The Command of David to Number Israel

We will find in the accounts given that the numbering of Israel was a grievous sin in the eyes of The Lord. Actually, this took place approximately three years before the death of David. The Scripture says, "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah" (2 Samuel 24:1). 1 Chronicles 21:1 says, "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." Is there a contradiction here? No. While satan did this, it was The Lord Who allowed it to be done. We learn from these passages that satan can do nothing against the child of God but that God allows it. God permits satan a limited power in bringing merited judgment upon men. The question becomes why did The Lord allow this against David? The taking of the census was not unlawful or displeasing to God. However, the reason it was taken and the neglect of the Word of God is what made it so sinful. When a census was taken, a half shekel of silver, with silver being a token of redemption, was to be paid for each man numbered (Exodus 30:11-16). This portrayed the fact that Israel's blessing and prosperity were anchored solely in the shed blood of The Lamb. This is the reason that all were to pay the same amount alike. In the matter of the atonement, all worshipers stood on one common ground -- The Slain Lamb. David ignored this extremely important command of The Lord. 

The Anger of The Lord

We aren't told in Verse 1 as to exactly what aroused the"the anger of the LORD"against Israel. However, there are some indications. Absalom and Israel sinned greatly in coming against David and, in effect, attempting to kill him. They did not lack the will, only the way. In fact, the only thing that saved David was The Lord. Absalom died for his sin, but Israel did not suffer at that particular time for siding with Absalom. As well, there is no sign of national repentance on the part of Israel. Repentance, which bases its actions on The Cross of Christ, stops judgment, and it is the only thing that will stop judgment. Otherwise, judgement will come. The Lord may wait awhile for it to come, even as He did here, but if there is no repentance, ultimately, it will come. Incidentally, it had been approximately five years since the rebellion of Absalom and Israel against David. Consequently, let no believer or anyone, for that matter, think that, while God does not visit with judgment immediately upon obvious sin, He has forgotten the matter. God forgets nothing unless it is sins for which proper repentance has been accorded. This is so important that I feel I must say it again. Let no believer think he can get by with sin. The truth is, if sin is committed, we must repent and repent immediately (1 John 1:9). If there is no repentance, chastisement ultimately is going to come. So, I personally feel that at least  a part of the anger of The Lord in what transpired at that time had to do with Israel siding with Absalom in attempting to dethrone David and even to kill him. 

Doing the Right Thing in the Wrong Way

As stated, it was not unlawful for a census to be taken. Actually, in some sense, it was commended by God (Exodus 30:12). When Moses numbered the people, the census was taken by the priests (Numbers 1:3, 26:1-2). Consequently, this would seem to be the way the census was supposed to be taken. However, instead of David getting the priest to do such a thing commanded that Joab, the military leader of Israel, carry out this task. The priests taking the census, in essence, stated that it was a spiritual affair rather than a military affair. How David did this things shows that the entire course was in a wrong direction. In other words, it wasn't at all spiritual but, rather, something else. A half shekel of silver was to be given to the sanctuary for each man of war that was numbered. David failed to do this as well. All of this has tremendous spiritual implications. The half shekel of silver given for each man counted, especially considering that it was to be done by the priests, stated, in totality, that Israel's power, strength, and glory were all predicated on the shed blood of The Lamb. By this manner in which the census was supposed to be taken, they were stating that their strength was totally in The Lord and what He would do for them at Calvary and not upon their military strength, etc. Coupled with Israel's national refusal to repent as it regarded their throwing in their lot with Absalom, which they did some years earlier, the nation was ripe for judgment. As stated, Israel had refused to accept David's forgiveness. While God forgave him, and we, of course, speak of his sin against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah, Israel refused to forgive him. Consequently, theywould have overthrown him and killed him if The Lord had not intervened. So, now the thing was coming to a head. 

