By Mike Chaffin
24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. 2 Samuel 24:24-25
The last word in 2 Samuel is about responsibility and repentance. King David sinned. A leader’s sin has deep and far reaching consequences. In this case it was costly to the nation of Israel and it was costly to David.
God is angry with the nation of Israel and puts King David to the test. The Bible says God incited David to conduct a census. This was strictly against what God had instructed in the law. David’s mighty men knew the law and tried to talk him out of doing this, but his mind was made up. After the census (which took 9 months and 20 days), David realized he had failed the test and had sinned. As one of my favorite preachers said, “Sin will take you further than you want to go; and keep you longer than you want to stay.” So true.
David repented of his sin and God forgave him. But sin has consequences. In this case the sin was King David’s and the nations. God forgave David but gave him three consequences of his sin to choose from. The choices were three years of famine, three months of running from his enemies, or three days of plague on the nation. David chose to fall on God’s mercy, (a very smart choice) and selected plague. David prayed God would have mercy and shorten those three days.
The angel of death moved across the countryside killing 70,000 men, but when he got to the edge of Jerusalem, God stopped him. David could see the angel of death standing near a threshing floor on the outside of town. Gad, a prophet of God, instructs David to go there and build an alter and offer sacrifices of repentance. The entire threshing floor and oxen are offered as a gift to David by the owner, but David, accepting responsibility for what he had done, buys everything. He had to own it to sacrifice it.
So, David had to own up to what he had done, he had to own the consequences, and he had to give it up to God. This is no different than any one of us. We must own up to the fact that we are sinners. We must repent and turn away from that sin, even if it means giving up fortune, pleasures, or pride. We must give it to God and let God live inside of us as a living temple in the kingdom of God.
As it turned out, the ground the threshing floor was built on was the alter site of Abraham and Isaac. It is where David told Solomon to build the temple. It is where God’s Spirit dwelt among his people for centuries.
Prayer: Dear Lord thank you for your Word that never ceases and continues to teach us about your Holiness, your mercy, and the way to salvation. I pray that when put to the test, I would not fail, but wholly lean on you. I know I failed past tests. Have mercy on me and forgive me. Let your Holy Spirit refresh and renew me and live in me to the fullest. In Jesus name, amen.