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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 24

Verses 1-25

  1. INTRO:
    1. Story: How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worn, begins in the heart and works out through a person’s thoughts, words, and actions.
    2. Sin...we never outgrow it! :(
      1. Nobody...no matter how old, how wise, how respected...is immune to sin.
      2. Job32:9 Msg The experts have no corner on wisdom; getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense. And so the story goes w/David.
  2. A STUBBORN HEART! (Outline Headings taken from Warren Wiersbe, With The Word.) (1-9)
    1. First, we need to grapple with God moving David to number the people, then punishing for it? Then, in 1 Chron.21:1 it claims Satan move David to do it. (He could say, “the Devil made me do it!”) Then, realizing David choose to do it against the better judgment of his generals. Oh & then, this is ultimately God’s judgement on Israel (not David).
    2. Are these Contradictory? Or, is this Concurrence at work? [concurrence=(Lt.)running together]
    3. God’s sovereignty & providence is seen in His control of men & events. [Lets start w/Dan 4:35]
      1. He does according to His will among the host of heaven & among the inhabitants of the earth; & none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
      2. William Blaikie said the intertwining of events is like, a web of many threads, woven w/marvelous skill; a network composed of all kinds of materials, great & small, but so arranged that the very smallest of them is as essential as the largest to the completeness of the fabric.”
    4. Providence teaches: God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that He (1) keeps them existing & maintaining the properties with which he created them (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes. Or, Preservation, Concurrence & Government.
      1. Concurrence - We are creatures w/a will of our own. We make things happen. Yet the causal power we exert is secondary. God’s sovereign providence stands over & above our actions.
      2. He works out His will through the actions of human wills, w/o violating the freedom ~of those human wills.
        1. Preservation - Providence includes God’s work of sustaining His creation.
      3. Government - He rules His creation w/absolute sovereignty & authority.
        1. The earth is His ball, & He can take it & go home when He wants!
        2. He governs everything that comes to pass; from the greatest to the least.
        3. He makes the rain to fall & the sun to shine. He raises up kingdoms & brings them down. He numbers the hairs on our heads & the days of our life.
    5. So, we know God cannot tempt anyone; but He is often described as doing what He permits to be done. Satan was Davids counsellor/instigator here...not the Lord.
      1. We weave together than: David’s pride, the Lord’s anger w/Israel, Satan’s hatefulness...all 3 played a role in the decision.
      2. Did you know that throughout the whole OT there are only 4 instances where Satan is named specifically & seen openly at work.
        1. Tempting Eve in garden in Gen.3; attacking Job in Job 1,2; & when he accused Joshua the priest in Zech.3; And, here.
      3. Joab & others tried their best to dissuade David. How often we rush to our destruction in spite of warning voices, which God raises up to stay us.
    6. There was nothing wrong with David taking a census. Censuses are mentioned in the Bible.
      1. God commanded a flat tax to be paid with the census in Ex.30:11-16 for the upkeep of the Tabernacle.
      2. The Book of Numbers is named after the counting of the Israelite population in Num.1-4 & then a 2nd census again in Num.26.
      3. The Gospel of Luke records Jesus being born during a census in Luke 2.
        1. There was nothing wrong with David taking a census...It was WHY he did!
        2. What made it a sinful census? Pride & self-sufficiency. To see how big his army was(v9)
          1. The king wanted to magnify his own achievements rather than glorify God.
          2. Prov.16:5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
        3. Where do you deal with pride?
          1. With politicians its how large your constituency is.
            With pastors its how large your church is.
            With business owners its how large your company is.
            With some its how large your Facebook or Twitter fan base is.
          2. May we remember we have nothing that we have not received; & it is ours only in the sense of stewardship, to be used for our Lord.
      4. Sometimes God’s greatest judgment is to let us have our own way! (Experience that?)
  3. A SMITTEN HEART! (10-14)
    1. ​​​​​​​(10) David’s heart condemned him - or attacked & struck him. Same words David used for killing the lion, the bear & Goliath.
    2. At least 6x’s in Scripture we find David confessing, “I have sinned.”
      1. ​​​​​​​When he confessed his sins of adultery & murder he said, “I have sinned.”
      2. When he confessed his sins of #’ing the people he said, “I have sinned greatly.”
        1. David saw the enormity of what he had done.
        2. His sin w/Bathsheba took the lives of 4 people (+ Uriah); this sin took 70,000 lives.
        3. One was a yielding to the lust afternoon of laziness; the other a willful at of rebellion against God. Motivated by pride. “Pride is the ground in which all the other sins grow, & the parent from which all the other sins come.” (William Barclay)
      3. Once again he gave David 9 months time to repent(vs.8)...but he refused to yield.
        1. 9 months, long enough for the pregnancy of sin to give birth to death...James 1:13 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
      4. But here in vs.10 he repents, & is forgiven, but still had the consequences of sin.
        1. The mark of a person after God’s heart is not perfection but a sensitivity to sin & a willingness to seek restoration with God, even it means facing His judgment!
