What Does It Mean? Pt. 6
Study Guide, May 29, 2016
Listening In On a Very Personal Prayer
Are you praisey? Not ‘crazy’, but ‘praisey’? Probably, more than we would think, many people really are a little bit crazy. But not many are really ‘praisey’? That’s a word Brother Roger likes to use a lot, and a really good word it is, as it describes the frequent habit of having an attitude of praise to God as well as then having the frequent habit of giving praise to God. And ‘praise’ tends to focus a lot on ‘Who’ God is, as in acknowledging His perfections and His works and wondrous acts of every kind. And, actually, developing the habit of praise in both attitude and practice is one of the most powerful methods of dealing with all kinds of troubles and trials of this world. The Psalmist referred to it as ‘walking on hinds feet on high places’. It’s like handling the many problems and low point issues of life from the vantage point of the high ground. It just gives you a better perspective on everything. It gives you a Biblical perspective on everything. And a Biblical perspective is an accurate and encouraging and hopeful perspective.
But now, without going into a specific study on praise itself, we do want to listen in and look in on a prayer of the Psalmist David, who had developed this attitude habit of praise and had developed the actual practice of praise. And this attitude comes through loud and clear in a somewhat unusual prayer, or we could say, a very personal prayer with God.
And we’re going to look at it from two translations, since together, they really emphasize this very personal and sort of unusual thing that David says to God. Here we go: 2 Sam 7:18-19- “Then King David went in and sat in front of the Lord. David said, “Lord God, why am I so important to you? Why is my family important? Why have you made me so important? I am nothing but a servant, but Lord God, You have also said these kind things about my future family. Lord God, You don’t always talk like this to people, do You?” ERV
2 Sam 7:18-19- “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far? And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, You speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do You deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?” NLT
Quite an unusual prayer conversation going on here, huh? Especially, that last thing that David says to God, “Lord, You don’t always talk like this to people, do You?”; and “Do you deal with everyone this way?” Isn’t that one of the most personal heart to heart conversations you’ve ever heard between a believer and God? And maybe we could put it this way: The Psalmist was flat out astonished at just how attentive, caring, and personable the Sovereign God of the Universe really was!
This is very similar to David’s question of wonder in Psalm 8. Let’s look: Ps 8:3-6- “When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him? Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet?” AMP
There are two crucial points to glean from the Psalmist’s amazement here. And the first one is that we are to humbly marvel over and rejoice over our privileged status with the Sovereign God, who is also ‘Our Father’. Just think about it: At some point in eternity past God chose to create a family for Himself. In fact, the story of the Bible, as well as the history of the world, along with the future of mankind, is about this fact that God chose to create a family for Himself and has been and is now doing so and will continue to build His family until a point in time when His family is complete. But the point is: That is what the Bible is centrally all about: It’s about God’s plan to build a family for Himself, and the fact that it took the redemptive life and death of the Son of God in order to accomplish that plan of God’s.
Which brings us to the realization that so amazed the Psalmist; that the God of the Universe has the heart of a parent, a perfect parent at that; and that this God and Father of ours does care for us and does have a plan for us and will work out that plan through a personal one to one, Father to child, relationship.
And as to David’s question; “Do You deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?”, well, concerning God’s unique plan for David as being a King over Israel and a physical descendant of the Messiah; no. But as for having a unique plan for every person and having an indescribable love and unfathomable care for each person and their eternal welfare; Yes! Remember: There is level ground at the foot of the Cross. And there is room for everyone at the foot of the Cross. And God is not willing that any should perish, but for all to come to repentance. Unfortunately, many are not willing themselves to come to the foot of the Cross so as to be forgiven and saved and rebirthed into God’s forever family. But the point remains, that the Psalmist was overwhelmed by the enormity of the privileged status and significance he had among all creation; that God was not only mindful of him, but that he was on God’s mind all the time because he was in God’s heart all the time.
Have you ever thought much about the fact that you are always on God’s mind? How do we know that? It’s because of something else the Psalmist marveled over. Notice:
Ps 139:17-18- “How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!” NLT David is not talking about his thoughts toward God here, but about God’s thoughts toward David. Certainly David’s thoughts about God then got caught up in God’s thoughts about David, and he refers to that as well. But David realized that every morning that he awoke there was one thing he knew; he knew that God was thinking about him.
Do you ever think about that? Do you think very often about the fact that every morning that you awake that you can awake to the fact that God is thinking about you; thinking about you with an immeasurable depth of love and care and concern and affection because you are the child that God always wanted to have in His family, His forever family because of the salvation and security He has provided for you in Christ Jesus? Well, try thinking about that each morning and see what happens. It just might drive you ‘praisey’! Which is a good thing!
