On this Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
As noted in an earlier post, King David viewed all the blessings surrounding him, recognized their source and sought to reciprocate. He knew that God had given him a beautiful palace, and yet God dwelled in a lowly tent. So David planned to build a home for God.
God’s response? “You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!”
I will make your name like that of the greatest on earth. I will assign a place for my people Israel and I will plant them in it to dwell there; they will never again be disturbed, nor shall the wicked ever again oppress them, as they did at the beginning, and from the day when I appointed judges over my people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you: when your days have been completed and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. If he does wrong, I will reprove him with a human rod and with human punishments; but I will not withdraw my favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul who was before you. Your house and your kingdom are firm forever before me; your throne shall be firmly established forever. 2 Sm. 7:9-16.
How does David respond? First, with humility:
Who am I, Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you should have brought me so far? 2 Sm. 7:18.
And then with grateful praise:
Therefore, great are you, Lord GOD! There is no one like you, no God but you, as we have always heard. 2 Sm. 7:22.
King David sets a wonderful example of how to be thankful: True gratitude begins with humility.
It is not possible to be truly grateful without recognizing our humble position in relationship to the source of our blessings. How can a proud heart ever truly be grateful? Deep in its recesses, a proud heart believes it deserves its blessings.
I think this is why an attitude of gratitude is the remedy to so many maladies; because the effort to recognize my blessings encourages a humble heart, reminding me of my need for God, our Creator.
I am reminded of a friend who recently blogged about her recent experience with gratitude. She was having a grumpy day and recognized this immediately. But she also recognized the remedy: gratitude. So she began a Gratitude List. As she so wisely notes, “Nothing like a gratitude list to cure a bout of self-pity.”
It’s hard to suffer self-pity with a humble heart.
Maybe this is what it means for David to be “a man after God’s own heart.” Maybe David, with a humble heart, is reflecting the Love that is God. Like Mary, who proclaims that her soul magnifies the Lord, maybe the servant’s heart is like a polished mirror that reflects God to all around us.