God in His Compassion stopped the Plague –

2 Samuel 24:18-25…18 Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up and set up an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 David went up in obedience to Gad’s command, just as the Lord had commanded. 21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so the plague on the people may be halted.” 25 He built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord was receptive to prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel ended.

The prophet Gad said, David was to build an altar on the threshing floor and there offer sacrifices to the Lord, and the plague would cease. As king, David could have appropriated the property or even borrowed it, but he insisted on purchasing it.  When the priest offered the sacrifices, God sent fire from heaven to consume them as a signal of His acceptance. A

The land that David purchased was the place where Abraham had put his son Isaac on the altar B and where Solomon would build the temple C. This area today is the subject of a worldwide debate while most of it is being controlled by Muslims.

God used David’s two great sins for His glory! Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon and God chose him to succeed David on the throne. On the property David purchased and on which he erected an altar to stop the plague, Solomon built the temple and dedicated it to the glory of God. What God did for David is certainly not an excuse for sin D, for David paid dearly for committing those sins. However, knowing what God did for David encourages us to seek His presence and trust His grace when we have disobeyed Him. “But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” E. What a merciful God we serve!

Are you willing to trust God’s grace when you have disobeyed Him? What kind of sacrifices should we give to God in gratitude for what He did at the cross? [See Hebrews 13:15-17, Romans 12:1]
Notes: A- 1 Chronicles 21:26; B- Genesis 22:1-19; C- 1 Chronicles 22:1, 2 Chronicles 3:1; D- Romans 6:1-2; E- Romans 5:20b;

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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David’s sincere remorse for his sin –

2 Samuel 24:16-17…17 When David saw the angel striking the people, he said to the Lord, “Look, I am the one who has sinned; I am the one who has done wrong. But these sheep, what have they done? Please, let your hand be against me and my father’s family.”

As promised the plague started the next day at morning and continued for three days, with the judgment angel ending his work at Jerusalem, just as Joab and his men had done A. We know that 70,000 died, 5% of the men counted died in 3 days. David’s heart was broken because of this judgment, and he pleaded with the Lord to punish him and his family instead. Why would God kill seventy thousand men and yet keep David alive? V.24:1 says that God was angry with Israel, so He was punishing the people for the sin they had committed and possibly David’s punishment was the anguish over Israel.

David begged the Lord to let His hand be against him and his family and for mercy for “the sheep of His pasture” B. The elders of Israel were with David C and with him “fell on their faces” in humble remorse and worship. David’s sin had precipitated the crisis, but the elders realized that the nation had sinned and deserved to receive God ’s discipline. David’s willingness to offer up himself and his family may have been a part of stopping the plague.

We can compare this judgment to the great 1918-19 flu epidemic which may have killed as much as 5% of the world’s population. D My mother was 4 years old in 1918, caught the flu, and refused to take the medicine available. The doctors told her mother don’t worry she is going to die with or without the medicine, but she survived! A plague that killed 5% of today’s population would kill 365 million people.

The sacrifice of Jesus made possible the forgiveness of sin and stopped the plague of eternity in hell for all who believe in Him.

Notes: A- 2 Samuel 24:8; B- Psalm 100:3d; C- 1 Chronicles 21:16d; D- Estimates of deaths from the 1918-19 flu epidemic are from 50-100 million. WW 1 military and civilian deaths are estimated at 21 million and certainly, a high percentage of these deaths were caused by the flu.

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Consequences of David’s sin –

 2 Samuel 24:11-15…11 When David got up in the morning, the word of the Lord had come to the prophet Gad, David’s seer [Prophet]: 12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three choices. Choose one of them, and I will do it to you.’”

God gave David the choice of how he would be punished: three years of famine, three months of military defeat, or three days of plague. A The punishments strike the nation at large, possibly because they had not paid the 1/2 shekel tax required during a census B or because The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again,C

In verse 14, David gave the choice back to God: “please, let us fall into the Lord’s hands because His mercies are great, but don’t let me fall into human hands”.  His answer reflects faith in the promise that was given to Moses: “The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin”D . The punishment was severe; seventy thousand men died.

