1 Chronicles 17:16-18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God. What more can David say to you for honouring your servant? For you know your servant, …”
As I read these verses today and reflected on what was going on in King David’s heart as he ‘sat before the LORD’ and prayed this prayer, I was quite moved by what it means to be a ‘saved sinner’. The Prophet Nathan had just passed on the message from the LORD that, although this man of God was not to be the one to build the physical ‘House of God’ – the Temple – there would in fact come from his family line, his ‘house’, One who would bring blessing to the WHOLE WORLD, and who would build a ‘Temple’, not of bricks and mortar, but of a redeemed people. Nathan was, of course, prophesying the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, of ‘the house and line of David’ (Luke 2:4), and the birth of his Church, against which not even the ’gates of Hell’ could EVER prevail (Matthew 16:18).
David was aware of what this meant for him in the light of the LORD’s greatness and glory and the depth of his own sinfulness and weakness! My thoughts went immediately to Isaac Watts’ great hymn: “Alas! and did my Saviour bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?”
How sad it is that, in this present age of focus on self and the ‘preciousness’ of preserving self-esteem, modern publishers have found it necessary to replace Watts’ “worm” with “one”! As I reflect on what it means to be a sinner-saved-by-grace-alone, and as one sharing in the full inheritance of all that Jesus came to die to achieve – to be a ‘king and priest to God’ (cf 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10), and to be included in God’s eternal family – I can identify with how David felt when Nathan shared God’s promise with him!
This ‘worm’ is quite happy to sing on with Watts: “Thus might I hide my blushing face while his dear cross appears; dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears”; and, with Watts, to admit: “But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe; here, Lord, I give myself away, ’tis all that I can do. At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away; it was there, by faith, I received my ssight, and now I’m rejoicing all the day!” I am much happier to be a rejoicing worm than to feel that somehow, just even a little bit, I might ‘deserve’ God’s favour!