1 Chronicles 21-22
Chapter 21: David Numbers Israel
David commands that a census be taken, to “number” Israel. This is prompted however by Satan who has his own reasoning for doing things. God allows this temptation to move David into numbering Israel because God wants to chastise David. So why was it so bad to “number” Israel? In these times a man would “number” only what belonged to him. David did not own Israel or its people, God does. If God were to command a “numbering” of his people, then the motive would be service to the Lord and doing as He had commanded. However in this instance David was only concerned with protecting and putting his trust in a “multitude” of hosts, or in other words putting his trust in numbers of a manmade army over the trust of God.
In our daily lives we can see this happen to us on a daily basis. How often do we put our trust in something manmade or putting our trust in another man (or woman) over God? I would say quite often. We must put our trust in God. That, however, does not mean that we are free to do as we please, or to simply sit back and say that we are putting our trust in God, without any actions! To trust, or have faith in God, we must ACT. We must do all that we can in following the commandments and working hard for what we feel is right, and then and only then will the hand of God be shown in our lives.
Joab objects to the numbering and asks David to reconsider his foolish ways. Joab knew that David’s reasoning was built up in pride, wanting to know how powerful he was, perhaps to conquer a neighboring nation. In Samuel 24:4 we read that it was not only Joab who objected to the numbering, but also the captains of the army, but David however prevails in his desire to number Israel, and he was immediately sorry for doing so.
Joab comes back to David with the census complete and finds that there are 1.3 million fighting men among the twelve tribes, which is a small portion of the 6 million people living in Israel. Although Joab did not count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, for fear that God would strike them down and all that would remain would be those who were not numbered. God would have struck down all of Israel, but God had already done so with the deeply afflicted heart of David. David, wasn’t perfect, but when he knew that he had sinned his heart was very sensitive to sin and therefore was very remorseful of his ways. David admits that he has been foolish and asks God for, forgiveness.
God sends a messenger to David and gives him three options of Judgment to forgive his sin:
#1: 3 years of famine.
#2: 3 Months until you are defeated by your enemies.
#3: For 3 days a plague would engulf the land.
God gave David these three options to test David’s heart and wisdom:
#1: 3 years of famine would surely kill most of Israel, the wealthy and resourceful would survive by depending on neighboring nations for food.
#2: 3 Months until you are defeated by your enemies would surely mean the death of most of the soldiers, and would probably result in new enemies.
#3: For 3 days a plague would engulf the land, this would cause a great deal of death among all of Israel, no matter whom; rich, poor, military…etc.
David chooses to have 3 days of plagues. This is important, because had David chose war; his family and himself would have been protected. Had David chosen famine, his wealth would have sustained him. Therefore he humbled himself and accepted of God’s punishment by choosing something that could ultimately affect himself and his loved ones. By choosing 3 days of plague he was also in the hands of God, whom he knew would be more merciful than man.
The destroying angel comes and kills 70,000 men of Israel and as the destruction is happening, God steps back and relented of the disaster and commanded the angel to restrain from continuing. David seeing the destructions laments to God asking him why he had killed so many of his innocent sheep and had refrained from touching him. God then commands David to erect a altar to the Lord. So
David does as he is commanded.
David goes to Ornan and asks him to build an altar where his threshingfloor stands. David buys the land for 600 shekels of God, the full price of the property. David offers peace and burnt offerings there, as a tribute to his understanding of God and his ways in destroying 70,000 of his sheep.
David finally knows where the Lord wants his temple to be built, right there on the threshingfloor.
Chapter 22: Solomon Is to Build the Temple
David is commanded to gather men who were foreigners in the land of Israel, which were about 70,000 slaves to build the temple of Solomon. David gathered the finest materials, cedar trees from Lebanon. The house of God would have to be magnificently built unto the Lord, so David made preparations for his son Solomon to continue building the temple after his death. David charges (gives blessing) to Solomon to complete this great work of building the House of the Lord after his death, in a sense if Solomon failed in building the temple, David failed as well. David warns Solomon to stay faithful to God and his word, in accomplishing the construction of the temple. David counsels Solomon to;
“…be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.” (1 Chronicles 22:13)
This is something that we can all appreciate and place in our hearts in our daily activities. Life, after all, is tough. Our challenges we face on a day to day level are not easy ones, but if we put our trust in God and don’t worry about the future or how something will come about, then we can have that courage and strength that we need to continue fighting towards our righteous individual dreams and desires.
David prepares the construction by leaving Solomon in charge of a great deal of money and resources to ensure that the temple does get built and with all its magnificence.