February 4, 1994
Ch 23 recorded the last words of David, this chapter records the last acts of David.
Vv. 1-2, though we are not told why, we are told that the Lord was angry at Israel. The degree of the sin involved here is seen in the fact that the book of Chron records David's sin of numbering the people, but it does not record David's sin with Uriah's wife. In other words, this was the worse of David's sins.
The numbering David set about to do here was a military numbering. It was a nose count of how strong the army was, v. 9. This gives us a clue of why David was easily influenced to do this evil because numbering itself was not sin, Num 1:3
1. Why was David easily influenced to do this evil deed? There may be several reasons, but I will only give a couple:
A. David had no orders from God to number the people. Past numberings were instructed by the Lord as Captain of the Hosts. Thus David acted upon his own.
B. The passage implies that David was motivated by pride. Hezekiah's sin in showing his treasures to the ambassadors was motivated by pride.
David was proud of the might of his army; he was proud of the strength he had in his armed might. Numbering the army with no reason to number it indicates that David was proud of the might of the flesh.
The terrible judgment against this sin shows us that the Lord does not see sin as we do. In our eyes, David's murder and adultery is the worse thing he did, but here we see that the Lord held his pride as the worse thing he did.
Therefore, David's pride left him very easily influenced to the suggestion to do this sinful act.
V. 4, notice David's determination to number the people. His pride, his sin hardened him against all reasoning. Obviously, the unconquered areas of our life leaves us open for the fiery darts of the evil one and unable to deal with the darts of evil suggestions.
This passage shows us the importance of praying for those in authority.
2. Why did the Lord allow David to be tempted in this area of his weakness?
We have no reason to speculate here, for we are told that the Lord was angry against Israel.
But the reason for the anger is left open to speculation. We do not know the reason, but the Lord leaves it open ended so all will read, heed the instructions and fear Him.
Surely the Lord had plenty of reasons to be angry at this nation:
they had grown unthankful for the blessings of God under David's
they had willingly taken part in Absalom's rebellion and latter, in Sheba's rebellion.
(Absalom's rebellion was judgment against David's sin with Uriah's wife, but the people are still accountable to God for following of Absalom.)
3. The people probably thought they got away with whatever they did, but we see here that their sin catches up with them through their ruler.
I believe this very well describes today's situation:
the people of God seem to believe that the Lord has forgotten their loves for the god of this world, mammon, but we see God's hand against the Christian's sins in the form of Billary.
An important point that stands out for me in this section is that the people's sins caused the Lord to move David to do something so that the Lord could move against the people. David was not a wicked king; David was not inclined to revolt against the Lord, but he was moved to anyway. Thus we see that the evils of the people cause the Lord to move against even a Godly king.
In other words, electing Godly leaders will not solve the problem of ungodliness in a society. It will not solve the problem of God's hand against a nation. Only a genuine conversion of the general population will produce godly leaders.
We are shown here that even Godly leadership will be influenced by and for wickedness if there is no genuine Godliness among the general population. And the influence will strike right at the heart of the leader's weakness.
4. Satan provoked the sin, but Satan's provoking was clearly God's purpose to bring about judgement against the sinful nation.
Thus we see that the Lord is not the author of evil; rather, the sinner is the author of his own evil. If the people had not made the Lord angary against their sins, there would have been no movement against them through David.
Moreover, we see that the Lord works all things together: David's pride left him open to the suggestion; the people's sins brought about the suggestion.
God allows leaders after the people's hearts. God will allow Satan to provoke, or tempt, the nation's leaders into whatever maneuver will best deal with the people's rebellion or sins that the people are involved in.
Satan is not here on earth doing his own will; he is here doing the Lord's will. God has him in complete control, accomplishing the Lord's purpose in the pagans and in the Christian.
Satan walks up and down the earth seeking whom he may devour. He is seeking those whom the Lord will allow him to move against. He found one in David, and he found one in Job. He even found one in Christ because Satan entered into Judas to bring about Christ's death.
