judges and the distressful days of Saul, when the enemy overpowered and held Israel in subjection.
The king’s thoughts turn toward a permanent house for his God, a temple for Adonai Jehovah. He himself dwells in a house of cedar, but a mere tent made of curtains still serves as the dwelling of God. Surely the time had come that a permanent abode among His people Israel be built for the Lord. Even the prophet Nathan agrees that this would be pleasing to God.
But they were both mistaken. Jehovah had far greater plans in mind for David and His people Israel. In vision the Lord spoke to the prophet, informing him that David would have a son, and that this son would build the Lord’s house, for in this son Jehovah would prove His faithfulness by establishing David’s throne forever. Typically Solomon would represent the promised Christ, who builds the house of God eternally in the heavens, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and whose throne is eternal in the heavens.
Jehovah assures His servant of His covenant faithfulness. In the line of David and Solomon the Christ, the Savior, the eternal King of kings, the Lord over the whole universe would be born.
Do you wonder that David was overwhelmed? Should not he be? Should you and I not be overwhelmed for what God has done for us and promised us?
Who am I, O Lord God?
The Pharisee in us is inclined to boast of our virtues and accomplishments. Our sinful flesh may be pleased to think that there is some good, some common grace in every man, also in us.
But when we are on our knees before the face of the Lord, all boasting is excluded. When we are in the presence of the adorable, sovereign Adonai, the unchangeable, ever faithful Jehovah, who keeps covenant forever, we are but dust and ashes.
“What is man that thou art mindful of him?”
Scripture never ceases to remind us that “all flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass” (Is. 40:6, 7).
The Lord reminded David from time to time that, “I took thee from the sheep tote, from tending the sheep.” He himself admitted, “Who am I and what is my father’s house?”
Our ancestry gives us no reason to boast. It is amazing, but so very true, that not many mighty, not many noble are found within the church. God gathers His people often out of the common for the farmers, sheepherders, factory workers, bricklayers, carpenters, shopkeepers. Dr. Abraham Kuyper spoke of “de kleine luyden,” “the common folk,” whom God uses to bring reformation in the church.
Added to that, shamefacedly we admit that we are guilty of transgressing all God’s commandments, of constantly sinning against Him by failing to give Him the glory He is worthy to receive, to trust in Him with our whole being as we ought. “I am evil, born in sin. Thou desirest truth within.”
This humility is and should be the earmark of every true servant of God; whether prophet, priest, or king; whether minister, elder, or deacon; or whether serving in the office of all believers. We are saved solely by grace according to God’s sovereign good pleasure.
David’s amazement only increases as he adds, “And this is but a small thing in thy sight.”
Twice he takes these two exalted names: Adonai Jehovah, upon his lips. In deepest reverence and awe the man of God addresses God as Adonai, Sovereign Lord. Our God is Self-sufficient in His eternal perfections. He has no need of men’s hands to be worshiped by them.
He is the God of infinite virtues. He is sovereign in His eternal thoughts, plans, and purposes. All power, all authority belongs to Him. No one is His counselor. His counsel stands and He does all His good pleasure. All nations are before Him as a drop of the bucket, as a particle of dust in the balance. He alone is sovereign Lord over all.
Adonai Jehovah. The latter is God’s covenant name. He who is completely self-sufficient in His own glorious being has freely and sovereignly chosen the Son, the second Person of the divine Trinity, to reveal all His infinite perfections. To Christ He gives a people to be His sons and daughters, who bear His blessed image and likeness. With that people God established His covenant, takes them into His heart, into His life, and into His blessed fellowship to dwell in His new creation for endless ages to come. God is the eternal “I am,” the almighty, unchangeable, ever-faithful covenant God.
Thus David adds, “But thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a long time to come.”
He marvels in the fact that he also is included in the promise given to father Abraham, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
He knows by faith that he is a member of that universal church which the Son of God gathers, defends, and preserves from the beginning to the end of the world.
He looks forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises, the day when the promised Savior will come to bring salvation.
He marvels that he may be included in that covenant line out of which the Savior will be born.
He sees, as it were, that covenant line that ran from Adam through Noah to Abraham, from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through Judah to David. And now to him comes the promise that the royal line will continue after him even to the One who will sit upon David’s throne forever. Along with that, the covenant line will continue to Mary and Joseph, to Jesus, the Savior.
That line still continues unbroken even to our present day. We can see how the line carried on from Jerusalem to Antioch, to Asia Minor and to Europe, to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, and across the sea to the Americas, continuing on to the ends of the earth as God unfailingly gathers His own unto Himself.
What a privilege to be a covenant parent! With tender awe we take that little speck of life in our arms. What a marvel! A gift of God. A very personal gift, for this child is very much like its parents, yet an individual, with his own personality to live the life God has appointed for him and to serve the purpose for which he was created.
What a blessing that we may present this child for baptism, making our vows and, by the grace of God, assuming our responsibility as covenant parents to rear this child in the fear of the Lord to the utmost of our power!
Even more amazing is the fact that God takes from our children to claim them as His own. Yes, even as members of the church we share that privilege. Each child that is baptized is included as a member of the congregation. He or she is a member of the family of God. We say with the church of all ages, “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide it from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works which he has done” (Ps. 78:2-4).
Who is not moved in the depth of his being by the thought that God is willing to use us in a small way for the gathering of His church and the coming of His kingdom? Who, realizing his own unworthiness, does not pray (as our fathers did in the past), “Cut us not off in our generations”? And who does not humbly thank his God when he sees his children’s children walking in the fear of the Lord? Amazing grace!
“And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?”
I Chronicles 17:37, where this narrative is repeated, can well serve as a commentary on this statement. There David adds: “And hast regarded me according to the estate of a man
of high degree.”
God’s people are very special in God’s sight. Already in the old dispensation the church sang:
Zion, founded on the mountain,
God, thy Maker, loves thee well;
He has chosen thee, most precious,
He delights in Thee to dwell;
God’s own city, God’s own city,
Who can all thy glory tell?
While in the new dispensation the apostle Peter declares concerning God’s covenant people, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
That also is true of the individual believer. God regards each of His children as “a man of high degree,” a saint in Christ Jesus. We ask: Why me? Why should I be one of God’s children and heir of His eternal kingdom? Who am I that I should be instrumental toward the gathering of God’s church and the coming of His kingdom?
Truly blesses is that people whose God is Jehovah!