David had Joab do a census of all the people. David’s motivation was sinful and the price tag for that sin is now going to be demanded. David alone won’t pay this price.
The last time David committed a BIG sin he had to be confronted by God, through Nathan, before repenting. This time David’s own heart convicts him. And the first thing he does is repent and ask for forgiveness. Too bad he didn’t listen to the advice of Joab in the beginning. It would have saved a LOT of heartache.
Did you notice that David said he acted “very foolishly” instead of “very wickedly”? To me, that says that he didn’t deliberately set out to sin but looking back on his actions (and motives) he realized how they dishonored God. David also recognized that this was a very significant issue. “I have sinned greatly in what I have done” (verse 10b). I would wager to say that he knew there was going to be some significant consequence required for this great sin.
I wonder how David approached the Lord in his request for forgiveness. Was it a private personal prayer? Did he go before the Ark? Did he approach the priest and ask him to make intercession for him? This would probably depend on where their relationship was at the time. I imagine David didn’t feel too secure in his relationship at the time so he sought outside help.
God speaks to David through Gad. David usually heard from God with definitive answers through a third person. God worked through David but spoke through others. God gives Gad three options to lay before David. He has to choose one. And his choice will impact ALL the nation.
Did David ask for advice from anyone before making his choice? Did Gad weigh in on the options? Or did he make a ‘command decision’ on his own? David chose the option that was the shortest and relied solely on God’s hand for the delivery and outcome. He would much rather place his future in God’s hands than in any man’s. I agree with him here!
I was looking at the death toll of the option David took and saw it resulted in at least 6% of the population dying in a three day period. This is using the numbers found in 1 Chronicles 21. In the United States the Corona virus had killed about .15% of our population. Using rough numbers COVID-19 has killed about 3.2% of the world’s population. This death toll is very significant and has happened over a full year. Imagine over 6% of the population dying in just THREE DAYS! And these numbers only reflect men. They do not include women and children. This is staggering!
I wonder what the numbers would have looked like on the other two options. Then again, long term suffering vs. short term suffering would need factored into this equation. Not to mention the economic and political costs. There simply was no good choice. Sin COSTS.
God could have chosen to wipe everyone out and start again. He could have let the angel wield his sword through Jerusalem. He could have even labeled the people who would die. But He showed mercy instead. The price was paid.
I was just thinking about the numbers again, in regard to the ‘price’ paid. When we take the numbers from our text today we get an 8.75% death toll. This is approaching the 10% mark that God chose the Levites to represent. This is His tithe of the people. Those who would be counted as redeemed for the rest of the people. That makes our number a whole lot more significant. Those who lost their lives did so as a ransom for the rest of the nation.
When David saw the deaths his heart broke. He knew the people were suffering for his sins. He asked God to spare them and take His anger out on his own house. I would have been saying the same thing. But if we look back to the beginning of this account we will see that the nation was sinning and that is what opened the door for Satan to speak to David’s heart. This atonement was a national atonement, not just a personal one. God showed mercy with requiring 6.36% or 8.75% instead of the full 10%.
Does anyone else wonder if God is keeping score? We are told that there will be famines, floods, pestilence, earth quakes and much more in the end. I’m suggesting we ALL start looking to the skies. And the sin in this world HAS brought these things upon us.
Father God, thank You for Your mercy! You could have wiped ALL of mankind from the face of the earth. You nearly did in the days of Noah. But You showed mercy. You showed mercy to David when the angel stood above his town. You spared him, even though he had sinned. You stopped at less than the full tithe.
I know that in the end MORE than the tithe will be required because of man’s sin. I pray it isn’t this time. Thank You for Your mercy, even now.
PLEASE don’t let my sin result in someone else’s pain. It is bad enough that my sin has impacted my children’s lives. Is this why they have turned away from You? PLEASE don’t let it be Father! Bring them back to You Lord Jesus! Forgive my sin and wash the stain from their hearts.