Wednesday, 30 April 2014

(121) May 1: 2 Samuel 23-24 & Luke 22:31-53

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read consider how David virtues and failings.

To ponder:
David’s Spirit-given “oracle” shows him as a prophet as well as a priest and king, patterning Christ’s roles. The promise of Christ is also hinted at as David declares that the righteous ruler is like light that dispels all cold and darkness and brings life (Lk 1v78-79), and as he expresses confidence in the security of God’s covenant with his house (ch. 7). Indeed, in speaking of his own “salvation” and being granted “every desire” the elderly David may be looking beyond this life to how he would benefit from Christ’s rule. By contrast “evil men” like thorns will be touched with iron, “cast aside” and “burned up,” the imagery Jesus used for hell (Rev 2v27, Matt 7v19).
            The list of “mighty men” certainly raises ambition to courageously serve Jesus and gain acknowledgement on the last day (Matt 25v23). But the point is probably to show how ably God provided exceptional soldiers for David, ensuring him victory. This helps explain David’s sin in taking the census. It displayed a lack of faith in God to deliver him even with a few, like Gideon (Jud 7, also Deut 17v16). So Joab queries David’s reasoning, saying “May the LORD your God multiply your troops a hundred times over.” Here David contrasts Jesus’ confidence that God would build his church through his twelve fallible disciples. Perhaps we can display David’s same lack of faith in worrying about whether we have the resources within the church or in ourselves to face future trials. God can provide what is necessary for the day.
            Despite David’s guilt, we read God “incited” him to command the census because he was “angry” with Israel, no doubt because of her unfaithfulness to the law. He therefore used David’s sin as a means of bringing his judgement against the nation. This would teach later generations that when they suffered because of their king’s failings, this wasn’t necessarily unjust, but might reflect God’s anger at their sin too. It also reveals, again, that God governs all events, including evil acts, for the working out of his purposes. Indeed, 1 Chronicles 21v1 tells us it was Satan who incited David, showing he was God’s means, just as he was in inciting Judas to betray Christ. Nevertheless, David is truly guilty, because his heart was such that it could be incited. God’s sovereignty doesn’t remove our responsibility.
            It took over nine months to count the men, but only when the number was reported was David “conscience-stricken,” confessing his sin and begging God to remove his guilt. Through a prophet God gave three options (24v12-13), of which David chose that which meant he was at God’s mercy not man’s. This was wise, because although 70,000 died from the subsequent plague, God was “grieved” and halted the angel causing it at Jerusalem. David’s comment that he should be punished not the people is commendable, displaying true repentance and the shepherd-like concern that should mark God’s kings. But it may also highlight the fact that God had actually taken David’s guilt away (24v10), whilst reminding us that the people were not actually innocent (24v1).
            David’s guilt could only be taken away and the plague stopped, however, if atonement was made. So “on that day” God instructed David to build an altar on “the threshing floor of Araunah.” David saw the significance of this (24v21), insisting on paying for the offerings himself because they were for his sin. The burnt offerings reflected renewed devotion to the LORD and the fellowship offerings the peace with God they achieved. And so for a second time (21v14) we read “God answered prayer on behalf of the land,” and so the plague was stopped. This shows the famine and plague bracket chapters 21-24, highlighting how David’s sin brought judgement on Israel just as Saul’s did. David’s songs therefore cause us to long for a truly righteous king (chs. 22v1-23v7).

Praying it home:
Thank God that he governs even evil for good. Pray that we would trust him to provide all we need to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.

Thinking further:
None today.

If you receive this post by email, visit and make a comment.


Post a Comment