The Gratitude of David

On Monday nights, me and a group of guys sit around a fire pit, have some drinks, and talk about the life of David. It is as awesome as it sounds. The other day, we got to the part in the story where David had finally entered into what God had promised him decades before. He was king of a united kingdom. 2 Samuel 7:1 says this:

“After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

I love this part of the story. David had spent years in turmoil. Fighting battles. Hiding in caves. Running for his life. Running after enemies. And when he finally turned the corner, God gave him a season of rest. David’s response to the rest? “I live in a house of cedar while God lives in a tent.”

After taking a step back, David immediately recognized that things were out of order in his life. God deserved more honor. More room. More credit. David vowed to build a temple for God that outshined his own palace. God told David that it would be his son who builds the temple, but I still love the sentiment.

Centuries later, Paul wrote in the New Testament that God no longer dwells in a temple, but in us. When we take time to step back and rest in God, it’s an opportunity to see how we can make room for more of God in us. We are the temple in which God receives honor.

Later on in this chapter of 2 Samuel, David gives a prayer of gratitude:

“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 yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God… You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Samuel 7:18-22)

I resonate so deeply with David when he said, “Who am I that you have brought me thus far?” When I consider where my life could have gone, I feel tremendously blessed for where I’m at right now. I seriously could not have imagined this as a younger man.

My encouragement to anyone reading is, during this Thanksgiving week where we are focused on gratitude, is to take a few minutes to step aside from the bustling of travel and noise of the room and say, “God, who am I that you have brought me this far? You are great.” And then ask yourself, “How can I make more room for God in my life?”

David echoes this sentiment in Psalm 8. Perhaps this could serve as a reading in the morning, or at the table, or as you wrap up tomorrow’s festivities:

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Have a great Thanksgiving, and I hope you’re able to find some rest and gratitude.