For a “man after God’s own heart,” David displays an incredible ability to sin in such a way that the people around him are greatly affected. This time it is David’s pride that is the struggle. The shepherd boy who stood before King Saul and proclaimed that the God who killed the lion and the bear could defeat the Philistines has now confused the strength of God and the strength of men. David has ordered a census to be taken of the fighting men of Israel. David is proud of his armies and wants to know the exact strength of his fighting force. Reading through the Bible, we don’t get the sense that this is merely a chance to assess his army, but a display of might. David wants people to see how strong he has become. He wants those around him to know of his ability and his influence. David, for the moment, has forgotten that it is not the armies that fight his battles, it is God who brings victory.
As David looks upon his own strength, God confronts the sin of David. David must choose a punishment. The punishment will display the weakness of the land and its people. David chooses plague and 70,000 fall before the devastating effects of an angel who delivers the judgment of God. Remember, judgment is also a call to repentance. God does not just absentmindedly issue death and destruction. God is calling the people to see their weakness. No one can stop the plague. The people must call on God. David must lead the repentance.
Even in this moment, the love of God can be seen. As the angel nears Jerusalem, God stops the plague. He relents. Why? I believe it is a chance for repentance. God sends a messenger named Gad to David. 2 Samuel 24:18-25 tells us the story. The angel of the Lord has stopped at the threshing floor of a Jebusite named Araunah. Gad tells David that he must erect an altar on this very spot. David goes to offer his worship and his repentance to God. Arriving at the threshing floor, Aruanah comes out and offers to give David the land, the oxen, and the wood in order for him to build the altar and offer sacrifice. David will not simply take the land. He knows that his sin has come with a cost. He will not offer worship to the Lord that costs him nothing. David pays for what Aruanah offers and follows the directions of Gad. The plague continues no farther.
It is again an incredible story. And it begins with the heart of God. Through David has sinned and judgment has come, God looks for a way to stop the pain and offer David a chance at repentance. You and I stand with the same God. Though our lives are marred by sin, sin that leads to death, God is calling us out of sin and pain into a relationship with Him. God wants to change our circumstances, to cleanse the sin and heal the hurt. He has sent us messengers and messages through the biblical writers and the stories that we are reading. These messages call us out of sin and give us direction to follow God. He is waiting for us to come to our senses and open our eyes. God is providing a place of sacrifice and worship. A place of hope and healing.
Take a step back and you can see that God is not just working in this moment. God has been working through history to bring man into forgiveness and peace. In 2 Chronicles 3:1, we see that the threshing floor of Aruanah is located on Mount Moriah. Look back through the Bible and you will se some startling lessons. Moriah is the place where Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac. It is the place where God provided a different sacrifice, a sacrifice that would save the life of Abraham’s son.
Moriah is the place where God stopped the plague that ravaged the land in the time of David. It is the place where God offered worship and repentance instead of war and punishment.
Moriah is the place where Solomon would build the Temple. God provides for a place where Israel can come to receive mercy, grace, and reconciliation.
Not very far from that same Temple, that same threshing floor, God would once again offer a sacrifice to save the lives of men. God would pause to offer man a choice of life over death, relationship over rebellion. God would give His Son, His only Son, as a sacrifice for our sin. An offer of restoration and peace.
David would not offer God something that cost him nothing. Our worship comes with a cost. God pays the cost on the cross. Will you give your life to Him?
|October 23||2 Samuel 21|
|October 24||2 Samuel 22|
|October 25||2 Samuel 23|
|October 26||2 Samuel 24|
|October 27||1 Kings 1:1-27|
|October 28||1 Kings 1:28-53|
|October 29||1 Kings 2|
|October 30||1 Kings 3|