Summary: Seventh in a series on the life of David. David learns it’s not about him, it’s about God.
When Roy DeLamotte was chaplain at Paine College in Georgia, he preached the shortest sermon in the college’s history. However, he had a rather long topic: "What does Christ Answer When We Ask, "Lord, What’s in Religion for Me?" The complete content of his sermon was in one word: "Nothing." He later explained that the one-word sermon was meant for people brought up on the ’gimme-gimme’ gospel. When asked how long it took him to prepare the message, he said, "Twenty years."
Unfortunately for you this morning, even though this message may have taken me 20 years to prepare, this will probably not be one of the shortest messages you have ever heard. But it certainly may be one of the most important. In fact, Old Testament scholar Dr. Walter Brueggemann refers to the passage we’ll look at this morning as “the dramatic and theological center of the entire Samuel corpus…one of the most crucial texts in the Old Testament for evangelical faith.”
I don’t have to tell you that we live in a culture that seems to be increasingly centered on self. We go to Barnes and Noble and one of the largest sections is the “Self-Help” section. We’re told “if it feels good, do it.” In other words, make your decision based on how it impacts you. Perhaps the clearest indication of our obsession with self is that you can go down to the nearest store and purchase a magazine titled “Self.”
British actor Michael Wilding was once asked if actors had any traits which set them apart from other human beings. "Without a doubt," he replied. "You can pick out actors by the glazed look that comes into their eyes when the conversation wanders away from themselves."
Then there was this conversation overheard at a party: "My husband and I have managed to be happy together for 20 years. I guess this is because we’re both in love with the same man."
Or how about the lady answered the knock on her door to find a man with a sad expression? "I’m sorry to disturb you," he said, "but I’m collecting money for an unfortunate family in the neighborhood. The husband is out of work, the kids are hungry, the utilities will soon be cut off, and worse, they’re going to be kicked out of their apartment if they don’t pay the rent by this afternoon." "I’ll be happy to help," said the woman with great concern. "But who are you?" "I’m the landlord," he replied.
Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to 2 Samuel 7. This morning I’m going to take a slightly different approach to the passage. We’re going to break this chapter down into 5 segments and look at just one principle from each section. That certainly won’t even begin to scratch the surface of the riches that we could mine from this section of Scripture, but I hope that we’ll see that it’s not about me – it’s about God!
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-2:
1. Remember that every success is a gift of God’s grace.
By the time the events recorded in 2 Samuel 7 occur, things are going pretty well for David. With the help of Hiram, king of Tyre, David has completed his own palace, and he is now living in royal splendor. God has given David and the nation of Israel rest from their enemies. Since both 1 and 2 Samuel are not written in strictly chronological order, it appears that the events recorded here probably take place sometime after David’s sin with Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 10 records the results of several major military campaigns and even when David commits adultery in 2 Samuel 11, there is still warfare going on.
On the surface, we don’t see any overt evidence that David has become filled with pride, but there are some clues that David is beginning to be a little full of himself. I like the way Eugene Peterson describes what is going on in David’s life:
I think David is just about to cross a line from being full of God to being full of himself. Outwardly, everything is the same…But David, riding the crest of acclaim, having decisively defeated the opposition, united God’s people, and captured the allegiance of all Israel and Judah, heady with success, is going to do God a favor… David is now housed better than God…David has achieved a better standard of living that God, and…from David’s position of strength he can now do something significant for God.
[Leap Over a Wall, p. 161]
Even in the text, we find some clues that David is in danger of being pulled away from God by his pride. Notice that in verses 1-3, David is referred to by his title – king. But, as we’ll see in just a moment, when God speaks about David, he calls him “my servant.” Perhaps David is a little too conscious of his position as king.