    3. (12,13) Why did God offer him 3 choices?
      1. Maybe because his sin was a deliberate choice on David’s part, so God allowed him to make another choice & name the punishment.
      2. God didn’t pull 3 punishments out of His hat; these were named in Deut.28 in God’s Covenant w/Israel [Famine vs.23,24; Military defeat vs.25,26; Pestilence vs.27,28]
      3. Also, read Ex.30:12 regarding census + plague.
    4. (14) He wisely chose the 3rd option, for even under judgment, a person is safest within the hand of God.
  4. A SUFFERING HEART! (15-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​The plague started the next morning & went for the appointed 3 days. [His terrible swift sword]
      1. ​​​​​​​The judgement ended at Jerusalem, just as Joab & his men had done(8).
    2. (16) Araunah(or Ornan) the Jebusite.
      1. Jebusites were the original inhabitants of Jerusalem. Gentiles.
    3. Why did God have him sheath his weapon?
      1. Because between the angel & the sinners was an altar, & on the altar a sacrifice.
      2. 1 Chron.21:26,27 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the Lord; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering. So the Lord commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath. His holy wrath was appeased.
        1. A humble prayer spoken; a fire-ball is released from heaven(the wrath of God); it consumes not the sinner, but the sacrifice.
          1. Justice served. Angel sheathes its sword. Sinners are set free.
        2. At the threshing-floor the Lord relents, or alters His procedure when we alter our behavior! [He will cease threshing!]
          1. His judgement is swift & terrible, but equally swift was His mercy!
  5. A SACRIFICING HEART! (18-25)
    1. ​​​​​​​Gad shows up again, this time with a message of Hope.
    2. This was no ordinary piece of property!
      1. This was the site where God’s judgment & mercy met!
      2. This was none other than Mount Moriah! What happened there?
        1. [#1] This was the place where Abraham had put his son Isaac on the altar.
          1. Gen.22:2 Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.
        2. [#2] This will be the place where Solomon puts the Temple, where the altar will be.
          1. 2 Chron.3 Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
            1. David’s 2 greatest sins were: “his adultery w/Bathsheba” & “his numbering of the people”.
              1. But out of the 2 great sins...God built a temple! [Oh, sweet Grace!]
              2. Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon & God chose him to succeed David on the throne. And on the property that David purchased, he would erect an altar.
              3. What David did is certainly not an excuse for sin, because David paid dearly for committing those sins. However, knowing what God did for David does encourage us to seek His face & trust His grace when we have obeyed Him.
                1. Once again, “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more!”
                2. What a merciful God we serve!
            2. Well Mount Moriah was not only where God promised a Provision for a Person Ab/Isaac(ram in thicket); & also a Provision for a People at Temple site(many sacrifices); but also a Provision for All Peoples, Jesus on Calvary.
        3. [#3] This will be the place where Jesus dies on the Cross, the final sacrifice.
          1. A topographic map shows that Mount Moriah is not a single peak, but an elongated ridge.
            1. The ridge heads Northeast, just outside the present Damascus Gate of the Old City. The place of the crucifixion of Jesus was at the summit of Mt. Moriah.
        4. Mount Moriah, 1st a Provision for a Person w/a ram; Then, a Provision for a People at the Temple site w/many lambs; And finally, a Provision for All Peoples, w/the Lamb of God.
          1. The site where God’s judgment & mercy met!
          2. A site where many would come to find mercy...hope…& salvation.
      3. On Calvary, Justice was served. The altar was the Cross. The sacrifice was Christ. The death Angel sheathed his sword. Sinners were set free.
        1. Rom.5:8,9 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
    3. Sin...we never outgrow it! :( But we can at least…
      1. ​​​​​​​Be accountable (to live an unaccountable life is to invite danger)
      2. Remember Sins Consequences (keep the 70,000 graves fresh in your mind)
      3. Take God Seriously (failing to do so is to deny His Lordship in our lives)
    4. Man’s nature is to sting, but God’s nature is to save!
      1. Watch video clip. [The Old Man & the Scorpion; 1:35] (On Youtube. An adaptation of Henri Nouwen's fable, as re-told by Brennan Manning in, The Signature of Jesus.)
        1. Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?
        2. Just because it is the scorpion's nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.
      2. Well, God wasn’t a fool; but instead has this Crazy Love for us evil creatures.
        1. And, He did have his Son killed on your behalf.
        2. No matter how ugly your sin has been;
          No matter how evil of a creature you’ve been;
          No matter how ungrateful you’ve shown yourself;
          ​​​​​​​His nature is still to SAVE!
    5. Want to deal with that worm in your apple? It comes from the inside!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 24". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-samuel-24.html. 2017.