Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 04/20/2003

April 20

Read II Samuel 23 -- 24

In Today's Reading:

The last words of David; David's last recorded sin; David builds an altar; his sacrifice; the three-day plague

David never lost a battle in his 40-year reign. Although he had often prayed for the Lord's direction during his early years of conquest, his desire at this time to take a census of his army was obviously not based on any threat by invaders. When we begin feeling proud, Satan is quick to suggest wrong thoughts, as he did with David. Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count the people (I Chronicles 21:1). The Chronicles passage further explains the incident in II Samuel. From the standpoint of the absolute sovereignty of God over everything, including Satan, we read: Again the LORD's anger burned against Israel.He incited David against them by instructing: Go, count . . . Israel and Judah! . . . Then David's consciencetroubled himafter he had numbered the troops.He said to the LORD, I've sinned greatly in what I've done. Now, O LORD, because I've been very foolish,please take away your servant's guilt. . . . Then the LORD answered prayer on behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was halted (II Samuel 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 Chronicles 27:24). The Holy Spirit directed the writing of II Samuel to let us see that everyone is under the sovereign will of God, who 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 you take a census of the Israelites . . . each of the men must pay a ransom for himself to the LORD as they are registered. Then no plague will come on them. . . . the registered group must pay . . . half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD (Exodus 30:12-13).

Because of this violation, a plague spread over the land.This tragic experience of David is a reminder of how important it is that we pray one for another that: The God of peace . . . equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Christ Revealed:

Through the silver which David used to purchase the threshing floor upon which he built an altar unto the Lord (II Samuel 24:24-25). Silver symbolizes Christ's redemption offered for all.Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and said, What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you? So they weighed out 30 pieces of silver for him (Matthew 26:14-15).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Pat Roberts (KS) and Justice John Paul Stevens · Country: Algeria (31 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and French · Authorities have virtually ended all open mission work · 99% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God that the answers to your prayers are granted through the grace of God (Isaiah 30:19).

Optional Reading: Acts 21

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:165

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