David decides to take a census of all of the fighting-abled men in the lands of Judah and Israel. After doing so, he realizes that he has does a sinful thing and begs God to allow him to reconcile. God gives him 3 options to choose from: 3 years of famine, 3 months of fleeing from pursuing enemies or 3 days of plague. David chooses plague and over 70,000 people die. David even comes face to face with an angel of the Lord and asks him to spare the people because he is the one who sinned. David builds an altar and God accepts his prayers of behalf of the people and calls off the plague.
I can't imagine which is worse--being personally punished for my sins or watching others get unpunished for my sins… I would think it would be worse watching the innocent suffer for my sins…it’s a tough one.
The Samuel and Chronicles passages talk about the same story, but with an interesting twist of words. In Samuel, the reading starts out saying that the "anger of the Lord burned against Israel" and that caused David to take the census. In Chronicles, the reading says that "Satan rose up against Israel"… Just another one of those differences that makes you wonder why its even there. To me, it makes more sense that Satan would plant something in David's heart to make him sin, but I can't help but wonder why in Samuel it talks about the anger of God???
Another part that struck me (I guess it was the wording in Chronicles) is that God asks the angel to withdraw his hand from the plague because he is so saddened watching his people die and suffer. He then allowed David to repent of his own sin to atone for the wrong that was done. It is a great example of how God is not the evil one with the magnifying glass trying to zap the humans with the suns rays… he hates watching us suffer and longs to show us compassion. But just like a parent must punish a child to teach and refine, so much God act towards us.
David decides to build a temple for God and has his son Solomon take up the brunt of the work. He begins the work, with the blessing of God. The Psalm in the reading is a dedication song for the temple from David.
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
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