Recorded both in 2Samuel 7 and in today’s reading in 1Chronicles 17, it is, for me, one of the most moving accounts in all of Scripture.
David desires to build a permanent dwelling where God’s glory might reside. No more tents. No more nomadic structures. Time to get rid of the animal skins and replace them with the finest of building materials. Time to trade in pragmatic functionality for majestic testimony. Rather than the LORD continually “packing up” and going with the people in the desert, now that they were in the land, it was time for their God to “settle down” and for the people to come to Him and the place where His glory would dwell. David’s desire was ignited, his heart aflame . . . time to break ground!
Not so fast, says the LORD through Nathan the prophet. I know you want to build Me a house, but David, “I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house” (17:10b).
And so God turns the tables. Though David’s heart was set on doing something great for God, he is reminded of the great things God has already done for him. Called from pastures where he followed bleating sheep to be a prince where he would rule over God’s chosen people. Determined to be a mighty man of war as the God of hosts purposed to go with him into battle and to cut off his enemies. His name made great. His throne established in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All under the gracious sovereign hand of Almighty God. And what’s more, says the LORD, I will build you a house.
And David responds.
Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in Your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of Your servants house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O LORD God!
(1Chronicles 17:16-17 ESV)
“Who am I?” says the would be sub-contractor. What is my family? What possible merit do I possess that You would have brought me to this place and given me such a promise?
“Who am I?” It is the question of the ages for every child of God.
Who am I that God the Father would send His Son to ransom me from my sin and rebellion? Who am I that the Christ would die on a cross and shed His blood so that a way might be opened for me to be cleansed and boldly enter the holy of holies? Who am I that, though I once set my back toward God, the Spirit of God descended to pursue me, to woo me, and to turn my face toward Himself?
Who am I to have ears to hear? Who am I to have had an encounter of the divine kind, having been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light through faith in the finished work of the cross? Who am I to have undergone a supernatural rewiring of my spiritual DNA? To have undergone radical internal surgery having my heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh? Who am I?
And that’s just the beginning. For all that I have been saved from, what is it that I am being saved to? What will it be when the groaning of creation is done and the children of God are revealed (Rom. 8:18-19)? What will it be when the Bride is presented to her beloved Bridegroom, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing–holy and without blemish, and the greatest rescue mission of all ages is consummated (Eph. 5:27, Rev. 19:7)? What will it be to have faith give way to sight as we gather before the throne and worship with the heavenly host and with all those purchased by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-12)?
To coin another’s phrase, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
And so I sit with David this morning as he considers where he’s been and what God has said is yet to come. And I whisper along with this man after God’s own heart, “Who am I?”
And I am moved as I hover over the closing thoughts of his response to his God.
“Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You, for it is You, O LORD, who have blessed, and it is blessed forever.”
(1Chronicles 17:27 ESV)
Blessed. And blessed forever.
All because of grace. All for His matchless glory!