David spent years living on the lam in order to avoid Saul’s attempts to kill him. He gave up home, family, friends, and country in order to allow Israel to live in peace. He patiently waited for God’s will to be fulfilled. In 2 Samuel 7, David’s throne is finally established. His enemies have been defeated and David stops to pray.

David’s prayer caught my attention. It’s a prayer of humble gratitude and wide eyed amazement at God’s wonderful mercy. “Who am I,” David exclaims, “That you have brought me thus far?” The interesting thing to me was that David deeply realized that he didn’t deserve what God had given him. It wasn’t of his own strength and effort that he was to enjoy God’s blessings. It was all because of God’s marvelous grace & mercy.

In the 60’s movie, “Shenandoah,” Jimmy Stewart plays a rancher in Virginia with six kids just before the civil war. Early in the movie he grudgingly fulfills his dead wife’s wish that he give thanks to God at meals. He prays, “We thank you God, even though we’ve cleared the land ourselves. We built the houses and barns ourselves. We planted the crops ourselves and we do all the work ourselves. We thank you anyway.” At the end of the movie, after having lost two sons in the war and having all that he owned burned and/or spoiled by one army or another, we see him at the dinner table again. This time his pride is gone. The things that really matter in life are not his to control. They are all a matter of God’s grace and mercy.

Robert Louis Stevenson gives us all good advice: “Keep both your eyes open to your mercies. The man who has forgotten to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.”