Taking the Great-lessness of King David

“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?

1 Chronicles 17:16

David is most definitely one of my favorite characters in the Bible (also because I identify with him on a number of levels).

But the more I read his life and pray through his portion of the scripture, the more I see that even though King David is known as this great figure in the Bible, in reality, he’s really not that great.

And that’s good news for us because his life can thus be modeled, not just adored from a distance.

What is it now that I see worthy of modeling? Well, this passage right here.

In 1 Chron 17, David is pouring out his thankfulness to God and he asks this profound question: “Who am I, O Lord, that you have brought me thus far?”

There is a recognition of the disparity between greatness of his life and legacy and the simpleness he knows of himself. He remembered where he came from–how he was just a poor neglected shepherd boy, and how God saw him as a man after his own heart, and exalted him to become King of Israel.

Because of his past, David understood something about himself that outsiders do not understand about him: His great-lessness.

He wasn’t great. He wasn’t born in nobility, but he became king. He hadn’t done any miracles, but God constantly delivered him miraculously. He wasn’t a prophet, yet he was prophetic. Unlike Saul, he wasn’t tall and charismatic. He was a moral failure, and unlike Saul, he knew it, and yet was always faithful to Yahweh.

And so David makes to our scriptures and into the hall of faith not as one who was extremely great, but as one who recognized his great-lessness and the greatness of his God in spite of that.

Maybe we can take a lesson from this nobody and walk away from the things which feed our insecurities about our value and significance in this life in the wrong ways. Maybe we can look instead at the place where David looked–at the throne of God, where his loving Father gave value and worth to his heart.

Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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