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Intro: So here we come to the final chapter of the book of 2 Samuel, and it’s been perhaps my favorite book to teach through…now our next book will be the sweet letter of Philippians, and we will ether begin that next week or the week after...
(Prop) What we’re gonna see is the great failure of David, and the same time, a moment of great leadership...
“One of the greatest measurements of a person’s faith is not the perfection of their walk, but the willingness to walk after a great fall.”
And this is what we’re gonna see with David today...
David’s fall
David’s recovery
David’s Fall
Some say that this passage, is chronologically connected to chapter 21, because in that it spoke about the Lord bringing a famine on the Land for the sins of the people, and now, he we see the Lord is angry again with Gods’ people
And notice a few things...
and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
So at first glance we get the sense that God was angry with his people so he caused, David to do something that were gonna see was very sinful which number the people.
Well it seems like 1 chronicles 21:1 which speaks of this same account gives some clarity on what was actually happening...
So this seems like a situation similar to Job, where Satan was the tempter…but the Lord allowed David to be tested…only difference is Job endured…David gave in to it
Now lets talk about what David is doing
Now, some of you probably ask the question, whats so bad about David numbering the people?
This was dangerous because of a principle stated in Exodus 30:12:
Here’s what God is saying here....Israel belongs to me.
It was up to the LORD to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God’s command and giving an offering to the Lord
“Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.”
So David is wanting Joab to go from north to south and number the “solders” thats what this word “people” actually means in the original language…it’s the same word as in v.9 but their it’s translated “valiant men”
Here’s the picture:
David motivated by pride he wants to say “Look what I’ve done”
Has forgotten who’s army this is, and he wants bask in what he thinks he created...
look what happens next...
So here’s Joab, and we get the sense that he saw David drifting....thats what the text is hinting at when he says “why are you delighting in this thing” v.3
He saw David’s wanting to flex his pride and and starting to be ruled by ungodly passions…and I think he was able to identify that because he struggled with that.
App: Side note, if you have someone who’s notorious for pride come to you and tell you you’re being proud…listen
But here’s Joab saying “David I hope you are alive to see God increase the army a hundred times, but please, don’t count them
Now I want you to notice that this issue with David is not just something that Joab saw, but it was something that all of his leaders saw…but David wouldn’t listen, and they submitting to his leadership went out and did what he said to do even though it was the wrong thing…and essentally their were accomplices in the king’s sin
This scene shows us that it’s not enough to know the right thing, you have to do the right thing
These men knew that David was wrong, but out of fear, love, respect for position, they went were accomplices…
Think contrast that with Saul’s guard in 1 Sam 22 when he wanted them to kill the priests of Nob, though it was their job, though he was their king, what he asked them to do was wrong…and they refused
App: biblical knowledge is not enough, we need biblical courage and conviction and devotion…even to the point it costing us...
Know God’s word…Be emboldened by God’s spirit
So look what happens...
So all in all this errand of David’s ended up taking close to 10 months…what we’re seeing here is the exhausted servants of a prideful king...
v.8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
Think about this…it took almost a year
Almost a year to repent
Almost before God’s judgement
2 things
God’s judgement for sin is often to simply let you have your own way
God’s judgment is often like a bow and arrow…it takes a while to be pulled back…and when God releases his judgement it’s so swift and damaging
So Joab numbers the people, and arounds it up to 1,300,000…but if you read 1 chronicles 21’s account of the same event you get a much different number…a few hundred thousand more
So how do we explain this…well we get a possible explanation when 1 Chronicles 27 talks about Joab...
So it’s possible that Joab didn’t get done with the count because God’s judgment had began and they had to stop...
App: So that might satisfy you…but what if it doesn’t?
Remember though their are things that are mysterious in the bible…there are many more things that have been clearly proven
There are literally hundreds of very specific prophecies in the Bible that were fulfilled hundreds of years after they were spoken...No other religious book can verify itself in this way.
The Bible has also been proven to be historically reliable by numerous archaeological discoveries.
To date, more than 25,000 archaeological discoveries have verified the names of persons, places, events, and customs mentioned in the Bible.
Finally, the Bible’s unity is amazing.
Here is a book that is actually a collection of 66 different books written down by more than 40 different authors over a period of more than 1500 years on three different continents and in three different languages.
It addresses life’s most controversial topics from beginning to end.
You might expect to find chaos, confusion, and contradictions, yet the Bible miraculously remains absolutely consistent and internally harmonious from beginning to end.
Could it be possible that if the God of the bibile is true, and he’s sovereign, and he made us and knows us....could it be possible that he left some mysteries in the bible to test us…I think so...
So here we have it, Prideful king, an exhausted leadership, and a great mistake…this would be the end of most stories…but thank God that this isn't’ the end of the chapter
David repents
Thank God for people who when there wrong their willing to admit it...
Notice the progression...
10 But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people
It’s better late then never…but here he begins to feel the conviction of God…David was struck by what’s happened
And David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.
But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.
David understood that his sin was first against God
He didn’t try and down play his sin as a minor thing…but it was great
Question was his sin so great? it was just pride?
I believe it wasn’t just his sin..but it was about his position…He was the king…and one of the things that we see in scripture is that as the king goes the nation goes...
App: Leadership is a blessing, but it comes with a great responsibility…and we should see it as a call to greater holiness
But here’s the thing…a repentant heart is great but just because someone has a change of heart doesn’t mean the consequences go away…look
Though David was himself a prophet, the Lord chose not to reveal his word directly to David.
Instead, “the word of the Lord” came “to Gad the prophet, David’s seer.”
We don’t know a lot about Gad other then the that he was a trusted friend of David’s who had been around even when David wasn’t king (1 sam 22)…he was a friend in the low times…and he’s about to give David a hard word...
So he heard from the Lord...
Was faithful in the low times...
And told David when he was wrong
App: May we be this kind of friend
We can be all of those things...
Look at what he says…it’s a hard message…this is what God told Gad to say to David
So these are the punishment God offers to David and to Israel, and it’s important that we look at them because we’ll begin to see why David chose what he chose...
There’s 3 of them
3 years of famine…3 months of losing wars…3 days of plague in the land
3 years of famine would kill the poor
3 months of defeat would kill off his army and leave them open to be invaded and captured by enemies
3 days of plague…would leave them at the hand of God…
David’s choice shows his wisdom...
This meant that David chose the three days of plague.
In the other two options the king and his family could be insulated against the danger, but David knew that he had to expose himself to the chastisement of God.
“Had he chosen war, his own personal safety was in no danger, because there was already an ordinance preventing him from going to battle.
Had he chosen famine, his own wealth would have secured his and his own family’s support.
But he showed the greatness of his mind in choosing the pestilence, to the ravages of which himself and his household were exposed equally with the meanest of his subjects.”
David preferred God to be his judge over his neighbors or his enemies…but he knew one thing about God…that he was mercy was great
App: When it’s important to always remember that the mercy of God is great...
Notice a few things...
Seventy thousand men of the people died v.15
This was a great calamity upon Israel – a devastating plague striking so many in such a short period of time.
App: Never underestimate the consequences your sin can have
You will pay more in the long run
The LORD relented from the destruction v.16
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