2 Samuel 24, 1 Chron 21-22, Ps 30
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2024,%202%20Chronicles%2021-22,%20Psalm%2030&version=NIV
****IMPORTANT READ**** Forgive the length of this entry, but there are SO many things that are so important for our understanding not just in this reading but for our futures. Soak up all that God has for you to soak up….and next year when you read again….you’ll soak up even more… I PROMISE!!
Before I get into the details of the story, it is important to remember that these chapters, chronologically, fall somewhere in the middle of David’s life. In MY mind, I see them happening possibly after David’s affair with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, the attempted cover up of his sins, and the death of his child. This is my PERSONAL opinion of when it occurred chronologically because David CHOSE NOT to go off to war with his men prior to Bathsheba and then he commanded Joab to put Uriah at the front line and leave him there to die. I IMAGINE (after much reading and research of the chapters we read today) that after Uriah’s murder, David is feeling proud and is “incited” to do a census. In 2 Samuel 24 we are told that “the anger of The Lord burned against ISRAEL.” Then in MY mind…. when we see David having to CHOSE one of three of the punishments God lays out….I believe David and Bathsheba’s baby had died, Nathan had stepped in, David confesses his sin and turns back to The Lord. But we will discuss the three choices God gives David and what he chooses later in our reading.
The second thing is that in 2 Samuel 24 it appears that God told David to take a census BUT in 1 Chronicles 21 we read that satan (sorry … still refuse to capitalize that name!) told David to take the census. Last year when I read this I was TOTALLY confused first because I was not remembering that this chapter was NOT written chronologically and second because I could not understand who REALLY had David do the census.
Think back to our reading of Job!! One HUGE point with Job is that satan IS alive, he IS real, and Jesus himself tells us in John 10:10 “The thief (satan, the enemy) comes ONLY to STEAL, KILL, AND DESTROY; I HAVE DOME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT TO THE FULL.” It is IMPORTANT to KNOW WHO our enemy is and all he is capable of. How else can we do battle unless we know who the enemy is? God felt it SO important that we understand this that in HIS Word HE gave us instruction to put on the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, and in 2 Corinthians 10 he tells us: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;” I do not share this to cause fear, but so YOU KNOW we ARE in a battle and God’s Word is how we fight the battle. As we have seen with David, sometimes we bring things on ourselves, repent, but still must live with the consequences. Sometimes, the battle is in our minds because we allow “things” to persuade us rather than being transformed by the Word. And other times, satan is on the attack. KNOW that God has given us HIS strength to stand firm, fight our battle, or simply live our life KNOWING HE is working it out. I’ve read the end of the book….I KNOW how it ends and it is ALL good.
If we believe in God, heaven, and redemption; we must believe there is satan and all his forces and there is a hell where people who CHOOSE NOT believe in Jesus Christ will spend eternity. The Chronicler inserted that Satan is a huge part of this story.
What did David do that was so wrong? Strictly speculating, it might have been taking the census (prompted by Satan) was David’s way of sizing up his power for battle. When we are in a battle ALL we need is the Lord. After all the Lord had done, David had forgotten (ummmmm….nothing any of us can relate to…right??) Could he have been counting his men pridefully, to see how many he had? EVEN JOAB… YES.. JOAB asked David: “BUT WHY does my lord the king want to do such a thing?” Joab KNEW this was something that David should not be doing. (WARNING WARNING *** DANGER DANGER!) But David moves forward.
The parallel account of this incident surrounding the census is important. Remember the purpose of Chronicles is to show historically what happened to Israel, the UNITY David brought which was his purpose, and Israel’s actions during that time. It is Chronicles that reveals it was satan who incited David to take the census: “satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1). The wording of 2 Samuel 24:1 indicates God moved David to take the census. Why the discrepancy?? Just like in Job, sometimes God sovereignly permits satan to act in order to achieve His purposes. God uses satan in various ways, among them the refining, disciplining and purification of disobedient believers (OUCH.. I KNOW!!) (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). God allowed David to be tempted by satan, David sinned, revealing his pride, thus allowing God to deal with him for it.