A Modern Church and The Word of God

We find the modern church doing almost exactly what David did. In some cases, it is doing what is right but doing it in the wrong way. In other words, it is ignoring the Cross of Christ. Let the following statement be clearly understood:

  • Every single thing that we receive from God comes to us exclusively from Jesus Christ as the source (John 1:1-2, 14, 29; 14:6; Colossians 2:10-15)
  • Christ being the source, The Cross of Christ is the means and the only means by which all of these things are given to us (Romans 6:1-14)
  • Understanding The Cross of Christ is the only means, this tells us that The Cross of Christ must ever be the object of our faith (1 Corinthians 1:17, 18, 23; 1 Corinthians 2:2)
  • Understanding Christ as the source and the only source, the Cross as the means and the only means, and that the Cross must be the object of our faith, The Holy Spirit, Who works only within the finished work of Christ, will then work mightily on our behalf (Romans 8:1-11; Ephesians 2:13-18) 

All of this means that our approach to God must, without fail, be on the premise of Jesus Christ and what He did for us at The Cross. Yes, there is a purpose in life, but that purpose can only be realized by us placing our faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross. Yes, worship is overly important. However, all worship must be based strictly on The Cross of Christ. If we attempt to approach God, to work for God, or to do anything for God by any means other than The Cross of Christ, we will be instantly rejected (Ephesians 2:13-18). 

The Collision of God with Sin

Oswald Chambers made the following statement about The Cross and about sin. He said, "The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God's judgment on sin. Never associate the idea of martyrdom with The Cross of Christ. It was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell. There is nothing in time or eternity more certain and irrefutable. And what Jesus Christ accomplished on The Cross -- made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right standing relationship with God. He made Redemption the foundation of human life. That is, He made a Way for every person to have fellowship with God. The Cross was not something that happened to Jesus - He came to die. The Cross was His purpose in coming. He is '...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:8). The incarnation of Christ would have no meaning without The Cross. Beware of separating '...God was manifest in the flesh...' from '...he hath made be sin for us...' (1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The purpose of the Incarnation was Redemption. God came in the flesh to take sin away, not to accomplish something for Himself. The Cross is the central event in time and eternity and the answer to all the problems of both. The Cross is not a cross of a man, it's The Cross of God, and it can never be fully comprehended through human experience. The Cross is God exhibiting His nature. It is the gate through which any and every individual can enter into oneness with God. But it is not a gate we pass right through. It is one where we abide in the Life that is found there. The heart of salvation is The Cross of Christ. The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much. The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision where the Way to Life was opened, but all of the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God."

A Rebuke from the World

​The Scripture says, "And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?" (2 Samuel 24:3). Even Joab knew that what David was demanding was wrong. Joab was not a spiritual man. In fact, there is no actual sign that he was a believer. He was so close but yet so far away. He was so near but yet so distant. He operated under the anointing of David but never really knew that anointing himself. As it should be noted, he was never listed as one of David's mighty men, even though he was commander in chief of the armed forces. Millions in the modern church are identical to Joab. They are in the church but not of the church. Despite the fact of being religious, with some very religious, still, they have never been truly "born again". And yet, Joab knew what David was doing was wrong. It's a shame when the world looks at the modern church and knows something is amiss, but we do not seem to know ourselves.  Joab knew, as worldly as he was, what David, the "Sweet Singer of Israel", the man through whom the Messiah's family would come, the man who wrote over half the Psalms, and the man who was the greatest type of Christ in the Old Testament, didn't seem to know. Joab did what David demanded. It took nine months and twenty days to do the census. He found that the tribes of Israel could produce 800,000 fighting men. He found that the tribe of Judah could produce 500,000 men. He laid that grand total on the table before David. 

​Holy Spirit Conviction

"And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly" (2 Samuel 24:10). David's heart smiting him was The Holy Spirit plainly telling him that what he had done was very wrong. But yet, nine months and twenty days expired, the time it took to complete the census, before The Holy Spirit came with conviction. Why did The Holy Spirit wait until this moment? Why didn't David's heart smite him during the time of the carrying out of this wrong direction? Sometimes The Lord will warn us before sin is committed, and sometimes He won't. The following is what we should understand: as believers, we should know right from wrong. The Bible spells it out. Someone has said an old sin is an easy sin. What does that mean? When we trace David's life and living, we find him, at times, grandly  consulting The Lord by which he always received an answer. At other times, such as bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, etc., we find him charging out, even as he did here, without consulting The Scriptures. As stated, an old sin is an easy sin. During the planning and committing of sin, whatever it might be, the person who engages in such, even as David, is in no place or position in which The Holy Spirit can speak. If He did, it would not be heard. Certain conditions have to be right before The Holy Spirit can make Himself heard. As stated, even if He did speak, which He often does, most of the time, He is ignored. David would now repent, but it was too late to stop judgment. The repentance should have come nine months earlier. 

