TODAY’S READING: I CHRONICLES 18-21
The extension of David’s kingdom through his victories in battle; David’s sin in numbering the people; God’s judgment upon Israel for David’s sin.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
It will be helpful to understand that the events that God summarizes for us in chapters 18, 19 and 20 took place historically AFTER David was made king (chapter 12), but BEFORE the Ark had been brought to Jerusalem (chapters 13-17). David’s life in these three chapters reads more like the campaigns of a World War II general than “the man after God’s own heart.” They provide ample understanding of why God refused to allow David to build the Temple, saying, “Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight” (I Chron. 22:8).
Whereas in yesterday’s reading we saw that David had made a horrific blunder in multiplying WIVES for himself (14:3), chapter 18 and verse 4 records another failure of David to obey the laws God had laid down for Israel’s kings in Deut. 17:15-17. This time he multiplied HORSES. God’s prohibition for not multiplying wives is obvious, however, the prohibition for not multiplying horses is unclear. Apparently, God knows that it is somehow associated with the development of a spirit of pride within human leaders. David’s pride will blossom in chapter 21.
Note in chapter 18, that while David’s enemies were the recipients of the execution of David’s wrath (18:1-15), God’s people enjoyed the execution of David’s righteousness and justice (18:14).
The first part of chapter 19 is a great example of the 21st century proverb: “No good deed goes unpunished.” What David fully intended to be a blessing to the son of king Nahash at the death of his father, is turned into an incredible fiasco by the newly installed king’s “cabinet of advisors” called “princes” (19:3). Through their “profound insight” and ability to “discern the motives of David’s heart” they counsel the king concerning David’s “ill-intentioned motives,” and by the time it’s all said and done, what could have been the beginning of a great relationship, ended with the death of 47,000 soldiers (19:18-19)! A great lesson for us about thinking we have the ability to discern people’s motives and/or hearts, and a great warning about listening to people who think they can!
>From a chronological standpoint, I Chronicles 20 coincides with II Samuel 12, and is that time when David became involved with Bathsheba. Whereas II Samuel 12 records David’s sin and restoration, in keeping with the rest of I and II Chronicles, the sin is not recorded here. In chapter 21, the usually humble David is lifted up with pride of the Devil. He instructs Joab, the commander of his army to number the people. Joab recognizes that David is battling his pride and that taking this census would bring sin into the kingdom and appeals to David saying (in effect), “Listen, if the motive here is to find out how many subjects are in your kingdom, let it be enough to know that ALL of them love you and are your servants! You don’t need to know how many there are. All finding out is going to do is lead to a bunch of problems!” David, however, had made up his mind. He was going to do what HE wanted to do! And he did.
Numbering the people displeased the Lord, and brought His immediate judgment upon Israel (21:7). Though David had “sinned greatly,” the good news is, he was quick to humble himself and take ownership of his sin (21:8). The bad news is, his sin was not just the death of one man, as in Uzza’s case, but the death of 70,000 men!!! Almost the entire population of Tuscarawas County! Imagine the devastation felt by 70,000 families in Israel! Though God graciously forgave David of his sin, imagine how hard it would have been for 70,000 families to forgive their king because of his insistence upon exalting his foolish pride.
Through God, the “seer” (i.e. “prophet” – I Sam. 9:9), the Lord instructed David to acquire the threshingfloor of Ornan (21:18), upon which to build an altar and to offer sacrifices. Through the sacrifices, the judgment of God upon Israel was stayed. This threshingfloor would later become the site of the Temple (II Chron. 3:1).
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through the ALTAR David build to sacrifice unto the Lord, so that Israel might be restored to a right relationship with God – I Chron. 21:18, 26 (Only through Christ can we be restored to a right relationship with God – Rom. 3:24).