Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Twenty-Four]: Purchasing Temple Ground in Your Life. In this chapter we see the acquisition by David of the ground on which the temple will ultimately be built. What should have been a joyous occasion actually arises from a great trial brought on by disobedience and wrong choices on David’s part. Our lives as David’s are filled with error, mishap and many times disobedience but out of the ashes of our own failures God raises us up to be the temple where He chooses to place His habitation by the Spirit.
[2Sa 24:1-25 KJV] 1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which [was] with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. 3 And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see [it]: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing? 4 Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel. 5 And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that [lieth] in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer: 6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon, 7 And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, [even] to Beersheba. 8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah [were] five hundred thousand men. 10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
Now again we come to the third closing chapter of 2 Samuel. In 2 Sam. 22 David’s version of what will become Psalm 18 is included as though this is the final passage of the book. Then David’s commendations of his chief mighty men are recorded in another passage along with a prophetic word concerning the character of leadership and the fear of the Lord. Now an ignominious conclusion finally comes when David errs in numbering the people.
Now did God actually move David to number the people? 1 Chron. 21:1 cites this incident and says that “Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number the people…” So this is a vague translation in which we should understand that the pronoun “he” that is spoken of as having moved David to this action was not God but Satan. The word “moved” here means to “prick” or “stimulate” someone to do something. In essence this is the work of the enemy when he provokes you to “press the panic button” as it were in the midst of a given situation in your life. The root word for “moved” is “a thorn”. Jesus said this about thorns:
[Luk 8:14 KJV] 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Notice that Jesus ranks the cares of life right along with the deceitfulness of riches. In another place Jesus says:
[Luk 21:34 KJV] 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.
Worry and the cares of life are seen as one and the same addiction from Jesus’ perspective. What do we know of drunkenness? It removes inhibition and causes one to make wrong decisions. Likewise in the case of David and in our own lives worry and fear cause us to make wrong decisions that damage our lives and the lives of others.
In verse three Joab speaks up to talk David out of doing this thing. Again Joab is the contrarian in every instance where he counsels David. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Joab murdered Saul’s general Abner when he fears Abner will take his place at David’s side. He colluded with David to murder Bathseba’s husband. He convinces David to allow rebellious Absalom into Jerusalem. He kills Absalom against David’s direct orders and then threatens civil war if David doesn’t back his decision to do so. He then proceeds to murder Amasa, David’s kinsmen who had replaced him at the head of the army. David failed to deal with Joab and Joab remains a grief and a contaminating influence upon David his entire reign. He would have done well to remove Joab from power but never showed the strength to do so. Do you have a Joab in your life? This would be that toxic relationship that always keeps you off balance in your life never knowing where you stand, questioning every decision and disrupting every circumstance. Be bold enough to follow David’s cautionary example and remove them from your life before more harm comes to yourself and those you love.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three [things]; choose thee one of them, that I may [do it] unto thee. 13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. 14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies [are] great: and let me not fall into the hand of man. 15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. 16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
This is a difficult passage for those that trust in God as the author of salvation and every good thing. There are those with religious mentalities who become positively gleeful when it is suggested that God does such things. They completely reject miracles, healing, and blessing on anyone (other than themselves) and absolutely rejoice at every negative thing that happens to those they criticize – believing it is God doing it.
David’s heart smote him. The man after God’s own heart was not without sin. David was impetuous, prone to error yet he repented quickly when he would come to himself. Even through many errors of this nature David’s destiny remained in intact. We tend in modern religious thinking to expect sinless perfection if we hope to walk in the plan of God for our lives. We need to realize that God makes His promises in the context of our humanity and our penchant for failure and outright sin. We must also realize that David did not have the shed blood of Jesus as his capitulation. If we take this passage and look at our lives through it’s lessons we may come to the conclusion that God will smite us every time we make a mistake. However Jesus in his teaching reoriented this viewpoint in the gospel of Luke:
[Luk 13:1-3, 5 KJV] 1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. … 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
It is plain to see here that Jesus is correcting the thinking of those who readily presume that these calamitous events happen in our lives because we have offeded God. He further suggests by inference that when you walk with God that you are protected from causality and will not “likewise perish” as those who suffer such mishaps. This is a very important and universally neglected teaching in the words of Jesus.
David is given several choices. Scholars interpret David’s response is to request of God for the nation to be smitten with plague for three days. Actually that was not the case. He doesn’t say “give us plague”. He says “I would rather fall into the hand of God than the hand of man…” In essence he says “none of the above – give me God’s mercy instead…” David understands something about what is to be made available in Christ. Nonetheless the calamity comes and assaults the city.
17 And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house. 18 And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. 20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. 21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. 22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what [seemeth] good unto him: behold, [here be] oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and [other] instruments of the oxen for wood. 23 All these [things] did Araunah, [as] a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. 24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy [it] of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
Here we see David willing rather to suffer for the people that they not pay the price of his sins. This gives us insight into the grace of God on the Old Testament saints. David’s compassion does not arise from his own sense of compassion but from the hand of God on his life. Paul made this statement about human nature:
[Rom 3:10-19 KJV] 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore we understand that though David is not in our understanding born again yet he is the recipient of the hand of God’s grace to move his heart to reflect the Messianic character of Christ giving his life for many.
The plague is stayed at the threshingfloor of Araunah. David intends to build an altar there as Abraham of old was wont to do. Araunah attempted to give the parcel to David but he will have none of it. Here David expresses one of the finest sentiments expressed in the scriptures: “… I [will not] offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing”. Many times we give God the leftovers of our lives as though that would be acceptable to Him. We often fail to recognize in our devotional life God as redeemer but also our Dread Sovereign worthy of our highest and best sacrifices in His name. Today we see figures in popular culture thanking God and acknowledging God for their successes in pursuits and endeavors that are anything but godly. These do not see God as a Lord but rather as a spiritual condiment or enhancement for lives lived in conflict with all His word represents.
The threshingfloor that David purchases will one day be the ground where the temple of Solomon is built. We see therefore that out of calamity and mishap one of the greatest gifts in human history was accommodated. Bear in mind that this is something that God speaks to you and I for we according to the New Testament are the temple. We see then something of our personal history in this chapter. We as David were offenders yielding to the temptation of the enemy in order to bring out our own destruction. Yet in response to the heart of sacrificial surrender we as David purchase to ourselves the ground where our worship is lived out as a testimony to God’s gracious deliverance.
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