Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2 Samuel 24 David's Last Actions

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Friday night's lesson part 3

2 Samuel 24, David's Last Actions
Don't be alarmed. Were going a little out of order but it'll be OK.

(1-10) "Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, 'Go, number Israel and Judah.' So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army, who was with him, 'Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.' But Joab said to the king, 'May the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see it, but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?' But the king's word prevailed against Joab [...]. But David's heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done foolishly."

  •  First of all it is unclear why the Lord was angered with Israel, nor is it clear why he incited David against them or gave him the idea to have a census. (Definition: A census is the numbering or registration of people generally for the purpose of taxation or military recruitment.) But it can be assumed that David either intended to tax the people or increase the size of his army. 

  • The latter seems more likely when the report refers to the valiant men of the nation (verse 9). Despite the reason or method, David had a choice to make. He could have gloried in the vastness of God's people. Or he could boast in the vastness of his kingdom. He is not the only king to make this mistake. The prophet Daniel tells of King Nebuchadnezzar's boasting, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built..." The king at that time was struck down to appear and act like a beast. (Daniel 4)
  • Joab questions David's motives, perhaps because he understands tat they are not well placed. But David will not hear reason. He turns away from the faithful counsel he has had in Joab and continues in his plans. How often do we force our words to prevail over the wise words of a friend or counselor? What usually results?
(11-14) "And when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go, and say to David, "Thus says the Lord. Three things I offer (hold over) you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you."' So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, 'Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I am to return to him who sent me.' The David said to Gad, 'I am in distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.'"
  • This almost seems to good. From someone who likes to be in control, to not only know the consequences of my actions before they happen, but to be able to choose them? However, it is more of a lesser of three evils situation. The question his who suffers, for how long, and by what? Personally I would have thought David would have spared his people and taken the second option. I mean, he has been running from his enemies almost his whole life; what's three more months? And does he not think the Lord will protect him? As stated in the first part of this lesson, God will always deliver you, whether around, through, or by a situation. 
  • But David is overwhelmed by his sin and his punishment and cannot choose. However, his indecisive answer does show that he still have faith in the Lord. He attribute him with mercy. Whatever the Lord chooses, he will be merciful. David almost shows more faith in not choosing, allow God to work his own will, rather than taking control of the situation. 
  • And truly there is no right answer. If he chooses to save his nation, rather than himself, then the number of his armies remains vast. But if he saves himself, he seems selfish and not compassionate towards his people. So the Lord chooses. 
(15-17) "So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men. And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity [...]. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The David spoke to the Lord wen he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said 'Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let you hand be against me and my father's house.'" 

  • The Lord chooses the shortest period of punishment, but this isn't exactly a win-win. The Lord's actions seem to echo Job 1:21, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away." God shows that the people and the nation are his, not David's. 
  • But as David says, the Lord is merciful. He spares Jerusalem. At this point, the David we all know and love steps in, pleading on behalf of the people. David finally takes full responsibility for his actions.
(18-25) "And Gad came that day to David and said to him, 'Go up, raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.' And David went up at Gads word, as the Lord commanded. [...] Then Araunah said to David, 'Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.' And Araunah said, 'May the Lord your God accept you.' But the king said to Araunah, 'No but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing. [...] So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel."

  • David's subjects are loyal to him. His reputation as a just king goes before him and those around him offer all they have to him and to the service of the Lord. But David cannot accept his offer. 
  • David's words strike right to the heart of true giving. "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord that cost me not

No comments:

Post a Comment