Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?
1 Chronicles 17:16. (NIV, 1978)
The life of King David is a magnificent study in contradictions. When Samuel informed Saul that his time as king of Israel was coming to an end, he told Saul that God had already sought out and found “a man after his own heart” to become his successor. Though David’s heart for worship is legendary and his words of praise comprise the larger part of the Psalms, the Bible does nothing to “sanitize” his life to present a holier version of the person he actually was. From his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the associated coverup to his ill-conceived census of the available fighting men for his armies, David’s character was as flawed as anyone. Yet, God saw something special.
Though he clearly struggled with wise judgment, his consciousness of God’s presence, power and grace followed David throughout his life and were a constant theme of his worship and writing. The verse above was his initial response to God’s decree that he would not be given the task of building His temple, but would, however, be the recipient of God’s provision for the rest of his days. The rest of chapter 17 is an unrestrained prayer of thanksgiving for God’s graciousness to him and his family.
The proper application of Scripture can be a daunting task—especially when it comes to lessons learned from Biblical heroes and God’s interaction with them. There is the tendency to explain away God’s ability to work in and through us because, after all, that was then, and this is now. Furthermore, that was them and this is us we’re talking about. Where is the connection?
The connection is found in two basic Scriptural truths. First, the writer of Hebrews plainly states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Simply put, this means what He did then, He can do today! As for me not measuring up as one to be used to accomplish God’s purpose—God saw David’s failures long before his first stumble came to be. It would appear God’s criteria for usefulness is based more upon our attitude toward Him than our record of successes and failures. This leads to two related questions, “Why not now—why not me?”