Prospect and Retrospect
2 Samuel 7:18-19
Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house…

We pause as on an isthmus of time; the past and the future are alike open to view. There are no utterances which more fitly express our emotions, as we glance back over the years, than these used here: "Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" And there are no words better for us to speak, as we are looking forward into the eternity we are rapidly nearing, where the fruition of our best hopes is ere long to be, than these which the king employed in his gratitude then: "And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but Thou hast spoken also of Thy servant's house for a great while to come."


1. In the history the review of the past was laid upon David himself. What a series of reflections must have thronged upon that king's mind as he sat there in silence alone with the ark of God. He had not journeyed along over the hills and valleys of years by ways of pleasantness and by paths of peace. He would well consider his dangers and his deliverances too. He could not have forgotten the hour in which, as a stripling lad, he had slain the Philistine giant with the pebble from the brook, only by trusting in the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then that would make him think of the terrible manner of Saul's attacks upon his life while he as a simple-hearted minstrel was trying to soothe him with his harp. He would seem to see at this moment of review, perhaps as he had never seen before, that his defences must have been actually Divine. Who could have turned in their course those javelins that went quivering through the air out of the mad monarch's hand? This was a career that might well be reviewed in the words, "Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" The call, therefore, is very plain to us: "Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged." David might sometimes wonder why, among all that band of brethren of his, so stalwart and strong, he, the weakest and the youngest, had been selected for this wonderful place of honour as the king of Israel. But we may marvel the more that we were made to be the recipients of this grander honour still as kings and priests unto God. Among the private papers of John Howard was found after his death one bearing only these pathetic words: "Lord God, why me?" Such a reflection must have been suggested in the very spirit of David's exclamation there before the ark: "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto!"

2. The result of this retrospection upon the prayer of the king is the special thing to be observed, because there comes to view the true temper which on every such occasion as this ought to be found in the heart of the Christian. But there appears nothing of superciliousness nor of self conceit, not even of satisfied complacency, in David at this moment. On the contrary no words can be found which in more vigorous terms could express his humility and utter self-abnegation than these he employs for himself: "Who am I, O Lord God!" Matthew Henry, commenting in his own inimitable way, exclaims in a kind of expostulation at his self-abasement: "Why, he was upon all accounts a very considerable and valuable man! His endowments were extraordinary. His gifts and graces were eminent. He was a man of honour, success, and usefulness; the darling of his country and the dread of its enemies." But David here evidently counts himself nothing before his Maker, and attributes everything to God's sovereign grace to him. Nor is this all: he disclaims also any credit for his relationship and family connection. David was evidently an essentially modest man. He made very much the same remark as this to his royal predecessor on the occasion when he was offered the hand of his daughter in marriage. A calm and candid review of his past religious life always humbles a genuine Christian, rather than exalts him into self-importance. There are so many falls for which he is responsible; there are so many neglects for which he is to blame; there are so many weaknesses in his character and so many errors in his walk, that he feels he has little reason to grow self-complacent. It is better to keep saying with this king before the mercy-seat: "Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto?"

II. Having now considered the believer's retrospect, we turn to CONSIDER HIS PROSPECT, as he sits at the table of the Lord. You cannot fail to observe how, in the utterance of the text, the comparative value of these two was reckoned. Glorious indeed were the remembrances which thronged upon David — the deliverances, the honours, the communings; he dismisses them at once when he begins to think of the anticipations he is permitted to cherish.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?

WEB: Then David the king went in, and sat before Yahweh; and he said, "Who am I, Lord Yahweh, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?

Meditation Before the Lord
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