5. the word is moved... Therefore, the Lord did not forced David to do this; He only permitted the idea to be presented to David. It was David's sin of pride that caused him to accept and act upon the idea. Notice that David was held very accountable for his sin, even though the Lord moved, v. 10.
David's sin brought about Absalom's and Sheba's rebellion, but the Lord judged Absalom and Sheba. The Lord also judged the people's willingness to participate in the rebellion. Again, we see that the Lord holds individuals accountable for their evil.
Joab protested the king's order. Evidently, even Joab could see the purpose behind the numbering, v. 3.
1. This is a strange situation: many years before, Joab had not protested the murder of Uriah, but now he protests this numbering.
Remember, after David first came to the throne, Abner had killed Joab's brother, Asahel, at the pool with the rear end of his spear, 2 Sam 2. Then in Chapter 3:27, Joab murdered Abner because he had slain his brother at Gibeon in the battle, v. 30.
Thus some time latter in 2 Sam 11 when David commanded Joab to murder Uriah, Joab raised no objection. But now Joab protests David's order to number the people.
We see then that Joab did not protest the murder, for he was a murderer at heart.
Isn't it something how many times we will so readily overlook the sin in others as long as their sin permits something we want to do.
2. Note Joab's words, v. 3. Joab was not above railing on the king, as he did in rebuking the king over the king's morning at the death of Absalom, but here he meekly entreats to the king not to do this evil thing.
Each of us need friends who will plead with us to avoid evil because they can see things to which we are blinded.
3. At other times, the numbering was not sin, but here it is.
Thus we see that things that may not be sins in themselves, turn into sin because of our inordinate delight in them.
A good example is our work: it is praiseworthy to work hard at our occupation, but when our occupation comes between us and our responsibility to God, it is sin.
The king's word prevailed. Joab took the captains of the host with him, and reluctantly went about the king's command. They started at the most distant place and covered the land. After a great deal of trouble and at the end of 9 months, they returned with the count. We are not told if the count met David's expectation or not.
There is one point that stands out about this section. And that is: the number of men: 1,300,000. This is a very small number when we consider the increase of Israel in Egypt during the same amount of time, 400 years.
Very few went into Egypt, but 600,000 fighting men came out. 600,000 came into Canaan, but there are only 1,300,000 now. Certainly, this number speaks of the prosperity of the land, such a small nation could support that many, but it also says that the people were not near as fruitful under freedom as they were under bondage. They only doubled under freedom, but they multiplied many times under bondage.
We are reminded many times over in the Word of God:
Whereas hard times and bondage causes God's people to prosper and multiply, good times cause them to become very complacent.
After the his purpose was accomplished, though it took 9 months, Davis was struck with the realization of what he had done. After the deed was done and David realized his great sin, he repents and confesses his evil to the Lord. Then early one morning, the Lord sent a message to him with a choice. David then took the lessor of the three evils. V. 16, then the Lord repents, and David is even more penitent.
1. It was after 9 months and the report came back to him that he realized what he had done. He could have realized the seriousness of the sin during the time span, but he did not.
A. How many times do we carry through our plans and it is not until we complete them that we realize what we had done.
B. V. 11, evidently David was stricken in the night over the evil he had done, and he was up early in the morning thinking over his foolish actions. From the sound of v. 10, he is asking the Lord to "overlook" his foolishness. But instead of the Lord overlooking, the Lord is speaking to send a message to David.
C. The Lord spoke to David in the stillness of the night when all was quiet.
I think a reason people are so busy is that they do not want to sit still long enough for the Lord to speak to them. Their conscience is stricken by God, but they are not about to get into a place where they must listen.
D. David's gladness was turned into sorrow, overnight, by his sense of sin. His command up to this time had been to him harmless. Now it was seen as a terrible sin.
E. David wrote many Psalms, but he still needed a messenger from God. A person never gets to exalted to need a messenger from God to speak to him. I have noticed many men today seem to feel they have arrived and that the Lord has a direct pipe line to them.