BUT EXACTLY WHY was God angry at David? In those times, a man ONLY had the right to count or number what BELONGED to him. Israel did NOT belong to David!!! Israel BELONGED to God. Back in Exodus 30:12 God told Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one MUST PAY the LORD a RANSOM for his life at the time he is counted. THEN no plague will come on them when you number them.” ONLY God could command a census!! David should have known this. But this is NOT the first time we see where David either did not remember the law, didn’t know the law, or simply ignored it. Remember when David had the Ark moved to Jerusalem? When he had it moved he built a cart to place the ARK on (WRONG). It was ONLY to be CARRIED on the back/shoulders of LEVITES. The men in charge of the cart were not Levites. Then one of the men touched the ARK to try to protect it and he was KILLED INSTANTLY. The second time David moved the ARK, he KNEW the LAW and followed it to the letter. We see satan’s power of deception at work in David, appealing to his pride…..and WHOOPS…..there he goes performing a census. God’s law was TOTALLY being IGNORED!! God didn’t command it and no ransom was made to “atone” for each man counted. So, does it make a little more sense not WHY God was so angry with David??
IMMEDIATELY after the census, David was “conscience-stricken.” David KNEW it was wrong and begged God to take away the guilt of his sin (2 Samuel 24:10.) ALL I can say is I am so blessed to be under Jesus Christ now…I mean can you imagine ALL the laws the Israelites had to remember? AND the Pharisees and Sadduces (sp?) kept adding laws to laws!!! The process is the same in that “we all fall short of the glory of God” and sin. And we all become “conscience-stricken” by the Holy Spirit, if we are listening, and repent directly to our Lord and Savior who forgives us with HIS love, mercy, and grace.
If you are wondering why David was called “a man after God’s own heart” it is because when he sinned (we ALL do) he recognized it, confessed it and repented from it immediately. Again, our process is the same as David’s when we sin. But how do we often handle our sin (until we simply can’t bare the pressure any longer?) Do we brush it under the carpet, say “well no one is perfect”, “we all do something wrong,” “at least I don’t do xyz like so and so,” continue it, rationalize it (ouch), or bring it before The Lord in all humility, confess, and ask for HIS help in changing?
So God gave David 3 choices. 2 of them were at the hands of men (three years of famine which would become the survival of the fittest, and three months of fleeing before his enemies –which would result in great death by those who hated him and Israel); and 1 was at the hands of the Lord (three days of plague). God IS more powerful, but God is just and right and loving. We all must look within ourselves with the help of THE ONE who love deeply, work on getting our “stuff” with God, and humbly ask HIM to “deal with me ever so severely”..BEFORE people who have no mercy for me, no love for me, no compassion or grace for me…. deal with it. We can all stand to “pull a David” … confess “it,” agree with God that what we did was wrong, and REPENT…. TURN AWAY from it.. David chose to be at the hands of the Lord. Look at David’s words here: “David said to Gad (the prophet), I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of The Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
OH MAN… I could so feel David’s pain, his regret for his sin, his confession and repentance and then he had to make a choice not only for himself but also for his PEOPLE, Israel. David KNEW he did wrong as soon as he did it. David also TRUSTED God’s mercy, grace, love, and justice to be much more fair than anything man could do to him. I think about myself and how when I do wrong… I quickly condemn myself and tell God I don’t understand HOW HE can forgive me…but HIS Word tells me there is no longer any condemnation in Christ Jesus, and if I confess my sins HE will forgive. THEN HE will help me (give me strength, lead me not into temptation, etc) to change my way…one day at a time…one step at a time!! OOOOOOO OOOOOO… I just have to shout AMEN!!!
David chose the third (at the hands of The Lord and not man), and the Lord then punished Israel with a plague which killed 70,000 men from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. WHY did God punish the entire nation of Israel? I mean the were just following orders right? David even asked this in 2 Samuel 24:17, why God punished the whole nation for the sin of the king. Why, when he was the one who had sinned, did the people have to suffer? He even requested that God’s hand be against him and his family only, and that God would spare the people. NOW THAT is integrity for a humbled, repentant man to ask God please not to harm his sheep!! WOW!!! But as with the account of Job, God chose not to give a reason for His actions. We know David’s sin was pride. Some of the reasons the entire nation suffered according to different commentaries are: perhaps it was because of Israel’s multiplied sins and rebellion against God throughout the centuries; perhaps it was due to their support of the rebellion of Absalom and Sheba (chapters 15-17); perhaps the Israelites had placed their TRUST in their nation’s military strength and financial prosperity rather than in God; or perhaps it was a lesson to the people (and to us as well) that the people suffer when their leaders go astray. The disturbing part for me is the direction our USA is heading concerning SO many things that are NOT God’s ways. Is it our leaders’ faults? Is it our faults? Whatever the answer, God will hold EVERYone accountable in a nation for the direction of the nations (as we see happened with David and Israel.) Again, I am probably sounding like a broken record…. but PRAY for our leaders on all levels in all things!! PRAY as if your life depends on it!! Prayer does change things!!
