1 Chronicles 21

1 Chronicles 21 retells the story of 2 Samuel.  David sins against God by numbering the people.  “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly”.  He has really blown it, and is given three choices to take as a penalty for his sin.  Three years, three months or three days of bad stuff is what God offers as choices.  And David has to pick one – not an easy choice – and he says “I am in great distress”.  He is going to cause a whole lot of pain and suffering because of his sin.

David decides on the three days of pestilence and God turned his angel loose.  “So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell”.  Can you imagine being David and watching that kind of destruction knowing it happened as a result of your sin?  The burden of that has to be overwhelming.  David had pleaded with God to let him fall into God’s hand.  “God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he relented from the calamity”.  That had to be a great relief to David, but he now approaches God to put a stop to it.

Let’s face it, David doesn’t really have much for bargaining chips.  He brought this on.  He is the one who decided what the cost would be.  And now he is standing before God trying to intercede.  He approaches God with all his passion and pleads “Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people”.  If you want a picture of intercession – here it is.  David jumps between God and the people and asks God to bring the punishment on himself and his own family.

God tells him to “raise an altar” to worship Him.  So “David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering”.  David obeys and follows God’s direction.  He is putting God back where He belongs, as the One in control, and David’s intercession and obedience to God’s direction work.  God tells the angel to “put his sword back into its sheath” which ends this very painful few days for David.  Sin has a cost – and often it is a big one – that spills well beyond the person who commits it.  In this case it cost 70,000 their lives.  What a painful lesson in the cost of disobedience and sin!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Arlin, thank you for sharing the amazing picture of God’s grace in this scripture lesson, It is one we should all pay attention to and apply – both in our relationship with Jesus and also with our friends, family, employees and co-workers. Owning to your own mistakes (sin), taking the onus (consequences) for it, and protecting those around us that might be suffering from the splatter affect of our actions. God is also gracious in providing His mercy to David and his people when God was just to punish, and we should model our own reactions to others mis-steps by using His dispensation for us as well.

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  2. […] 1 Chronicles 21 (asorensen.wordpress.com) […]

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