And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God. – 2 Samuel 7:23-24 ESV
2 Samuel 7:18-29
David knew that he was the recipient of God’s grace. He had been hand-picked by God to be the king of Israel. Not because he somehow deserved it or had earned the position, but because God chose him from among all his brothers. The only thing we know about David is what God had Samuel, the prophet, tell King Saul. “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14 ESV). The apostle Paul adds to what we know about David. “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’” (Acts 13:22 ESV). David had a willing and obedient heart, but that is not why God chose him. Like all men, David had a sin nature, which his life’s story chronicles all too well. So God did not choose him because he was perfectly obedient and sinless. God did not choose him because he was great or because of his great accomplishments. The truth is, when Samuel went to Jesse’s house to look for a replacement for King Saul, Jesse paraded all of his sons before the prophet, but had left David out tending sheep in the fields. He was an afterthought even for his own father. But not for God. And as significant as the idea of having been chosen by God might have been to David, he was even more keenly aware that God had chosen the people of Israel. David saw himself as just a small part of a much bigger picture.
David did not take it lightly that Israel was “the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people”. He had done great and awesome things for them, including having set them free from captivity in Egypt and having helped them conquer the land of Canaan so they could possess it as their own. Out of all the nations on the earth, God had chosen Israel. Centuries earlier, He had hand-picked Abram, an obscure individual who lived in the distant land of Ur. We are not told in Scripture why God chose Abram. It doesn’t even indicate that he was a follower of God when he was chosen. It simply tells us that God called him and committed to bless him. “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-3 ESV). From this one man and his barren wife, Sarah, God would create the nation of Israel. God would fulfill His promise to Abram and create a mighty nation. Then years later, when that nation found itself living in captivity in the land of Egypt, God would rescue and redeem them, setting them free and establishing them as His prized people. He would give them His law and eventually their own land, committing to live among them and be their God. Not because they deserved it. In fact, God told them, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8 ESV).
God had chosen Abram. He had chosen the people of Israel. He had chosen David. Their single claim to fame was the fact that God had set them apart as His own. Their choosing was God’s doing. It had been undeserved and unmerited. And David fully comprehended that fact. His only claim to fame was that God had chosen him. His significance lie in the reality that He had been set apart by God for God. God had chosen to be his God. And the apostle Paul reminds us that our relationship with God is based on the same reality. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV). And he goes on to say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV). He describes us as God’s workmanship. Our beauty and value come from God having chosen us. Our worth is derived from our position as His possession. We belong to Him and that is what gives us worth. Our value as His possession should motivate us to live accordingly. Paul put it this way: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1 ESV).