Sin Makes Fools of People

David said, "for I have done very foolishly." No man is a match for sin. No matter how bright he is, how intelligent he is, or how much power and prowess he might possess, sin is far greater than any of us realize. It forces us into a course of action that makes us look stupid because we are stupid for doing such a thing, whatever it might be. Whenever anyone leaves the course of the Word of God and begins to function ofhis own volition, he begins a course of action that is designed by satan to make him look like a fool and, thereby, destroy his influence. The truth is, all sin is a form of insanity. Now, because that statement is so very true, please allow me to say it again. All transgression against God, all sin and all iniquity, is actually a form of insanity. If one took a hammer and deliberately started beating his hand with it, you would know that is insanity. Whenever people transgress the law of God, they are sinning against everything that is dear and right. In other words, they are greatly hurting themselves. You can label that as none other than insanity. The only answer for sin, and I mean the only answer, is The Cross of Christ. There is no other, even as there can be no other. Now, Gad the Prophet would come into David's presence, but it was after David's heart had smitten him with conviction. 

The Modern Church and Holy Spirit Conviction

Unfortunately, the modern church has attempted to do away with The Holy Spirit. Consequently, it has done away with His power and with His leading. The idea of The Holy Spirit smiting the unsaved with conviction and, as well, even believers with conviction, as we are studying here, is foreign to modern thinking. In fact, the modern church does not want or desire The Holy Spirit in any fashion. When it comes to sin, they claim that, if sin is mentioned or addressed in any fashion, this might be offensive to people. The idea of The Holy Spirit dealing with sinful hearts exactly as The Holy Spirit dealt with David is something that the modern church does not desire. So, it preaches a message that is not at all Biblical, a message, incidentally, which is meant to tickle the flesh. Remember, flesh always responds to flesh. 

The Modern Message!

The modern message is, by and large, a self-improvement message. As stated, it sounds good to the ear. You can better yourself; you can bring out the champion within you; you can realize your full potential; you can be better than you are. All of these things sound good to the ear. There is not a human being in existence who cannot stand improvement, so this is a message that falls on ready ears, which the Bible refers to as "itching ears". However, the truth is self cannot improve self. In other words, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to better oneself in any way, at least by their own machinations. It simply cannot be done. Anything that's done in our lives that improves us, and, to be sure, there is much that needs improving, The Holy Spirit alone can carry out this task. So, that means that all of these sermons with all of these people taking down their notes in their littlebooks when they hear these foolish statements made will amount to nothing. Not one single person will help himself. Not one single individual will get better but, rather, worse. Not one individual will see any improvement. But yet, for you to question these people, whomever they might be, they would vouch, say on a stack of Bibles, that they are being helped grandly. In answer to that, Paul said this, "I do not frustrate the grace of God (if we make anything other than The Cross of Christ the object of our faith, we frustrate the grace of God, which means we stop its action, and The Holy Spirit will no longer help us): for if righteousness come by the law (any type of law), then Christ is dead in vain (if I can successfully live for The Lord by any means other than faith in Christ and The Cross, then the death of Christ was a waste)(Galatians 2:21). 

So, How Can One Better Oneself?

