Continuing with our blogging through the Bible, we’re taking a deeper look at 2 Samuel Chapter 24, when David takes it upon himself to take a census of the land. We’ve been blogging through the Bible for awhile now, and if you’ve missed some of our previous posts, here’s a recap!
Tammy covered Chapters 22-23 of 2 Samuel HERE.
Angela adds her new blogs in this series HERE.
My own blog on 2 Samuel 18 and 19 is HERE.
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Taking the Census
David was adamant that there should be a census taken of all that were in Israel and Judah. Joab tried to talk him out of it, but the king wasn’t having it! So Joab and his captains went on and set up camp in Aroer, near Gad and Jazer and completed the census the king had called for.
It took 9 months and 20 days. In Israel, 800,000 valiant men were counted in Israel, and 500,000 men were counted in Judah. That’s just over 1 and a quarter MILLION men, not counting women and children.
As soon as the numbers were reported back to him, David’s heart condemned him and he repented before God. But Gad, David’s seer, or prophet, came to David not long after with a word from God:
Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. (2 Samuel 24:12)
Into the Hands of God
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure KNOWING about God’s punishment would be much better than simply having it happen. And David was much the same way, as we see from his answer to Gad…
And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of men. (2 Samuel 24:14)
AMEN, right? Lord, I’d rather fall into YOUR hands than into ANY MAN’S hand!
So, the Lord chose to send pestilence, there were 70,000 of those recently counted men, from Dan to Beersheba, that died. Just as the angel was to destroy those in Jerusalem, God stopped the assault. At that very moment, the angel of the Lord was in the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
David Takes all the Blame
When David saw everything that had happened, he repented again. He went on to ask the Lord to let his fury be against him and his father’s house and not against the people, who weren’t at fault at all.
David is then instructed to put up and altar, in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite (where the angel was).
As David drew near Araunah’s field, Araunah saw him coming and went and bowed himself down before the king. He asked David why he had come. Once he found out, he offered David not only his threshingfloor, but also oxen for the burnt sacrifice, and other instruments. All at no charge, only that the Lord would accept him.
David on the other hand, refused to take the handout, speaking words that weigh far more than they seemed to at the time:
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (2 Samuel 24:24)
There’s always going to be a price for the things we offer in honor of God. It would be easy to pay tithes each time if that amount were freely given to us, wouldn’t it?
We might pay with our time, our tears, our prayers, or any one of a number of other things. But God sees our heart. And just like He saw David’s heart, and stopped the pestilence, so He will see OUR heart when we need Him to!
What if you had been in David’s place, offered a chance to choose your punishment from God?
How have you had to “pay” for those things in your life that honor God?
Lord Jesus, thank you that we no longer have to live the way that David and the others had to live in the Old Testament! Thank you that our sin debt has ALREADY been paid, by a lamb without spot or blemish, who loves us with an everlasting love, a love that we could never repay in our flesh. But we love you so, and honor Your Name this day! We give you all the glory, and the honor, in the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Thanks so much for reading!
Ever In His Service,