Read 2 Samuel 24:1-25
King David – a man after God’s own heart. Any guy would surely aspire to be like him. He brought Goliath crashing to the ground with a thud. He conquered enemy armies and then returned to crowds, singing that “David has slain his ten thousands”. The chapter before today’s reading tells us that he killed 800 men in one encounter with his spear and led “David’s Mighty Warriors”! As I read today’s passage in 2 Samuel, however, I am reminded that, while David had many “superhero” attributes that I would like to see in myself, David’s larger than life persona was far from perfect. You may easily recall David’s awful choices with Bathsheba. And here, chapter 24 begins with David being more than a little bullheaded by doing what he knew he shouldn’t do. He even went ahead with his ill-conceived plan, in spite of good counsel to the contrary. Sadly, in these moments, I see similarities between my life and David’s in some of the choices I’ve made. Can you relate?
I am thankful David’s story doesn’t end with verse 9. Having sinned, David’s conscience finally gets his attention and he is stricken with guilt. He confesses to God that he has sinned greatly, begging for God to take away the guilt of his foolishness. The next part of our reading is painfully difficult.
Yes, God does provide for David to atone for his sin. He even gives David a choice of three different punishments.
When the Angel of the Lord was at the threshing floor, striking down the people, David’s grief reached a pinnacle. He pleads with God, once again acknowledging his sin, but now he sees that, as the shepherd of his people, his sin was creating horror for people who had done nothing wrong. The lesson I see for myself here is that, when I sin, two things will happen:
- God will hand out a punishment sufficient to get my attention so that, in repentance, I would not make that kind of foolish choice again.
- My sin will always spill out in some way and harm others. Sin committed affects innocent people in my life.
The “happy ending” to this horrible situation?
God told David to build an altar and David was obedient. But do not in any way miss this: David wasn’t just obedient in building the altar. He showed a broken and repentant heart when he insisted on paying for the threshing floor, so as not to sacrifice to the Lord burnt offerings that “cost me nothing”. That was the kind of offering the Lord was seeking and the kind of prayer He answered.
When you and I are foolish, the pain of sin should be awful and it might hurt those we love. Praise the Lord, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Amen!
21 DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE
For the full challenge, go here!
Day 13: Read Psalm 46:-11. As hard as it may be, take time today to simply be still. Have no distractions and just be quiet and listen for what the Lord has to tell you today. Truly relax for 30 minutes and allow Him to encourage you during this time.