To begin with, forget about self, and I mean forget about self in every capacity. That's a huge part of the problem. We are thinking too much of self, too self-activated, and too self-willed. So, just forget about self and do so entirely. In other words, get your mind off of self and off of your own particular needs, whatever you think they might be. Actually, most of the time, what we think we need is just a symptom of the real problem, which problem we do not know or understand. In fact, it is understood only by The Holy Spirit. The believer is to get his mind totally and completely on Christ and what Christ did for us at The Cross. We are to ever understand that Christ is the source of all things we receive from God, and The Cross of Christ is the means and the only means by which these good things are given to  us.  This means that The Cross of Christ must ever be the object of our faith. The Holy Spirit is the One and the only One Who can shape our lives as they ought to be. He works entirely within the parameters, so to speak, of the finished work of Christ, i.e., The Cross. In other words, what Jesus did at The Cross gives The Holy Spirit the legal means to do all that He does within our hearts and lives. Listen to what Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ (as a foundation of all victory,Paul here takes us back to Romans 6:3-5): nevertheless I live (have new life); yet not I (not by my own strength and ability), but Christ liveth in me (by virtue of me dying with Jesus on The Cross and being raised with Him in newness of life): and the life which I now live in the flesh (my daily walk before God) I live by the faith of the Son of God (The Cross is ever the object of my faith), who loved me, and gave himself for me (which is the only way that I could be saved)(Galatians 2:20). If it is to be noticed by this statement, "I am crucified with Christ," Paul immediately takes us to The Cross. This is the secret of victorious, overcoming, Christian living. It is the secret of "more abundant life", the secret for all which Jesus paid such a price. 

​The Cross of Christ

In other words, the believer is to place his faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross, understanding that The Cross is the means by which everything is given to us. That being done, the Holy Spirit, Who alone can carry out the task that needs to be done in our lives, can exert His power on our behalf. The Way of Christ is the Way of The Cross. The Cross of Christ is the foundation of Christianity, in other words, the foundation of the entirety of the Word of God. The story of the Bible is the story of Jesus Christ and and Him Crucified. Every lamb offered in sacrifice for the first 4,000 years of human history, all and without exception, were types of Christ and what He would do at Calvary's Cross. When Jesus came and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice, which He did on The Cross, shedding His life's blood, it was a sacrifice that God accepted in totality. With the one sacrifice of Himself, this fulfilled the law in every respect, meaning there is no need for the law of Moses because it's all been satisfied in Christ. This means that there will never be the need of another little animal having to be offered, for Jesus paid it all. For us to have that for which He has died, all we have to do is to place our faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ did for us at The Cross. That being done and maintained, The Holy Spirit, Who is God and can do anything, will work mightily on our behalf.

What The Child of God is Facing

Every believer must understand that what we are facing in the spirit world is so far beyond our capacity to cope that it defies description, so if we try to do this thing ourselves, by our own ability, there is no way that we can make it. That's why Paul said the following, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). The great scholars give us the following information:

  • Principalities: the most powerful fallen angels who work under satan
  • Powers: also very powerful fallen angels but who work under the principalities
  • Rulers of the darkness of this world: another group of fallen angels who work under the powers
  • Spiritual wickedness in high places: these are demon spirits

That's what we are up against. Please believe me, humanistic psychology has no answer for this and neither does any work of the flesh have an answer for this. However, there is an answer, and that answer is "Jesus Christ, and him crucified." It was at Calvary that satan, along with all of his fallen angels and demon spirits, was totally and completely defeated. Paul also said in respect to this, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (the law of Moses) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he (Christ) made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:14-15). The Cross of Christ is God's Way and His only Way. 

The Offense of The Cross

One newspaper reporter asked a famous preacher as to why he never preached about The Cross, and, in fact, as the reporter put it, he had never heard The Cross mentioned in that particular church. The response of the preacher was interesting. He said, "Oh yes, we believe in The Cross, but you are right, it is not mentioned here and will not be mentioned." The reporter asked him as to why. Once again, his answer was revealing. He said, "The reason The Cross is not mentioned is because it may offend people." Now, that's an interesting statement. In response to such stupidity, Paul also said,"But we preach Christ crucified". He then said that he'd admit, to the "Jews [it is] a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness".Nevertheless, he'd preach Christ Crucified (1Corinthians 1:23). He preached Christ Crucified because that is the answer to man's dilemma and, in fact, the only answer.

