Now then, you are to tell My servant David that this is what the LORD of Hosts says: I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be the ruler over My people Israel.
References: 2 Samuel 12:1, 25; 1 Kings 1:10, 22; 1 Kings 4:5; 1 Chronicles 17:1; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 29:25; Zechariah 12:12.) This is the first mention of his name. He may have been trained by Samuel at Naioth, and become acquainted with David there; was now the confidential friend and spiritual adviser of the king; subsequently reproved him for his sin; gave him counsel concerning the accession of Solomon; aided him in the reorganization of public worship; and wrote annals of his reign. It was his vocation to interpret and announce the Divine mind to others (see 1 Samuel 4:1). "The calling of a prophet was that of a preacher or pastor with reference to the congregation as a whole and its individual members; but was distinct from our modern ideas with reference to the calling as thus explained in his drawing directly from Divine revelation. The prophets have been rightly called 'the conscience of the Israelitish state.'... They held intercourse with God by means of prayer. They questioned God (Habakkuk 2:1), and he answered; but they did not receive Divine disclosures until they had first occupied an attitude of waiting and praying" (Delitzsch; Oehler, 'Theology of the Old Testament;' Riehm).
1. All men, and especially those who are in authority, have need of wise and faithful counsel. The king himself is only a man; his position is apt to blind his judgment and corrupt his heart; whilst his responsibilities and the consequences of his actions are very great.
2. Even the wisest of counsellors are liable to err in judgment. (Job 32:9.) "All that is in thine heart go, do." But herein Nathan spoke "out of his own mind, and not by Divine revelation" (J.H. Michaelis). The prophet, like the king, was only a man (Acts 10:26), imperfect and fallible, and often mistaken, when giving counsel according to his natural judgment and first impressions, without seeking and obtaining the counsel of God. It is not said that he spoke by "the word of the Lord," as he did afterwards (ver. 4). "Ofttimes our thoughts, although springing from motives of real religion, are not God's thoughts; and the lesson here conveyed is most important - not taking our own impressions, however earnestly and piously derived, as necessarily in accordance with the will of God, but testing them by his revealed Word" (Edersheim).
3. The errors of human judgment are rectified by Divine communications. Such communications have been actually made; and they are unspeakably precious. The prophet clearly distinguished them from his own thoughts, and had an inward assurance and overpowering conviction that he was the organ of God. It is the privilege of all Christians to be "taught of God," and "led by the Spirit;" but unless their convictions and impulses accord with the revealed Word, they must be rejected.
4. The Word of Divine revelation admits of no questioning or contradiction; but should be received "with meekness," uttered with simplicity and fidelity (Deuteronomy 12:32), and obeyed humbly, cheerfully, and fully. The prophet hesitated not to acknowledge his mistake, nor the king to lay aside his purpose in obedience to the will of the Lord (vers. 17, 18). - D.
I took thee from the sheepcote.
Great Thoughts.If a man be not signally successful in his present field he cannot reasonably hope to be more successful in a larger field. He must first fill out to his existing limits before he will be able to expand into the area of larger boundaries. A man may indeed have abilities beyond the sphere he is in at present, but in every such case the first indication of this is his filling that sphere satisfactorily. If he lacks where he is, he ought not to feel that he could do better, or even as well, if he were in a larger place. It were folly to expect that there is milk enough for a gallon measure when it cannot fill a pint pot.
Sunday School Times.That God is the Giver of power and dominion is a truth which has always been recognized in the unchangeable East. Thus, in the inscription of Darius on the rock at Behistun, the ninth paragraph reads: "Says Darius the king: — Ormazd [the god] granted me the empire. Ormazd brought help to me so that I gained this empire. By the grace of Ormazd, I hold this empire." Substitute "Jehovah" for "Ormazd," and David might truthfully have written that inscription. Again, in the Annals of Assurbanipal which are preserved on terra-cotta cylinders, now in the British Museum, it is said: "I am Assurbanipal, the seed of [the gods] Assur and Beltis, son of the great king of the North Palace, whom [the gods] Assur and Sin the lord of crowns, raised to the kingdom, prophesying his name from the days of old; and in his birth have created him to rule Assyria. [The gods] Shamas, Vul, and Ishtar, in power most high, commanded the making of his kingdom."
(Sunday School Times.)
(W. G. Blaikie.)
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