Highlights In Today's Reading:
The last written words of David were a tribute of appreciation to his mighty men (23:8-17) and their remarkable achievements. First he names the "three" of his honor roll totaling 37 (23:18-39). David sins (24:1-10) and is given a choice of his punishment. What does he choose and why (24:11-14)?
David never lost a battle in his 40-year reign. His desire at this ime to take a census of his army was obviously based on pride and not on any threat by invaders. It resulted in a three-day plague which killed 70,000 people. We sometimes become proud of "our" accomplishments.
When we do, Satan is quick to suggest wrong conclusions as to our importance. And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked (incited) David to number (take a census of) Israel (I Chr. 21:1). The Chronicles' passage further clarifies this II Samuel incident. From the standpoint of the absolute sovereignty of God over everything, including Satan, we read: And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. . . . And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech Thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. . . . So the Lord was intreated for the land (II Sam. 24:1,10,25).
It would be inconceivable for God to actually force David to commit this sin and then, before the census was completed, to destroy 70,000 people because of it (24:15; I Chr. 27:24).
The Holy Spirit directed the writing of II Samuel to let us see that everyone is under the sovereign will of God but that He allows us to stubbornly go our own way, for He will not violate our free will.
There is no record that taking a census was prohibited. But the Law did state: When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel . . . then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul (himself) unto the Lord . . . that there be no plague among them. . . . This they shall give . . . half a shekel . . . shall be the offering of the Lord (Ex. 30:12-13).
Because of this violation, a plague spread over the land. David's tragic experience is a reminder of how much our lives, as well as our sins, affect others and how important it is that we pray one for another that the God of peace . . . Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:20-21; compare Titus 3:8).
Thought for Today:
One of Satan's favorite lies is to tell us that the Laws of God are optional and they really don't always apply to our situation today.
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 =do no more.
Pray for Staff: Mike Moore • Government Officials: Sen. Pat Roberts (KS) and Justice John Paul Stevens • Country: Iraq (22 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Arabic and Kurdish • Fierce harassment of non-Muslims • 96% Muslim; 3% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Realize that the will of God is often different from our own desires (II Cor. 12:8-9).
Optional Reading: Acts 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:13