David is a man that failed many times, but also was good at finding out what God wanted for him to do, and God was pleased with his attitude.
Acts 13:22 (NIV)
“After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’”
2 Samuel 2:1 (NIV)
“In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.
The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered.”
2 Samuel 24:1 (NIV)
“Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”
2 Samuel 24:13-15 (NIV)
“So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.” David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.” So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.”
2 Samuel 24:25 (NIV)
“David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.”
Why did God want to punish the Israelites?
What was wrong with David counting the fighting men?
Why did David choose a plague over the other choices he was given?
2 Samuel 24:16-17 (NIV)
‘When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me and my family.”
I don’t know why plagues happen in current events, but when I read stories about David like this, it is a reminder to me to get right with God and listen to whatever God wants to say to me, and to pray for any leaders that have been given a message like David received. I hope that what we are experiencing ends quickly and that God knows that we want to be right with Him.
From what I read, I understand that God didn’t like when David took a census to measure his military strength in numbers, because that number is something David could put his faith in instead of God.
I understand that God is merciful, and will listen to His people who are suffering even if their suffering is a result of punishment for their sins or the sins of their leaders.
Do you hear about people suffering for the sins of their leaders today? What can we do when we notice the suffering of people around us, or even in other nations, states, or cities?
Numbers 21:5-9 (NIV)
“they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”
In this story, the Lord sent venomous snakes as punishment for complaining and accusing God of wanting them to starve in the desert, but after Moss prayed for them, the cure required each person bitten by a snake to trust God to heal them when they obeyed His command to look at the bronze snake on a pole in faith.
There is a symbol still used today for the medical profession that resembles a snake on a pole. I am reminded that we should do what God tells us to do and have faith in His ability to heal us, then we can pray with faith that it is His plan to heal us and not to have us go to be with Him right away. Even with the best doctors and medical procedures, God still has to heal us to make us well again, so pray for each other and for the many more we learn about, we would want others to do the same for us if we got sick. If I get sick, I will look to available medicine and prayer both for my healing, not just trusting in one and excluding the other.
“Dear God, please have mercy on us, your world that is suffering and many are dying, in some areas more than in others. May you receive glory when this pandemic is all done and please help those who pursue selfish ambitions and blame to be quieted and those who are generous and selfless to be recognized for their character and with your blessing. Help us to model the right attitude David showed when you described him in Acts 13:22 as a man after your own heart. Help us also to pray for healing as Moses did, and look to the symbols of healing that God puts in place as long as he continues blessing them. In Jesus Name, Amen.”