In the census, the total number of men was one million three hundred thousand (v. 9), and of these seventy thousand died or over 5 percent of the men died in three days. This was a deadly plague. The plague extended from the north to the south of Israel, just as the census.

It may seem that the punishment was out of proportion to the sin of David and Israel. But one sin—one decision or action—can carry with it disastrous results? Can you think of examples of this in your life?

Notes: A- The 3 choices God gave David were similar to the “Curses for Disobedience” promised in Deuteronomy 28:15-61… 15 “But if you do not obey the Lord your God by carefully following all his commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you: Famine–vv. 23-24,38-40, Military defeat vv. 25-26, 41-48, Pestilence vv.21-22,27-28,35,60-61; B- Exodus 30:12-15; C- 2 Samuel 24:1a; D- Exodus 34:6-7a;

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Justification by faith –

 Galatians 2:16…we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

AA Job asking“How should [a] man be just with God?” A was a vital question because the answer determined eternal consequences. God answered “Believe in the Lord” & “The just shall live by his faith”B; it was this truth that liberated Martin Luther from religious bondage and fear. Three New Testament books quote Habakkuk. C

But what is “justification”? Wiersbe said; “Justification is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Jesus.

[1] Justification is an act and not a process.  “Having therefore been once-and-for-all justified by faith, we have peace with God” D. Since we are justified by faith, it is an instant and immediate transaction between the believing sinner and God. If we were justified by works, then it would have to be a gradual process.
[2] Justification is an act of God; not the result of man’s character or works. “God is the one who justifies” E. It is not by doing the works of the Law that the sinner gets a right standing before God, but by putting his faith in Jesus. The Law was given to reveal sin and not to redeem from sin F. God in His grace exchanged the believer’s sin for the righteousness of Jesus G.
[3] In justification, God declares the believing sinner righteous; the new Disciple has Jesus; If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.G1  The new Disciple becomes a child of God and co-heir with Jesus G2.  Before the sinner trusts Christ, he stands GUILTY before God; but the moment he trusts Christ, he is declared NOT GUILTY and he can never be called GUILTY again! H

[4] God justifies sinners, not “good people.” Paul declares that God justifies “the ungodly” I. The reason most sinners are not justified is because they will not admit they are sinners! And sinners are the only kind of people Jesus Christ can save J.
[5] Justification leads to a changed life because the new Disciple loves Jesus and is not obeying out of duty.   When the new Disciple sins, their fellowship with Jesus is broken but not their relationship as a family member and when they claim the promise of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9 fellowship is restored.

Am I trying to mix Law and grace?
Notes: AA- Much of this post is from Warren Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 1, pp. 694-695; A- Job 9:2 KJV; B- Genesis 15:6 NKJV,  Habakkuk 2:4 NKJV); C-  Romans 1:17 NKJV , Galatians 3:11 NKJV and Hebrews 10:38 NKJV; D- Romans 5:1, literal translation by Wiersbe; E- Romans 8:33; F- Romans 3:20; G- 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:10; G2- Romans 8:16-17;

H- Justification is not simply “forgiveness,” because a person could be forgiven and then go out and sin and become guilty. Once you have been “justified by faith” you can never be held guilty before God.
Justification is also different from “pardon,” because a pardoned criminal still has a record. When the sinner is justified by faith, his past sins are remembered against him no more, and God no longer puts his sins on record (Psalms 32:1-2; Romans 4:1-8). I- Romans 4:5; J- Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 18:9-14;

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Confession of David –

 2 Samuel 24:10 David’s conscience troubled him after he had taken a census of the troops. He said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I’ve done. Now, Lord, because I’ve been very foolish, please take away your servant’s guilt.”

The census took 9 months and 20 days and then some time to tabulate the result and it was not until receiving the results that David was convicted by the Holy Spirit A of his sin. Maybe he realized that they had not collected the required tax from each man of 1/2 shekel and that God had said that would result in a plague. B Or maybe he realized that Joab had been right about warning him not to take the census. C

Whatever the reason David confessed his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. When he confessed his sins of adultery and murder, David said, “I have sinned”; but when he confessed his sin of the census, he said, “I have sinned greatly.