David, the man after God's own heart, did not.
2. David's heart smote him, and he immediately repented of the evil.
A. David wasted no time once the sin was revealed unto him. Nor should we.
B. I find his words to the Lord interesting, in that I have done foolishly. David realized that the pride of his heart motivated him to number the people. It was not the numbering, but the pride that led to the numbering.
The word foolishly reminds us of the word fool in the book of Proverbs. Foolishly would, therefore, mean acted outside of God's way of wisdom and truth: sin.
Foolishly has nothing to do with what we think of as foolish or the world thinks of foolish or even maybe just bad decisions. It has everything to do with acting outside of God's law. Here is refers to acting with the wrong motive.
4. V. 10, upon confession of his sin, Davis asks the Lord to take away the iniquity of thy servant...
A. It may not be David's intention at all, but his statement here sounds to me like he was asking the Lord to overlook the foolishness he had done and not reward him accordingly.
Knowing human nature, I think this fits best in the situation. Man acts foolishly apart from God's word; they confess and repent with great tears when their foolish actions are brought to their attention; then they want the Lord to withhold the results of their foolishness.
5. V. 12, 13. This is an unusual situation: David is confronted with his sin, and he confesses his sin, but he still must face the results of his sin. What makes this situation unusual is the fact that David is offered a choice as to what the result of his sin will be. David is the only man I know of ever faced with such a choice.
Vv. 14, 15
1) David makes a wise choice based upon v. 13. He realizes it is far better to cast himself upon the mercies of God than upon the mercies of man. Each of us is also faced with choice daily. Might we also be able to claim God's mercy.
2) David's choice is set into motion. Note v. 15 & 2 Sam 15:6, 13; 17:11. The implication is that God used David's pride to judge the men of Israel for their willingness join in the rebellion against God's anointed.
Yes, David is held accountable for his sin with Uriah by the people rebelling. Then the people are held accountable by David's pride. God now judges both David and the people.
V. 16, shows the wisdom of David's choice. How many days did the pestilence last?
I think today we are also seeing the pestilence moving at God's command. The DEER MICE & TICKS! God is moving in Judgment. Notice though why God stopped here in v. 16. David repented so he found mercy at the hand of the Lord.
We have yet to see repentance today, so we had better prepare. God can send His army of mice at His command against the armies of men, and the army of men will be destroyed. My, how important to be on the Lord's side.
Vv. 10-16, upon rereading this section, let me give these points:
1) V. 10, the best thing that can happen to a person that has sinned is that their heart smite them. Conviction over wrong, even well after the fact, is a sign of the principle of grace at work in the heart.
Heb 12 clearly tells us that the lack of chastening is a sine we are not sons.
2) David's sin was pride. Of the seven things listed that God hates in Pro 6:17, pride is the first. The Scripture says that the love of money is the root of all evil. We can say further, that pride is at the root of all sin. When pride is dealt with, the rest of man's ills are subdued.
A) It is important to see that those whom God loves, He chastens most severely for their pride. And God strikes at the root of our pride. Note that David was proud of the number of his people; therefore, God struck at the number. He destroyed people because of David's pride.
We can be assured that the Lord will strike at the root of our pride if He loves us. And it must be struck at if we are going to be effective servants of His.
What are we proud of?? If not dealt with, it will feel the hot breath of God against it just as sure as 70,000 men felt God's hand against them.
B) the people were not guiltless. V. 1 tells us that it was the people's sin that brought about this harsh judgment.
3) V. 13, the preacher says to David, "What shall I say about you to the One who sent me?" Gad was not speaking on his own any more than preachers are to do today:
Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.
Every man of God will give an account to God for the success of his message to the people of God.
4) V. 14, David confesses that his sin placed him in a great strait. I.e., distress, bind up, vex, afflict, besiege, adversary, strait, trouble, bound, pangs. Sin brings even the best and wisest of people into a great strait. People's sins bring distress upon their own selves. Their own folly gets them into their own mess.
