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24. Remember to Trust God

January 19, 2010

Text:    II Samuel 24:1-25

Harmony Text:    I Chronicles 21:1-26

Outline:            I. David’s Sin      II Samuel 24:1-9

II. Sin has Consequences      II Samuel 24:10-17

III. Repentance Restores      II Samuel 24:18-25

Context/Discussion/Comments:

One must read this text together with the second text in I Chronicles to get the full flavor of the situation. We don’t know exactly when this took place in David’s reign but I believe [and so do many scholars] that it happened shortly after David returned to Jerusalem after Absalom’s death. Perhaps this was a time of peace, good times, and the people, including David, became complacent so that Satan worked in David’s heart to do this census confirming his power, the people’s loyalty toward him, and just to have something to do. Joab objected because it wasn’t needed. He and his men probably wanted to stay home for a change and renew ties with their families. David overruled him and it took him and his men away from Jerusalem for nearly 10 months. The number of men available was staggering; 500,000 men in Judah and 800,000 men available from the remaining tribes. Note that Joab started the project on the east side of the Jordan going counter clockwise and ending with Judah. He did not include Benjamin [see I Chronicles 21]; perhaps because it was such a small insignificant tribe and/or because David did not have much support there after the uprising caused by Sheba. It seems Saul, although dead, still had support from his own tribe of Benjamin even though his descendents were no more.

David realizes his sin and confesses it before the Lord. Gad, a prophet of the Lord, has an audience with David telling him he has three options [consequences] from which to choose; three years of famine, three months of fleeing from his enemies, or three days of plague. David pleads for mercy asking only that the second option be excluded. This is further evidence that David has just shortly returned to the throne from exile and he does not want to go through that again. God chose to send a plague [Israel probably had just completed a three year famine because of Saul’s sin against the Gibeonites] which killed 70,000 people outside of Jerusalem. God stops the plague at Jerusalem. David sees what is happening by God’s dispensing angel and asks that he and his family be struck by the plague in place of the people because he is the one who sinned.

God informs David that he is to build an altar on the property of Araunah, a Jebusite. Araunah, not an Israelite, bows to David as King asking why he has come. David asks to buy his land and Araunah says take the land and take his oxen if it will stop the plague. David says no, he will pay so that his sin truly costs him something. David paid Araunah 600 shekels of gold for the property according to Chronicles [fifty shekels of silver for the threshing floor according to II Samuel]. Thus we have a case for “eminent domain” law established wherein the government buys private land at a fair price for the good of all. David buys the land, sacrifices to the Lord, and the Lord ends the plague in answer to David’s prayer.

God also turns this bad situation into good in that the land David purchases is Mt. Moriah, the place where God will build his permanent tabernacle. David bought the land and drew up the plans for Solomon to execute at a later date.

Lessons/Applications:

1. It is easier for us to trust God when life is hard than it is when life is good because we realize our inadequacies and our need for help when life is hard. REMEMBER, always place your trust in God, especially when life is good. Acknowledge God’s blessings.

2. The consequences of sin are real and life threatening, beyond one’s control. REMEMBER, God is sovereign, not man.

3. The bad decisions we make has an effect on all those who are subject to us in our families, our churches, our organizations, and in the workplaces in which we lead and/or have a responsible role. What we say and do always affects others in some way. REMEMBER, all decisions [great or small] should be made at the throne of God [See I Cor. 10:31].

4. When one realizes [discerns] that “bad” things are happening as a result of “bad” decisions, REMEMBER to ask the Lord for mercy and repent. Repenting of sin is the only way for us to restore fellowship [respect] with the Lord and with our fellowman.

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