Thursday of week 3 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29

A prayer of David.
David immediately responds to the word of God which has come to him through the prophet Nathan and which was the reading for yesterday. Today’s reading does not contain the whole prayer (vv.18-29).

It is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving made for the promises to establish an everlasting dynasty through David. It expresses wonder that God could make such commitments to him and his descendants. But he also acknowledges that what God had pledged to him was for Israel’s sake, its purpose is the fulfilment of God’s covenanted promise to his people – and that its ultimate effect will be the honour and praise of God throughout the world now and for always.

David “went in and sat before the Lord”. This presumably means that he went into the tent where the ark was kept. And the ark was the symbol of God’s presence among his people. Very much as we pray before the Blessed Sacrament, the real and sacramental presence of Jesus among us.

In a way David is alarmed by his new calling. “Who am I, Lord God, and who are the members of my house that you have brought me to this point?”

David, deeply aware of his own inadequacies (soon to be made very evident), begs God to make sure that what he has foretold will be realised. “Confirm for all time the prophecy you have made concerning your servant and his house – and do as you have promised.” David is fully aware that the fulfilment of God’s promise will depend entirely on God and that he, David, is a very fragile instrument in the process.

Again and again, we will see this beautiful characteristic of David – his humility and acknowledgment of his weakness. But, as Paul will point out later, it is precisely in and through our weaknesses that God’s work is carried out. And David is confident because the Lord has made his solemn promise: “I will build you a House.”

So he prays: “Do, then, bless the house of your servant that it may be before you forever; for you, Lord God, have promised, and by your blessing the house [i.e. the dynasty] of your servant shall be blessed forever.”

God continues to build his Kingdom through the cooperation of our feeble efforts. Let us realise that it is precisely in our weakest moments that he can achieve the most in us and through us. As Paul will say, “I can do everything in him who gives me strength.”

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