2 Samuel 7:18 - Sitting Before the Lord

Then David the king went in, and sat before the LORD; and he said, “Who am I, Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me this far?”
––2 Samuel 7:18

In the above verse, the word sat comes from the Hebrew verb transliterated as yashab. In most of the Old Testament, the word means to dwell, settle, inhabit, live, and other variations. In other places, it means to stay, abide, remain, wait, spend. And in still other places, it means to sit.

In our busy world, we find it hard to sit still for any length of time. Some suggest we have lost the art of solitude and contemplation.

King David was busy. Yet he still made time to regularly sit in God's presence. You can see it in the psalms he wrote. They are of worship and prayer. They are rich and weighty and have the touch of the eternal. They are the product of wonder and musing.

In the seventh chapter of the Second Book of Samuel, we read that David wanted to build God a house—a temple. But God had other plans. Instead, God promised to build David a house, establishing David's throne forever.

David's immediate reaction was to go and sit before the Lord, as he had done so many times before. David had sat before the Lord under the stars while tending sheep. He had done the same in rocks and caves while fleeing for his life from Saul's army. And here, as the King of Israel, he knelt, most likely, in the courts of the Tabernacle. But, as always, in the presence of God.

It doesn't matter when or where we choose to sit before the Lord. God never changes. And He is waiting for us to sit before Him. David knew this when he wrote Psalm 139.

Where could I go from your Spirit?
Or where could I flee from your presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, you are there.
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there!

If I take the wings of the dawn,
and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand will lead me,
and your right hand will hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me.

The light around me will be night,”
even the darkness doesn’t hide from you,
but the night shines as the day.
The darkness is like light to you.
––Psalm 139:7-12

So, it doesn’t matter when or where we sit before the Lord. But it does matter how we sit before the Lord. To see how David sat before the Lord, consider the whole of David’s prayer in 2 Samuel 7:18-29.

First, David sat before the Lord with a humble heart (verse 18). David was far from perfect. But David always had perspective. He always knew his place.

Second, David sat before the Lord with a worshipful heart (verses 22, 26, 28). For David, God was not a means to an end. God was the end. What mattered to David was God and His glory.

Finally, David sat before the Lord with a submissive heart (verses 25, 29). David set aside his own plan and immediately submitted to God's plan. David was obedient to God.

It is true that we live in a busy world. And I, for one, don’t see it slowing down any time soon. But though we are busy, we should not allow that busyness to define us. God is always here, waiting to remind us who we are, who’s we are, and what we should be about. But we must remember to be humble, to be worshipful, and to submit to His plans. Then we can settle. Then we can wait. Then we can sit.

Below are other passages that remind us of the benefits of silence, stillness and solitude.

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted amongst the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth.”
––Psalm 46:10

My soul rests in God alone.
My salvation is from him.
––Psalm 62:1

But the LORD is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him!”
––Habakkuk 2:20

Be silent at the presence of the Lord GOD, for the day of the LORD is at hand. For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice. He has consecrated his guests.
––Zephaniah 1:7

It is good that a man should hope
and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
––Lamentations 3:26

He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.”

Behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire passed; but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a still small voice.
––1 Kings 19:11-12

After he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain by himself to pray. When evening had come, he was there alone.
––Matthew 14:23

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there.
––Mark 1:35

But the report concerning him spread much more, and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. But he withdrew himself into the desert, and prayed.
––Luke 5:15‭-‬16

In these days, he went out to the mountain to pray, and he continued all night in prayer to God.
––Luke 6:12

He said to them, “You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
––Mark 6:31

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