Thursday, June 26, 2008

David Numbers the People II Samuel 24

II Samuel 24:4 "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."

First off David was not suppose to number the people. He was suppose to depend on the LORD who had been faithful to him and not in the strength of numbers of men. So he got in trouble for doing this and 70,000 died of Israel because of David's sin.

v13 "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 the land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me."

Gad was a prophet and it was the LORD who sent him. Just as Samuel had come to Saul after he saved some of the enemy spoils when he was suppose to destroy all of it.

So the angel came through Israel and killed 70,000 but stopped when the LORD told him to and said it was enough. His sword was stretched out over Jerusalem when he stopped at Arunah's threshing floor.

v16 "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."

Repented here means a change of mind. Another account of these events can be found in I Chronicles 21. David was instructed to build an altar there and so he bought the property and did as he was instructed. Here is David's plea to the LORD.

v17 "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."

Once the offerings were made the event was over and the plague was stayed from Israel.

Now, I know Bible scholars have noticed the difference in verse one of chapter 24 of II Samuel and the first verse of I Chronicles 21. So I will type them both here:

II Samuel 24:1 "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah."

I Chronicles 21:1 "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."

I do not pretend to understand totally, the mystery of God's permissive will. The book of Job gives some insight where Satan was permitted to take Job's family and stuff away because of the conversation Satan had with God. In that case, it was a test of Job and perhaps to show Satan that righteousness transcended what one possesses.

Job 1:8 "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"

We know that the story finally had a happy ending but the suffering of Job was very real.

I've also thought of Jesus and how he was tempted. After 40 days he was offered bread. Then the earthly kingdom, then he dared him to jump off a building to prove he was indeed God. Jesus had nothing to prove. Satan knew who he was talking to.

Sometimes it is hard not to wonder why Satan is given so much slack in his leash. We know God could confine him to hell now just as easily as later and the suffering would be over. I think it goes to our acceptance that God is God and we cannot understand all his ways and all his purpose for what he does and allows to happen. We do know the last of the story and must simply trust him in the mean time.

Jeremiah 17:5: "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD."

In the apparent difference in the two verses above, I believe it is a simple matter of the LORD allowing Satan to tempt David for reasons of His own. We can speculate but would still not know. Did David need to learn something? Was it a judgment on the 70,000? Was it as I said to remind David and Israel that the LORD still was their deliverer (and destroyer) and not man. The old song said "We will understand it better bye and bye."

Psalm 89:6-7 "For who in the heavens can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him."

Keywords: Old Old Story, Old Testament, Bible Study, David, Samuel, Joab, Jerusalem, Israel, Milton Southerland. David numbers the people.

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