As it regarded this sin, Gad the Prophet came to David and told him, "Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee..." (2 Samuel 24:12-14).  For the sin that David and Israel committed, judgment was now inevitable. Through the Prophet Gad, The Lord gave David one of three choices, they were:

  1. Three years of famine to come upon the whole of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:12). In 2 Samuel 24:13, it says 7 years. However, this latter number is, no doubt, wrong, the fault being a scribe who most likely miscopied it. There are no numbers in the Hebrew language, with letters serving as such. So, it was easy for such a mistake to be made. 
  2. Three months of defeat by Israel's enemies, meaning that The Lord would not help Israel in these conflicts should David choose this particular route. 
  3. Three days of pestilence in your land.

David now has his choice, and the record shows that he chose wisely, but, still, the judgment was awful.

The Great Strait

"And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait..." (2 Samuel 24:14). In other words, no matter which David chose,the outcome would be horrible, to say the least. Sin puts a person in a great strait, meaning that, whichever way he turns, there seems to be no way out. Therefore, please read the following very carefully. There is a way out, even though there is always a penalty attached to sin, and make no mistake about that. That way out is Christ and The Cross and, I might add, Christ and The Cross alone. That's what makes it so absolutely sinful and wicked for the church to resort to humanistic psychology. There is no solution from that source, none at all, or in any other source that the world may have to offer. There is only one answer to sin, and sin is what we are here dealing with. There is only one solution for sin and only one Way that sin can be eradicated. That Way is by the person confessing his or her sin before God and repenting of such, with forgiveness made possible by what Our Lord did at The Cross. Regrettably and sadly, the modern church knows precious little about restoring one who has sinned. What does the Scripture say about this all important subject?

Biblical Restoration

Paul said, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault (pertains to moral failure and is brought about because one has ignorantly placed himself under law; such a position guarantees failure), ye which are spiritual (refers to those who understand God's prescribed Way of Victory, which is The Cross), restore such an one (tell him he failed because of reverting to law and that victory can be his by placing his faith totally  in The Cross, which then gives The Holy Spirit latitude to work, Who alone can give the victory)in the spirit of meekness (never with an overbearingholier-than-thou attitude); considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted (the implication is that if we do not handle such a case Scripturally, we, thereby, open the door for satan to attack us in the same manner as he did the failing brother)" (Galatians 6:1). Most failure on the part of the believer is caused by one's faith being in something other than Christ and The Cross. If such a believer doesn't understand the part The Cross plays as it regards our sanctification, this great truth must be explained to him. If he does not understand it, or at least a modicum of understanding, we must tell him that he has failed because he has left The Cross and placed his faith in other things. This being done, The Holy Spirit, Whom we must have 24 hours a day to assist us, simply becomes very limited as to what He can do. Such a person then is guaranteed of failure. 


If the brother or sister will heed what is being said by one who is "spiritual ", which refers to one who understands The Cross, this doesn't necessarily mean that it will be a simple thing. Just because one places one's faith entirely in The Cross of Christ and is totally sincere, it does not mean that the devil is going to fold his tent and leave. To be sure, satan will probe every weakness, attempting to make us discouraged or whatever, in order that we abandon our faith. Unfortunately, he succeeds with all too many. How many have I heard say, "I've tried The Cross, and it doesn't work." I like what one Baptist preacher said, "Oh yes, The Cross works. It's you and me who don't work very well." However, of this, one can be assured. If one does place one's faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross, while the battle may grow hot, and satan may attack and do so ferociously, still, we are guaranteed by The Word of God that ultimately "...sin shall not have dominion over you..." (Romans 6:14). 

The Cross

That's the reason such a believer needs to make certain that he is sitting under preaching and teaching that ever proclaims The Cross. If the believer expresses no interest in The Cross or else actually registers unbelief toward The Cross, there is nothing that can be done for such a brother or sister except pray for them. Whatever problems they are having, they are going to continue to have, with the situation even getting worse and worse. In other words, without proper faith in Christ and The Cross, it is impossible to overcome sin. Even with faith in The Cross and it established correctly, as stated, that doesn't mean that it's going to be simple or easy. Sin is a terribly destructive force. It is never something to be taken lightly. 

