Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day five) Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.”
What was David’s motive behind the sin?Why was God offended by this particular census?God had even given instructions for taking a census (Exodus 30). So we know that God is not anti-census. Others have offered really good explanations in this blog. I would like to give you one that I find compelling. I believe that this census indicates a lack of faith in David. He seems to be deeply interested in the exact size and strength of his army. David has forgotten God’s promise that victories will not be determined by strength or numbers, but rather trust in God (1 Samuel 14:6)- a promise he believed as a teenager when he stood up against Goliath, but has forgotten as an adult. His trust was in his numbers not God’s power or promises. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) Which promises do we need to remember and trust in today?
What was so bad about a census? To our western mind, a census does not seem to be a bad idea. In Exodus 30 though, God specifically required a ransom for each man counted in a census. Since no reason is given in Scripture for the ransom, scholars have speculated as to the why. Israel was considered God’s army, so when a leader counted the available soldiers, he was appearing to claim the army as his own. In 1 Chronicles 21, we also learn that Satan had moved David to conduct the census. That cause and effect is never good!
Regardless of the why, David had sinned against God. It was David’s repentance after the fact that revealed David’s reputation as a man after God’s own heart. We all sin…but it is how we deal with that sin after the fact that reveals our relationship with God. God is ready to forgive when He sees a heart that is truly repentant!
We recognize David least when he is behaving most like a clichéd tyrant—employing his power to bend the world to his will. The writer of 2 Samuel makes apparent that God has established and nurtured the nation for his own purposes. David now behaves as if he has outgrown those purposes, and he moves Israel to a war footing to expand his geopolitical influence in the region. David had determined to take action, and the Lord said, in effect, “Okay, your will be done.” When human beings speak that phrase to God, the final result is good, always. When God speaks that phrase to human beings, things will not end well.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day two)However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.”vs. 24
Sacrifice always comes with a price. David could have accepted the threshing floor, the oxen, all the was required for a proper sacrifice….except a sacrificial action. If it costs nothing, it is worth nothing. Jesus taught this to his disciples in every way he could.
And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them;for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Luke 21 2-4
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
God rewarded David’s action far beyond what was expected. David was atoning for his disobedience, and praying for mercy for his people. God was continuing to establish his kingdom and would later turn that threshing floor into the foundation of the Temple.
What has your service to Christ cost you? What are you willing to give? Isn’t he worth it all?
Galatians 5 provides a good standard of measurement: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:19-23)
This week we see more of that first list in Joab: stabbing an unsuspecting man in the belly (v.10), wreaking destruction in Abel Beth-maacah (v.15, 19) while we see more of the second list in the woman of Abel Beth-maacah: wise (v.16, 22), peaceable and faithful (v.19).
If you find yourself entertaining any of those on the first list your flesh is stealing you away from God, but when you find those characteristics listed second appearing in your life the Spirit is molding you into something holy. May we be filled with the Holy Spirit bearing abundant fruit to bless all those around us.
The wise woman of Abel weighed the costs. Her city harbored the rebel leader Sheba, while Joab and his army besieged the city. She determined the costs were too high. Death and destruction were literally at Abel’s door (or gate), not to mention the impact its destructive would have on neighboring towns. The wise woman convinces others in Abel that harboring the rebellious fugitive will only lead to death, so they do what needs to be done, they put Sheba to death and show the evidence to Joab, and the city is saved.
What I appreciate most about the wise women is her willingness weigh the costs and take immediate action. Reminds me of Jesus when he said, “If your eye causes you to sin, gauge it out!”
How did David do it?He kept leading and serving in the midst of betrayal, attacks, rebellions, danger, difficulty, death of loved ones, and consequences from his own sin and disobedience. In the midst of all these conditions and circumstances, David was still doing “kingly things”.The temptation for us is to give up and check out. But not David. In the midst of all the pain, suffering, disappointment, and tension, there iscourage and contentment that keep David engaged with God and in leading the kingdom. I believe David’s perspective and persistence are a byproduct of being in covenant with God (remember 2 Samuel 7).Peace is evidence (fruit) of being in a covenant relationship with God. It is not simply a feeling of inner tranquility, but rather something deeper and stronger. We see this explained in the New Testament (Galatians 5:22, Philippians 4:7) and demonstrated many times in David’s life.
“God’s Peace brings us two things: power to face and live with our own badness and failings, and also contentment under ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’.” – J. I. Packer
The dust has hardly settled from Absalom’s revolt and another upstart tries to do the same. Sheba tries to take advantage of the rebellious spirit of the nation and leads a revolt against David’s throne. Evil is never satisfied…there will always be a challenge to God’s authority…always be a new twist to an old challenge.
We see it in today’s news…no defeat of evil is enough to deter the insatiable desire for just a small victory over good. In the second book of his Space Trilogy, Perelandra, C.S. Lewis wrote of the insidiousness of evil…anything to tarnish the pure. Small victory or great, evil chips away at the good. Satan will eventually meet the same end as Sheba…there will be no more evil. Revelation 22:3-7 gives us this promise. Until that day, we must be diligent to obey and serve God with all of our hearts. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
For every instance of soldiers’ and priests’ loyalty to the crown, murder and treachery from the top down poisoned the monarchy. For every battle won in the field, a skirmish on the home front caused paroxysms of family suffering. For every season of righteous ruling, rebels hostile to Judah threatened to fracture the kingdom. That’s some golden age. Turns out hindsight does not guarantee clear vision. We want to celebrate David as the ideal king. The real King David is far less worthy of laud and honor. What we’re left with as a legacy worth pursuing is not his exploits, but his question arising from the tattered remains of every disaster in his lifetime: Where is God?