We might mention with v. 14 that the choice was basically between being at the mercy of the hands of evil men or at the mercy of the hands of a just God. There really was no choice. V. 14, David chose to be at the mercy of God, though he did not chose the pestilence over the famine. The Lord made the final choice of the pestilence over the famine.
And even in this choice, the mercy of the Lord is seen: famine would have weakened the whole nation, but the pestilence only weakened individuals out of the nation. Pestilence left the nation strong.
5) Paul warns us that it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, He 10:31. David sees here how dreadful it is to fall into His hands, and he casts himself upon the mercy of God.
Good men, even when they are under God's frowns against their sins, will not entertain any thoughts but good about God.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Do we have this kind of confidence in the hand of God?
6) The length of the pestilence is open for debate. V. 15, the time appointed could mean the end of the three days, or it could mean until the time of appointed for the evening sacrifice. V. 16 implies that the full three days had not been fulfilled. If v. 16 is right, the pestilence only lasted about 9 hours. 70,000 men from one end of Israel to the other died in that short space of time.
Joab was 9 months going throughout the land with a pen to number the people, but the angle of the Lord went throughout the land with a sword in a very short time and undid the count.
A) see how sudden the Lord can move against the very best and greatest of man's plans.
B) see how easily the Lord can bring down the proudest of sinners.
C) see how much we owe daily to the mercies of the Lord.
David could well have been thinking of this when he penned
119:120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
I do not think we see the dreadfulness of sin.
7) V. 16, notice where the Lord had mercy, Mount Moriah. This is the location where Abraham was stayed from slaying his son. Now the angle is stayed from destroying Jerusalem.
It is the sacrifice of the Son that stayes God's hand from destroying us.
8) V. 17, David cries out to God that he is the sinner. This shows us that turely David was a man after God's own heart. His credit is not that he is sinless, but that he willingly confessed and accepted the punishment for his sin.
but these sheep... David well remembered the willingness of the people to go after the rebel, Absolom, yet he still prays this prayer.
Most people, when they see God's judgment abroad upon the land, say, "Lord, they deserve it. Go for it, Lord." We are very inclined to blame others for God's hand of judgment against our society. But rather than saying that it was the sodomites' fault, David says the root of the problem lies within himself.
He was truely a man after God's own heart.
1) Gad came to David. Again, we are reminded that a Godly man will receive instruction.
2) The Lord told David to offer the sacrifice. God tells us to offer sacrifices to Himself as evidence the plague of sin is stayed.
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
3) It is because of the Great Sacrifice, Christ Jesus, that the plague is stayed.
4) The owner of the land was a Jebusite. Obviously, this man had converted to the God of Israel because he now legitimately owned property in Israel. Furthermore, the land was a threshing floor, an important piece of property.
5) David went in person to the owner. Though David was king and the Lord commanded the alter to be built there, he still sought to bargain for the land.
A) To take the land without money would have been robbery. God will not accept the wages of unrighteousness.
B) Though David was the King of the most powerful nation of his day, he neither sent for Araunah nor sent some one to him. David shows his humility by going in person to the one he wanted to see, and he did not consider it a dishonor.
6) V. 20, Araunah bowed himself... Great men will never be less respected for their humility, but more.
7) V. 23, as a king... Some say that Araunah was the former king of Jerusalem: he was a Jebusite. The point is here that though a subject of King David, he gave as a king. He had the spirit of a genuine king.
We cannot speak too highly of this Jebusite. Just because someone may have to be subject, is no reason they can not keep a princely attitude and actions about them.
I believe we also see that the worldly position of a person is not what makes them a king. Anyone can be a king.
7) David resolved to pay the full value of the land and did so. Araunah was very willing to give it; but David was more determined to purchase it.
The point that stands out here is that there is no cheap Christianity. Those who sought and found a religion for their benefit or that cost them nothing, did not find Christianity.