The Hand of Man

David wisely chose the three days of pestilence, knowing that it was then completely out of the hands of men. Men, especially religious men, have no mercy whatsoever. Most of the time, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I use the term "most of the time", these religious men, whoever they might be, are in worse spiritual shape and condition than even the ones they are trying to correct or restore. That is, if you could call what they do "restoration". Actually, there is no restoration with men. For many years, we were a part of a large pentecostal denomination. Let me make it clear, there are some Godly preachers in that organization as well as a lot of Godly people. However, there are some things about it which are grossly unscriptural. All the way from when I was a child, even through many years of ministry, I heard scores of preachers make the statement that not a single Bible Great could belong to that denomination. Invariably, most of these Bible Greats had done something wrong at one time or the other. This would have disqualified them from being in that particular denomination. For instance, Abraham tried to give his wife to Pharaoh, which would have greatly disqualified him. Moses killed a man, which is not a very good way to begin your ministry. David's problems were many, as we have stated. Then, one can read the Seventh Chapter of Romans and see the difficulties of the Apostle Paul. In fact, Simon Peter, at least if he had followed the rules of the denomination in question, could never have preached the inaugural message on the Day of Pentecost. Due to his denial of Christ, he would have been sidelined for two years or more. No, don't let me fall into the hands of man. While God never condones sin in any capacity, which should be overly obvious, still, He is ever merciful. 

​The Plague

"So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men" (2 Samuel 24:15). If it is to be noticed in the Bible, The Lord is said to do many things when, in reality, he doesn't actually do it Himself, whatever it might be. It is done through an angel, even as the 16th verse proclaims, etc. Why 70,000 men? Why these 70,000 men? It was David who had given the instructions for the census to be taken, so wasn't The Lord unfair in bringing judgment up on these men, whomever they may have been? No. To get the complete answer to this, one has to go back to the 15th Chapter of 2 Samuel as it regards Absalom's revolt against David. Israel threw in their lot with Absalom, claiming The Lord was not with David any more (Psalms 3:2). Actually, at that time, the far greater majority of Israel sided with Absalom, even though The Lord had not called Absalom to be the king of Israel but, rather, David.  Yes, David sinned terribly, but he also repented, with The Lord forgiving him. There is no record that Israel repented, at that time, for what they had done in attempting to usurp authority over the will of God. However, The reader must understand the following: if sin goes unrepented, and the Lord does not bring judgment at that immediate time, it doesn't mean that he has forgiven the situation. So, now, some seven years later, The Lord would send judgement upon Israel for the sin they committed in opposing David and, above all, in opposing  the will of God. There is only one place for sin, and that is The Cross of Christ. Let no one think that he gets by simply because God doesn't move at a particular time. Repentance can turn the judgment away, but if repentance is ignored, let not the person think that it's business as usual. So, some 70,000 men would die in these three days of pestilence. Were these 70,000 men involved in the revolt of Absalom? We have no way of knowing that, but one thing is certain, what God does is right. It's not merely right because He does it, but it is right because it is right.

The Judgment on Jerusalem

"And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite" (2 Samuel 24:16). David acknowledged before The Lord that his actions had been anything but honorable and straight. In other words, exactly as he stated, he had done "wickedly". Concerning David's petition before The Lord, Pulpit says, "But David, with that warmth of feeling which made his character so noble, can see only his own fault. It is not a true repentance when the sinner looks for excuses and apportions the blame between himself and others." David felt himself totally to blame and, to be frank, as the titular leader of Israel, was to blame but not altogether. As previously stated, this judgment upon some 70,000 men of Israel, no doubt, had much to do with the terrible sin they had committed some years before regarding Absalom. As we said, there had been no judgment then, but due to lack of repentance on the part of Israel, the judgment had now come. So, whatever David said and ever how he felt, still, the judgement would be left up to God and not to man. 

