Today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 23:24-24:25; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 123:1-4; Proverbs 16:21-23
David really screws up in 2 Samuel 24 when he commands a census of Israel be taken. According to Exodus 30:12 the people belong to God. Therefore only He can order a census. But here David orders one because he was tempted by Satan to do so (1 Chronicles 21:1).
Satan played right into David’s ego. Satan knows exactly what each of our vulnerabilities are and he will attack us in those areas. We need to be ready for such attacks so we can defend ourselves against sin.
Its interesting that Joab and the army commanders tried to talk David out of this (2 Samuel 24:4). I think God will often send godly men and women to talk us out of doing something sinful. But sadly our egos often get their way. It isn’t until later that we realize our mistake. A famous saying goes “Life is a tough teacher; she gives the test first, then the lesson”.
Sometimes our sinful behavior is over pretty quickly, like in the case of a lie or sexual encounter. But notice that it took almost 10 months to conduct the census. David could have come to his senses at anytime during this period, but chose not to. It just shows us how much control his vanity had over him at this point in his life.
Thankfully David did realize his sin, but not until after the census had been taken (2 Samuel 24:10). David does the right thing and repents and asks God to forgive him, which God is always more than willing to do.
God allows David to chose his punishment and David chooses the one option that places him and Israel at God’s mercy, not at the mercy of human beings (2 Samuel 14). God may discipline, but men take revenge. Being disciplined by the hand of God is nothing compared to the way other people treat us.
Notice too that the sins of the king affected the entire nation. This is an important lesson to learn. I think one of the main reasons why the United States has slidden so far is that our recent leaders (at all levels of government) have not walked with God. They have lead by their own pride. And that has caused all of us to suffer.
Finally we see David not take the cheap and easy way out when he builds an altar to the Lord. Although Araunah offered his property and livestock for free, David refused to accept them knowing that a sacrifice must cost something (2 Samuel 24:24). Otherwise it is not a sacrifice.
David often sinned. But after it was over he always acknowledged his sin and came back to the Lord in wisdom. That is all God can ask of us.
Its interesting that the lame man in Acts 3 expected money from Peter and John but instead got something even better! God is always willing to give. And He wants to give abundantly. He wants to far exceed our expectations. But notice that we have to ask – just like the man did (Acts 3:3).
I found it cool that the man not only walks, but leaps, after being healed (Acts 3:8). How great it is to praise God when He does something wonderful in our lives.
Peter’s great speech in the rest of this chapter gives us the perfect outline for sharing Christ with the world. Peter informs everyone that life is to bring glory to Jesus (Acts 13:13). He then tells everyone the story of Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 3:13-15) and that the lame man was healed by faith (Acts 13:16). The man was not healed because he deserved it or earned it. He was healed by God’s grace and mercy and nothing more.
Most importantly, Peter invites all who are listening to repent of their sins and turn to God so they can have their sins washed away (Acts 3:19). So often we have “spiritual” conversations about God with people but don’t give them the information they need to get to heaven.
Peter does just that when he sums it all up in Acts 3:23. Those who don’t listen to Jesus will be separated from God forever in hell. That is not a place anyone wants to be.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the mocking and hateful comments I receive because I write this blog. People who take the time to hate are simply arrogant and proud (Psalms 123:4). Don’t let the haters distract you from your relationship with God. Keep your eyes on Him!
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