TODAY’S READING: II SAMUEL 21-24
God punishes Israel with a three year famine because of Saul’s ill- treatment of the Gibeonites; seven members of Saul’s family are put to death as retribution; victories over the Philistine giants; the last words of David; the last recorded sin of David; David builds an altar; David’s sacrifice; the three day plague.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Today’s reading covers six events, which are not necessarily in chronological order, that form what might be considered an appendix to the main context of the Book of II Samuel:
1)A major famine sent as God’s judgment for Saul’s treatment of the Gibeonites.
2)A series of wars with the Philistines.
3)A psalm of deliverance and praise.
4)A list of David’s mighty men of valour.
5)A sinful census.
6)The severe punishment that followed.
The events of chapter 24 provide many practical principles and applications. It is difficult to say with complete assurance what motivated David to call for this census since the Scripture doesn’t specifically say, but it appears that once the nation of Israel had been re-established following the whole Absalom debacle that David’s heart was lifted up with pride, desiring to bask in the glory of his success. The parallel account in I Chron. 21:1 says, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
It is interesting to compare this great sin in David’s life with his sin with Bathsheba. II Cor. 7:1 commands us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the FLESH and SPIRIT.” Whereas David’s sin with Bathsheba was a sin of the FLESH, David’s numbering of the people was a sin of the SPIRIT. Whereas his sin with Bathsheba was a sin of PASSION, done in haste; this was a sin of PRIDE, done very calculatedly. Joab even appeals to David’s conscience about doing such a defiant thing against God, and still he persisted. Whereas the result of David’s sin with Bathsheba caused great sorrow to David and the death of a handful of family members, his sin in numbering the people resulted in the death of 70,000 men! From a human perspective, pride and rebellion do not seem quite as terrible as adultery and murder, and yet in David’s life, they produced greater sorrow and tragedy than his sin of adultery. We must always be on guard not only concerning sins of the FLESH, but for !
the sins of the SPIRIT! Do recognize, however, that the consequences of sin affect not only ourselves, but those we lead (i.e. family, disciples, church members, etc.)
So what does II Samuel 24 teach us?
1)We never “out-grow” temptation.
David is not a strapping youth in II Samuel 24. He’s way up in years, and one would think he would know better. Again, don’t forget, “You’re never out of the woods!”
2)God always gives us space to repent.
In this case, He gave David over nine months to “cleanse himself of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” Have you cleansed yourself of ALL filthiness of the FLESH and SPIRIT?
3)We must recognize that sins of the SPIRIT are as horrific as sins of the FLESH.
It is interesting that Jesus was more “accommodating” to those involved in sins of passion (i.e. the woman caught in adultery), than He was those persistently involved in sins of pride (i.e. the scribes and Pharisees). Certainly, we must guard against both.
4)Our sin always involves others.
In David’s case, whether it was family members or the entire nation, it screams to us that others are always affected by our sin.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the ONE WE CALL UPON FOR SALVATION – II Samuel 22:4 (Acts 4:12; Rom. 10:9, 13).