Build an Altar

The Scripture says, "And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded"(2 Samuel 24:18-19). The 18th Verse says that David did "rear an altar." The judgement, along with the altar, prefigured Christ as the sin offering, which He should accomplish at Jerusalem about 1,000 years later. David, as a type of Christ, foreshadowed this, for no priest is mentioned. The altar is a type of Calvary. Let the reader understand, as stated, that The Cross, of which the altar was a symbol, is the only answer for sin. That may seem like a simple statement, with many agreeing with it but actually not knowing what is really being said. Sin and its aftermath is an awful thing. The fallout on all sides covers every aspect of mankind. It can well be likened to a "plague". Unfortunately, the modern church is promoting every type of fad and scheme of which one can think in order to oppose sin, all to no avail. As stated, there is only one answer for sin, and that is The Cross of Christ. That's the reason that The Lord, through the Prophet Gad, told David, "build an altar." Every saint of God in this world has tremendous rights before God at His throne. Still, all of this and without exception has been made possible by what Christ did for us at The Cross. We must never forget that. Man has a problem. That problem is sin. There's only one cure for it, and that is The Cross of Christ. 

Believers and The Cross

As we have said, most Christians understand The Cross, at least to the degree as it refers to Salvation. However, they do not understand it at all as it regards our Sanctification, i.e., that is,how we live for God. The part The Cross of Christ plays in our everyday Christian experience is a mystery to them. Please understand, The Cross of Christ has everything to do with all that we are in The Lord. As we have said repeatedly, and, again, please allow the repetition:

  • Jesus Christ is the source of all things we receive from God (John 1:1-3, 14, 29; 14:6, 20)
  • The Cross is the means by which The Lord gives us all things (Romans 6:1-4)
  • With The Cross of Christ being the means, then we, as believers, must ever make The Cross of Christ the object of our faith, and that alone as the object of our faith (1Corinthians 1: 17, 18, 23; 2:2; Colossians 2:10-15)
  • With our faith properly being placed in The Cross of Christ, The Holy Spirit, Who works exclusively within the parameters of the finished work of Christ, will work mightily on  our behalf (Romans 8:1-11; Ephesians 2:13-18)

An Offering to God ,Which Cost Nothing?

"And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings..." (2 Samuel 24:22-25). Why the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite? While David, at that time, no doubt, did not know the reason, at any rate, he obeyed immediately what The Lord told him to do. The reason was this was the site The Lord would select where the temple would be built. The temple, incidentally, where He would dwell in the Holy of Holies between the Mercy Seat and the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. He would inform David shortly of this. The idea, which is very very important, is that the price that God would pay in order to redeem mankind would be high -- the price of the life of His only Son, The Lord Jesus Christ. We don't know what David understood about it at that moment. Our problem presently is that we are attempting to serve God without understanding the price that was paid, namely The Cross. Any time we seek to do anything as it regards The Lord without The Cross of Christ as the foundation, we are, in essence, denying the price that was paid there. This is a direction which God can never accept, which will ultimately accrue to itself judgment. 

The Plague Was Stayed

"...the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel" (2 Samuel 24:25). The "burnt offering" was a "whole burnt offering," which typified that The Lord would give His all in order for us to be saved. The "peace offerings" constituted the peace that comes to the individual after he has accepted Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross. When this altar was built and the offerings presented to The Lord, all of which typified calvary, The Scripture says that this satisfied The Lord "and the plague was stayed from Israel." Let us say it again, the only thing standing between mankind and eternal hell is The Cross of Christ. The only thing standing between the church and total apostasy is The Cross of Christ. The only sacrifice that God will recognize is The Cross of Christ. The only way the plague of sin and judgment can be stopped is by and through The Cross of Christ. 

Hark, ten thousand harps and voices

Sound the note of praise above!

Jesus reigns, and Heaven rejoices,

Jesus reigns, The God of Love;

See, He sits on yonder throne;

Jesus rules the world alone.

Jesus, hail! Whose glory brightens

All above and gives it worth;

Lord of life, Your smile enlightens,

Cheers, and charms Your saints on earth;

When we think of love like Yours,

Lord, we own it Love divine.

King of Glory, reign forever!

Yours an everlasting crown.

Nothing from Your love shall sever

Those whom You have made Your own;

Happy objects of Your grace,

Destine to behold Your face.

Savior, hasten Your appearing; bring

O bring the glorious day,

When the awful summons hearing

Heaven and earth shall pass away;

Men with golden harps we'll sing,

Glory, Glory to our King!