Most of us would consider his sins relating to Bathsheba far worse than the sin of the census. David’s sins with Bathsheba took the lives of four of David’s sons [the baby, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah] plus the life of Uriah, Ahithophel, and the 20,000 troops in the battle to reclaim the throne. After the census, God sent a plague that took the lives of 70,000 people. This may be a confirmation that the sin was greater.

There are 2 lessons for us today; [1] be very careful to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the mind of Christ and others when making decisions, [2] and keep short accounts in self-examination for sin on a daily basis. David had at least ten months when he could have stopped the census but waited until it was complete before confessing his sin.

Maintain a Biblical decision making process for your life and constantly examine your life for any sin that should be confessed.

Notes: A- 1 Samuel 16:13;  B- Exodus 30:12; C- 1 Chronicles 21:3; D- 2 Samuel 12:13; 24:10, 17; Psalm 41:4, 51:4; 1 Chronicles 21:8;

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David ordered Joab to conduct a census of the men in Israel –

 2 Samuel 24: So the king said to Joab, the commander of his army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the troops so I can know their number.”

1Chronicles 21:3 Joab replied,…Why should he bring guilt on Israel?

Joab knew that taking a census was a bad idea and could result in a plague if a half a shekel of silver tax to redeem the people was not collected. However, David prevailed and over nearly 10 months the census was taken. This was a time when David did not seek the counsel of God, but was tempted by Satan. He might have been thinking that when Solemn took over as king he would have a large geographic area to govern with 12 tribes and he wanted to set up an organization to prepare for the young kings reign.

This is the kind of temptation Disciples face today. As parents or grandparents, we may attempt to shelter our young people from the reality of a hard life as adults fighting in a battle every day between the forces of good and evil. Instead, we should prepare them to become independent adults prepared to live one day at a time depending on Jesus no matter what the circumstances are.

Despite David’s planning A, this did not turn out to well for Solomon because he was drawn astray by David’s sins and the false god’s of his many wives. When Solomon died; the kingdom split into the 10 northern tribes-Israel and 2 southern tribes-Judah. B

What kind of example are you providing for the future generations of your family?

Notes: A- David’s planning for Solomon included developing a plan for the future temple, raising the money for construction, arranging for materials and workers. 1 Chronicles 22-29; B- Israel split up – 1 Kings 12 – 930BC, then Israel was destroyed by Assyria in 722BC – 2 Kings 17:6-41, Judah by Babylon 605-586BC – 2 Chronicles 36:5-21, Cyrus permits return 535BC – 2 Chronicles 36:22-23

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again –

2 Samuel 24: 1 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again, and he stirred up David against them to say: “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.” & 1 Chronicles 21: Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel.

The Lord was angry at Israel and He permitted Satan to incite David to conduct a census. There was nothing wrong with a census done as the Bible proscribed. A

Exodus 30:13-14 says that every adult male in the nation was to pay half a shekel of silver into the sanctuary coffers, a significant expense for most of the people. Exodus 30:12,16, said there would be a plague if the census money was not used to redeem the people.

The census was permitted but not commanded, and it was discouraged by the threat of a plague. A centralized, powerful state was never the biblical ideal B. But, David was the king and the people were organized by his administration. The census was probably to prepare for Solomon’s reign, but no half-shekel tax was collected. Therefore, Israel had to be punished.

Solomon updated David’s census information prior to organizing the nation into groups for forced labor or taxation and to set up twelve administrative districts. C These districts to some degree erased the old tribal boundaries. This was the very thing that Exodus 30 meant to discourage—the reduction of the significance of the tribes and the enhancement of a central administration. The tribes were an ancient part of Israel’s identity, and Solomon’s reorganization did much damage to it. The forced labor to which Israel was subjected in effect returned them to what they were in Egypt: slaves. This began with an improper census.

Notes: A- Exodus 30:11-16; B- 1 Samuel 8:4-18

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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