Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5: 2 Samuel 23:24 – 24; Psalm 123; Proverbs 16:21-23; Acts 3



Overview

            2 Samuel: David’s thirty might men are listed.
            The Lord was angry with Israel so he incited David to take a census of Israel and Judah. He instructed Joab to do it but he protested. David persisted and Joab took his commanders and went to the various places in Israel and Judah. He reported to David that there were 800,000 fighting men in Israel and 500,000 in Judah.
            David was then convicted of his sin and asked the Lord to take his sin away. The prophet, Gad, told him the Lord was giving him three options for punishment: three years of famine, three months fleeing from his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land. David chose the three days of pestilence because the Lord is merciful.
            The Lord sent pestilence and 70,000 men died in Israel and Judah. The angel of the Lord was about to destroy Jerusalem when the Lord stopped the angel. David saw the angel and again confessed his sin and asked that the punishment fall on him and his house rather than the people.
            Gad came to David and told him to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah where the angel stopped. Araunah was threshing when David came. He offered his equipment and oxen to David for the burnt offering. David paid for the threshing floor, oxen, and equipment saying that he would not offer anything to the Lord that didn’t cost him. When David made the offering and prayer for the land, the plague stopped.
            Psalm: The Psalmist looks to the Lord for all things just as a servant depends on their master to or mistress to provide for them. He asks for mercy because they have had enough contempt and scorn from those who have it all and are proud.
            Proverbs: Being wise of heart means being discerning and being careful in what you say and how you say it. It is the means of being persuasive and shows good sense that brings good life to a person. It is not like the way fools try to instruct others.
            Acts: Peter and John were going to the temple to pray when they passed a man lame from birth. Peter told him that he didn’t have money for him but healed him in the name of Jesus. He was leaping, walking, and praising God when he entered the temple with Peter and John.
            People ran to see what had happened so Peter addressed the crowd. He explained that God had glorified Jesus whom they rejected and asked for a murder instead. They crucified Jesus, the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. It was faith in this Jesus that the man was healed.
            He told them that though they acted in ignorance, God foretold that the Messiah would suffer and this was fulfilled. Therefore, they need to repent and have their sins blotted out to have times of refreshing. Then the Lord will send the Messiah to them. But he must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things. The Messiah was predicted by the prophets and the people are all offspring of the prophets and the covenant God made with them. In them all the families of the earth will be blessed. Jesus was sent to them first to bless them by turning them from their wickedness.

What Stood Out

            2 Samuel: “I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24).
            Psalm: “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens” (Ps 123:1)!
            Proverbs: “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips” (Prov 16:23).
            Acts: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him” (Acts 3:13).

Insight

            2 Samuel: If God does not tempt anyone to do evil (James 1:13), then how is it that in today’s reading, God incited David to take a census? How is it that God would punish David and all Israel for doing what he wanted David to do? Why would he do this out of his anger for Israel?
            I can’t answer all these questions to the complete satisfaction of everyone. However, I note that God was first angry with Israel. There is no indication that he was angry with David at this point. As in the time of the judges and later in the times of the kings, God uses people to bring about his judgment. He often does this by letting sinful men do the sinful things they want to do. Men sin because they are sinners not because God wants them to sin. In this case, 1 Chronicles 21:1 explains that Satan tempted David. David had pride of heart and even Joab recognized that the census was to satisfy his pride rather than a God-sanctioned census.
            We tend to think that Israel was walking with the Lord during David’s reign. However, that is only partially true. If they had, they would not have followed Absalom. While it was much better than under the judges, Israel still had stubborn and rebellious people in it, just as we have them in our “Christian” nations. We aren’t told specifically what angered the Lord. However, he let Satan tempt David and when David yielded, he was a representation of the whole nation and the whole nation suffered, not just because of David’s sin but everyone’s sins. That is another thing we have to remember, we all deserve to be punished. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we aren’t.
            Finally, David offered a sacrifice to stop the plague. The location was on Araunah’s threshing floor. This is the location where rabbis believe Cane and Abel offered their sacrifices, it is where Abraham was to offer Isaac, and where Solomon’s temple was to be built.[1] David would not sacrifice anything that cost him nothing. In the same way, Jesus’ sacrificed himself to stop the plague of sin on mankind. There will be a day when he will return and reign from this very location.
            Psalm: When people assail us, and speak all kinds of evil against us, we need to remember that the Lord provides for everything we need. Our earthly masters, bosses, or sources of income are not where we find our sufficiency or rest. It is only in the Lord we will find peace for our souls.
            Proverbs: It is necessary to watch the way we speak if we want to be able to persuade others to follow the Lord. Every word we utter when speaking to those who need the gospel is important. We should try to discern what a person needs to overcome their foolishness of unbelief. The Holy Spirit can reveal that to us if we are sensitive to him. Our speech can be a fountain of life.
            Acts: Peter doesn’t pull any punches when he explains who Jesus is. He makes sure the people know that their God, the God of the patriarchs gloried Jesus. He makes sure they know that even Pilate recognized his innocence when they rejected him and asked for a murder instead. (Just how wrong is that?) But he also offers them hope. He offers the greatest hope of all, that their sin can be blotted out yielding times of refreshing.
            Whether people know it or not, sins keeps them from peace. When we turn to Jesus, we have peace that the world doesn’t understand. It is because God has blotted out our sins. But before we came to him, we had to acknowledge that we had sinned. Peter had to make sure the people knew they were sinners before he could offer them forgiveness.
            We often get this turned around. We offer sinners peace with God before they know they are sinners. We tell them their lives will be better if they accept Jesus. No, times of refreshing come after repentance, not before. We need to pay more attention to the way Peter called people to Jesus.

Application

             I need to look to the Lord for everything I need and that includes the ability and way to share the gospel with others. I also need to examine myself and understand where I need to repent.


[1] Adam Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, (Seattle, Biblesoft, 2006), 2 Samuel 24:18, Electronic Database .

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