Hello Sunday school teachers, preachers, and students! Welcome to SundaySchoolPreacher.com. In this last lesson of the decade the Chronicler writes about King David’s prayer. As David sits down before the Ark of the Covenant, he is probably in awe of what he is realizing. He is probably in awe of what it means for God to establish an eternal dynasty that would bear his name. I have this picture in my mind of David entering the tent, sitting down, and simply saying God, you’ve been good to me. David goes into the tent, sits down in front of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and he prays his prayer. He begins by thanking and praising God for the present, then he looks back on what God had done and where God had brought them from. And then he closes his prayer looking toward the future. As this decade draws to a close, I think David’s prayer is a good model for us. There is a new decade on the horizon and entering the new decade in prayer is a good way to get it started. Some of the ideas surrounding this week’s text include the terms:
As always, we begin with the Background for today’s text:
This week’s lesson takes us back to First Chronicles in the Old Testament. This is our fifth lesson in the Winter Quarter and the fourth lesson from First Chronicles. Just as a refresher, First Chronicles is one of the books of history in the Old Testament. The Old Testament begins with the five Books of Law, then we have the twelve Books of History followed by the five Books of Poetry, then the books of the Major Prophets, and then the Books of the Minor Prophets.
One of the major points of First Chronicles is the Davidic Covenant which is also recorded in Second Samuel seventh chapter. As we studied two weeks ago, the Davidic Covenant was established by God and promises that one of David’s descendants would be established in God’s house and in God’s kingdom forever (1 Chronicles 17:14). As we studied last week, Jesus is that descendant. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.
So just a quick refresher of the background material we have already covered with First Chronicles. In this fifth lesson of Unit One of the Winter Quarter we continue to study how David honors God. Some of the highlights from the previous lessons background include
- Most scholars agree that First and Second Chronicles were originally one book.
- This book of history was originally named “The Events of the Days” was later named “The Things Omitted” and then finally named First and Second Chronicles.
- I also discussed of the three major themes in this book the concern for continuity with the past is perhaps most important. In other words, the Chronicler wants them to know that God is still their God and they are still God’s people.
- Additionally, this book was written after the Israelites had been defeated in battle by the Babylonians, exiled from their homeland, and then returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonians were defeated by the Persians.
The focus for this week’s lesson is David’s prayer. It is a continuation of the lesson from two weeks ago when God established the Davidic Covenant in this same chapter in verse fourteen. God’s covenant with David didn’t require anything from David. David was not required to meet any responsibilities or obligations. This covenant was based on who David was and what God wanted to do through David. The Davidic Covenant meant that through one of David’s descendants David’s throne would be established forever.
The Ark of the covenant of God is now in Jerusalem, housed in a tent prepared by David. David’s desire was to build a temple that would honor God but God had other plans. Building a temple would be a job God would assign to David’s son Solomon. Our lesson this week is about David’s prayer after he realizes how God is establishing an eternal dynasty with one of his descendants. David praises God in his prayer. Some important words to consider from this text include:
Review of Last Week and How it Connects to This Week:
Last week’s Sunday School Lesson featured Mary the mother of Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth. We saw a humble Mary who realized the significance and importance of what was about to happen to her. She had come from little but after the angel Gabriel visits her she knew that she would hold a place in history. Mary had a song in her heart and she sang the praise of a gracious and merciful God. Luke’s record of Mary’s praise helped us understand how the Lord is with us. Emmanuel means God with us. Mary and Elizabeth experienced a miraculous intervention by God for the children they would birth. An old married woman beyond childbearing age and a very young unmarried, and at best teenage, Mary both conceived their children by the power of the Holy Spirit. These two women had a Spirit filled encounter. Mary’s song described God as “a warrior and as a God who was merciful, who remembered the lowly, and cared for the needy.” In her patriarchal society Elizabeth was certainly needy and Mary was certainly lowly. Townsend, Boyd’s, and Standard Lesson Commentary title this week’s lesson “David’s Prayer”. The scripture text comes from 1 Chronicles 17:16-27.
What Takes Place in This Passage:
The Lesson opens at Chapter 17 verse sixteen at the beginning of David’s prayer. David had sought to honor God but it turns out that for some reason, God has decided to honor David. God establishes this eternal dynasty in David’s name and with this covenant David has no responsibilities or obligations that he has to fulfill. God is just good to David and God has decided to bless David. David’s prayer is that God’s promise will be established forever.