The bottom line is that God does not have to justify HIS actions, reasons, to anyone. Just as in Job, the more important lesson is we have the CHOICE to serve an AWESOME God. Did you look at the sunrise today, or the sunset yesterday? Have you been to the majestic ocean or mountains recently? Have you ever witnessed the birth of a baby..human or animal? If you have seen these things (and so many more),then you have seen God’s awesomeness. We also have HIS Word, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us in all HIS ways. How deep would a person’s love have to be to give up their son to death so ALL could be saved from eternal damnation? I know parents who watch the children they raised go off to war and some don’t return. I KNOW their grief is great. Yet, LOOK at what God did for US…you and me…. in HIS son Jesus… in challenging times when there are no words for what is happening around us… we must do like David and TURN to God and HIS love.
God’s love was so apparent today in 1 Chronicles 21:15-25 — God sends an angel to destroy Jerusalem. However, The Lord saw what the angel had done at HIS command and HE GRIEVED and said ENOUGH and tells the angel to withdraw HIS hand!! David SAW the angel of The Lord standing between heaven and earth!! God tells David to build an altar to HIM so the plague can be stopped. David obeys God. Araunah who owned the threshing floor where the angel of The Lord told David to build the altar, offered to GIVE David ALL he needed to build the altar and make sacrifices. However, David KNEW he could not make a sacrifice for HIS people on land that did not come with a PRICE. So David pays Araunah more than a fair price. Back in the day… bartering was the way of life…. a man gave a price much higher than something was worth EXPECTING the “buyer” to come in with a lower bid. But David paid full price. The word SACRIFICE implies something that COSTS the giver in terms of self, time, or money. To give sacrificially requires more than a token effort or gift. God WANTS us to give voluntarily, but he WANTS it to mean something to us. Jeremiah 17:26 says: “we bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of The Lord.” THINK about that…. PRAISE as a SACRIFICE!!!
This land of the threshing floor owned by Araunah is a VERY important piece of land. It is also known as MOUNT MORIAH!! THIS is the very place where an Angel stood in this reading, where Abraham brought Isaac for a sacrifice (Genesis 22:2), where David built the altar in today’s reading, and where Solomon will build the Temple, the Temple will last 500 years before it will be destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies in 587/586 B.C. under Babylonian control. 70 years later the Temple was rebuilt by the Jews after the Babylonian captivity. In the 1st century AD, Herod claimed the temple as his own. It was the Temple where Jesus cleansed (John 2:15). Around 70 A.D. the Roman armies led by Titus, destroyed the temple. All that remains of the Temple Mount of that era is a portion of a retaining wall known as the “Western Wall” or the “Wailing Wall.” It has been a destination for pilgrims and a site of prayer for Jews for many centuries.
THIS spot on earth is SO HOLY!! It is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate and one of the most hotly contested on earth. This is a profoundly sacred area to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Sitting atop Mount Moriah today is the Temple Mount, a 37-acre tract of land where the Jewish temple ONCE stood. Several important Islamic holy sites are there NOW, including the Dome of the Rock – a Muslim shrine built thirteen hundred years ago – and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. (We will read why this was allowed to happen in future readings.)
OUR GOD STILL has BIG plans for this HOLY place. Daniel 9:27 indicates a third temple will be built on or near the site of Solomon’s temple. From our human eyes, this would seem an impossibility since this would seem to present a problem since the religious activities on the Temple Mount are currently CONTROLLED by the Supreme Muslim Council (the Waqf). Yet NO THING can put a wrinkle in God’s sovereign plans. Muslim control of this area simply fulfills the prophecy of Luke 21:24 that “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
THINGS to think about — WHO OWNS this land today??? David PAID for it…so does it still really belong to the Israelites? There is NO documentation it was ever SOLD again, or LEGALLY released. We know Jesus was crucified on Golgatha/Calvary and will come again on the Mount of Olives. It is hard for me to tell if all of these are part of the same land or not. However in looking at a map, Moriah, Jerusalem, Golgotha/Calvary/ Gethsemane, and Bethlehem are ALL VERY close together. MAKES YOU THINK doesn’t it???
The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). Since God’s ways are “perfect,” we can TRUST ALL HE IS and all that happens, just as David TRUSTED HIM. then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. We can’t expect to understand His mind perfectly, as He reminds us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). So… we may not “get it all” … but we can REST in HIM and in HIS promises!
Psalm 30…The Lord lifted him out of the depths..healed him,,,and my favorite is “His anger lasts only for a moment, but His FAVOR lasts a LIFETIME; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning..” Once again, with our Heavenly Father… the IMPORTANT things last forever… the painful things are temporary (even if we must endure them for our entire life here on earth) … eternity is forever
Sharing HIS love,