Again, it just astounded David, as in, “Why am I so important to God, to the Sovereign Lord of the Universe?” But the more he discovered ‘Who’ God really was, the more he discovered ‘why’ he was so important to God.
You often hear it said of Parents, that Parents will do anything for their children. Well, multiply that level of love by infinity and you will begin to get a grasp on the depth of God’s love for His children; for us. Or, the height of God’s love as David put it in Ps 103:11-13- “For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” NLT
Yes, Parents will do anything for their children, and God, the Perfect Parent, did everything in order to have us as His children. He gave His Son to die for us so that we could live in Him; live again, be born again, be birthed into God’s family and be a son or daughter of our God and our Father. Which again, is why He thinks of us every morning and all the time, because even as our God, He centrally is; our ‘Father’.
Which leads to the second crucial point we are to glean from the Psalmist’s amazement.
And that is: Mankind must not neglect or reject his privileged status given to him or her by the Sovereign God, and especially not neglect or reject the Sovereign God as God and Father. For as astonishing as it is to us, the fact revealed by God to us is that He made the world and the Universe for us, for His children, or those who would become His children through repentance and faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The physical universe was made for God’s physical family. And yet, for many in our world, because of their rebellious nature, for one thing; they not only would rather devise a God made in their own image than to bow to the God who made them in His image, but they also fail to respond to the love of the God the Father, who made them and longs to be their Father. And then others reject the notion of there being such a things as a personal Creator at all. And so they scoff at any proposal that mankind, along with the Earth, is unique in the Universe and that some Creator God would have unique purposes for them and for this world in the midst of the countless other worlds of the Universe.
In a book entitled The Privileged Planet, the authors cite that many scientists simply believe that our Solar Sytem is nothing but ordinary…nothing uniquely special about it, nor nothing uniquely special about us, since they also believe that the Universe must be teeming with other life. In fact, they argue that although Earth’s complex life and rare conditions that allow for life are highly improbable, they still believe that these conditions are still nothing more than an unintended fluke. In a lecture after a publication of Rare Earth, Peter Ward remarked: “We are just incredibly lucky. Somebody had to win the big lottery, and we were it.”1
To compare the Creation of the heavens and the earth to being like a big cosmic lottery…not only is that an incredibly ‘flip and unscientific remark’ describing the wonders of the origin and conditions of Earth, but also what a rebellious denial of God’s own claim that He alone created the Heavens and the Earth and that He alone created mankind in His image and for His purposes. Again, many people reject their unique privilege and status as being personally created by a personal Creator. And primarily they do so because that fact then requires them to realize that they are then accountable to the One who made them. But their hard heart will not bow to that fact. And that is something we must realize is at the heart of the denial of what the Psalmist stated in how ‘God made man but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and has crowned him with glory and honor, and made him to have dominion over the works of God’s hands.’
Unrepentant and unsaved people will not humbly accept their privileged status along with humbly surrendering in faith to the Sovereign Lord and Savior. So instead, they proudly believe in themselves and, like the Canaanites of old, they place their faith in things which their own hands have made and in things which are not gods at all. They will not worship God alone. And so they have become idolaters without even realizing it.
The callousness of the heart of man toward our Creator seems to know no bounds. And one of the most striking examples of that is in the end times, when there is greater tribulation on Earth than ever before in man’s history. And yet, the Bible records this about their hard hearts: Rev 16:8-9- “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him.” NIV Now that is what is astonishing, that degree of hardness and rebellion in the human heart toward God, who longs for nothing more than for those whom He created to realize how much He loves them and longs for them to come to know Him as ‘Father’ and to then be led and loved by Him forever.
How incredibly sad to realize that many do not know God because they will not come to Him as their Father. And yet, how indescribably joyful it is for us who do know God to also understand that our God is also our Heavenly Father, who was thinking about us from eternity past and making plans for us to be His own family and Who even made an entire Universe and will make New Heavens and a New Earth just for us…all because He loves us with a love that is higher than the heavens are above the earth, and yet new to us every morning…which, by the way, is when God is still thinking about you and me.
Like the Psalmist said about God, ‘Every morning when I awake, You are still with me…still thinking about me.’ That’s just the way our Perfect Parent, our Heavenly Father is. And that’s just what God wants us to know about Him, and just what He also wants us to know about ourselves; that our Father God ‘has made us but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and has crowned us with glory and honor, and has made us to have dominion over the works of God’s hands; and has put all things under our feet’ – like even the sun, moon, and stars.
No wonder David said, “Lord, do You talk to everybody like this?” Yes…everybody who will let God be their Savior and their Father.
1. Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards, The Privileged Plant, Introduction pp X1-X111