The last written words of David are a tribute to his mighty men (II Sam. 23:8-17). First he names the top "three" of his honor roll of 37 (23:18-39). David sins (24:1-10). Three-day plague; David builds an altar; his sacrifice (24:11-14).
Verse for Today:
And David's heart smote him after he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done (II Sam. 24:10).
Satan, the instigator of pride, stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel (I Chr. 21:1). From the standpoint of the absolute sovereignty of God over everything, including Satan, we read: The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved (allowed) David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah (II Sam. 24:1). David's desire at this time to take a census of his army was obviously not based on any threat by invaders. He had never lost a war or been defeated. When we feel proud of our accomplishments, Satan is quick to suggest thoughts of pride as he did with David. When pride cometh, then cometh shame (Prov. 11:2; 16:18; 29:23).
David's decision, prompted by pride, reminds us of how easily a person can become a victim of his success and lose sight of who is responsible for all our blessings. In this moment of pride, David did not remember that he once said: Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the Name of the Lord our God (Ps. 20:7). He forgot that the Law stated that on being numbered a soldier must pay a half shekel, the price of a sin offering, as a ransom for his soul . . . that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them (Ex. 30:12-15).
God gives special talents or abilities. There is a tendency to become proud of "our" accomplishments and no longer depend on Him. No one in himself is good enough to serve the Lord. The silver shekel is symbolic of Truth and Christ alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6). His atonement alone qualifies us to serve the Lord. This needs to be a first consideration when singers, musicians, and others are chosen to lead in worship, teach, or entertain our congregations without regard to their personal relationships to Christ. Even answers to prayer can become dramatic exhibitions wherein we subtly give ourselves the credit for "our" great faith and power in prayer.
Oh, how sensitive we must be to say from our hearts: God forbid I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). We must always give Him glory and praise for anything worthwhile.
Thought for Today:
Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created (Rev. 4;11).
Through the silver which David used to purchase the threshingfloor upon which he built . . . an altar unto the Lord (II Sam. 24:24-25). Silver symbolizes Christ's redemption offered for all on the cross. Judas said unto them, What will ye give me? . . . And they covenanted (agreed) with him for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15).
23:10 clave =clung; spoil =plunder, loot; 23:13 chief =foremost, captains; 23:14 hold =stronghold, fortification; 24:14 a great strait =great distress, difficulty; 24:16 stay now thine hand =do no more.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Iva Jo Swinsburg • Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Sen. Pat Roberts (KS) and Justice John Paul Stevens • Country: Gabon (1 million) in west-central Africa • Major language: French • Religious freedom • 66% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 3% animism and ancestor worship • Prayer Suggestion: Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything (Phil. 4:6).
Optional Reading: Acts 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:12