1 Chronicles 21
-In this chapter we see some great intensity and anger from the LORD over the issue of pride in the heart of King David. David commands a census to be taken of all the warriors in his kingdom to his commander Joab. The first verse of the chapter says that “Satan stood up against Israel and moved David” in this matter (1 Chronicles 21:1). This was not demonic possession, but it was a great temptation that got a hold of the king and persuaded him to do wrong in the sight of God. There was nothing in the Law that prohibited numbering the people, and it had been done before (Numbers 1 & 2 along with other instances, the Jewish people kept very accurate records of their population). But, this matter was all about pride in the strength of his human army rather than reliance of the Almighty Father in Heaven. David, as Joab realized, was trusting and leaning on his own military power more than relying on God’s provision and authority. This was the great sin in the matter. *Application* There is a fine line between feeling confident in God’s power in reliance and becoming proud because you have been used of God for great things. Often, our motivation not the action itself, is what contains the difference between right and wrong, purity or sin. Therefore, we must constantly check our motives before we act on a situation or issue. Take good heed to this biblical advice in your life.
-David soon realizes his mistake and did an abrupt confession as the LORD struck Israel in His displeasure (1 Chronicles 21:7-8). He knew he had acted foolishly and repented of his sin, but the consequences would still be severe. Gad, David’s seer (communication link between him and God), comes to him at the word of the LORD with three choices for the purpose of discipline. The first was three years of famine, the second was three months of being swept away by the foes of Israel, the third was three days of the sword of the LORD, even pestilence in the land, and the angel destroying throughout the territory of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:9-12). David, with great distress, trusted God’s mercies over man’s in the matter and chose the three days of torment by the angel of the LORD. 70,000 men of Israel fell as a result of David’s pride and disobedience. God did eventually take pity as He observed what was about to happen on Jerusalem at Ornan the Jebusite’s threshing floor. At this point David lifts his eyes up and actually sees the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 21:16). At this point David takes honest and sincere responsibility for his innocent people as a great leader and cries out to the LORD on their behalf (1 Chronicles 21:17). An altar is made with the purchase of Ornan’s threshing floor and penitence is made at the command of the LORD through the message of Gad. At the time the tabernacle and altar for burnt offering that Moses had made was a two hour journey to the north and west in Gibeon, a Benjaminite city. David could not go before it for he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the LORD (1 Chronicles 21:29-30). *Application* The Bible rightly says that “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31).” While God gives grace, His wrath and discipline can be overcoming as we see in this passage. Fear God and it will lead you in the right direction. Do your own thing and pay the price. David got the message quick, and hopefully we can too.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Chronicles 21:8