In verse sixteen David sits down before the Ark of the Covenant, probably in awe of what he is realizing. He is probably in awe of what it means for God to establish an eternal dynasty that would bear his name. When David says “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far” David knows he isn’t worthy of this great blessing. He knows that this is God’s doing and this admission of “who am I” at least demonstrates some humility on David’s part.
In verse seventeen when David says “even this was a small thing in your sight O God” he’s talking about all that God had already done for him. David knows where God has brought him from. He had to wait about 15 years from the time he was first anointed by Samuel to the time he became king over Judah. And then it was another seven years before David was anointed king over all Israel. So this journey to King over all Israel and establishing his throne in Jerusalem has been well over 20 years. This wasn’t an overnight success for David. He has worked long and hard to get where he is. When David says “You regard me as someone of high rank, O Lord God!”. I feel like he is saying God, you treat me so good. David appreciates what God is doing in his life.
In verse eighteen when David says “you know your servant” he knows that God has been with him down through the years. God was there in the heat of the day and in the cold dark nights. David gives thanks that God has honored him by blessing him with this dynasty.
In verse nineteen when David says “all these great deeds and all these great things” he is acknowledging the greatness of this dynasty God has blessed him with. He knows God has been and is a great God and does great things. Keep in mind that this is David’s prayer. In his prayer he tells God how great God is. I think that’s a good example for us today. Not that God needs to know how great God is, but more so to help us keep our own lives in perspective.
Verse twenty begins with “There is no one like you O Lord”. All I can really say about that is ain’t that the truth! There is no one like our God. David continues by saying “according to all that we have heard with our ears.” In other words, David is essentially saying I’ve never heard of anybody as good as my God is.
In verse twenty-one as David sits before the Ark of the Covenant praying his prayer, he remembers the past of the nation of Israel and how God delivered Israel. He remembers how God brought him from a small shepherd boy, and how God has brought this people from 12 brothers to this great nation that is now unified under him as their king.
In verse twenty-two David declares God made Israel God’s people. He praises God that since Israel is God’s people, God will be their God forever and if God is the God of Israel forever, David’s dynasty will last forever.
In verse twenty-three David continues to give thanks. In the previous verses David gave thanks for things in the present and things in the past; now in these last verses David looks to the future. In this twenty-third verse he essentially says as far as what you have said about me and my house, do it Lord, just like you said you would. David knows that if his name will be a great name, it will be great because God made it great.
In verse 24 David looks again to the future. He calls God the Lord of Hosts which is a title for God that emphasizes God’s sovereignty over all creation and all creatures as well as God’s rule in history. In other words, God is the God who rules over heaven and earth and has done these great things through Israel’s past. God has brought them to this present and God will see them through the future.
In verse twenty-five as David says he has “found it possible to pray before God” he is essentially saying God, this is why I’m here. David went in and sat down before the Lord. Today we might say something like “I’ve come with my head bowed and heart turned to you oh God.”
Verses twenty six and twenty seven close the lesson with David closing his prayer essentially saying to God that it was God’s idea to give him this good thing. He closes by essentially saying “I pray God that it pleases you, to bless me like this. And I pray that it will forever please you because you have blessed me and you are blessed forever.
You treat me so good!
I think everybody wants somebody to treat them good. When someone treats you good, it’s only right to at least try to show your appreciation. Sometimes mere words don’t seem to be enough. And when somebody is really, I mean really, good to you, all you can do, at least all I can do is thank God for them. I hope somebody has been good to you.
When David walked into the tent to pray his prayer it was with the full knowledge of how good God had been to him and to his people. I can imagine David sat in awe of the goodness of God. I can imagine him thinking how good God had been to him down through the years. At this point, all he could really do was thank God and give God praise.
Covenant– A formal agreement or treaty between two parties that establishes a relationship and in which obligations and mutual responsibilities may be enacted.
Dynasty– a line of hereditary rulers of a country.
Themes, Topics, Discussion, or Sermon Preparation Ideas:
1. You’re so good to me.
2. Pray your prayer
Christmas was a few days ago. How can you show appreciation for gifts from friends and family and how can you show appreciation for the gift of Jesus Christ?
I want to encourage you to go back to the December 1st lesson and read or watch it again. I think it will really sharpen the focus of this final lesson in Chronicles.
Now, for the Preview of Next Week’s Lesson:
In the first lesson of the new decade we begin unit two. In this unit we study dedicating the Temple of God. We’ve studied how David honored God with the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle, and now we continue with how God will be represented in this Temple made with human hands. The lesson for January 5th is focused on King Solomon dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem. The lesson is titled “A Place for the Ark” and “Solomon Summons the Ark”. The text is taken from 1 Kings 8:1-13.
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