Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1 Chronicles 20 & 21 - War and Census Taking

LINK: 1 Chronicles 20 & 21

BACKGROUND 

We are continuing with our review of the history we covered last year in the Bible Book Club. 

1 Chronicles 20 (parallels 2 Samuel 12:26-31; 19:41-20:22)

David's sin with Bathsheba is not mentioned in the Chronicles account. We do know that it was the spring and time for battle, and David did not go (1 Chronicles 20:1), but what he did during the idleness is not mentioned here (see 2 Samuel 12:1-25 for that). 

Eventually, David did go out to war, and the people of Rabbah were brought to their knees. The crown described would have been fifty to seventy-five pounds (compare this with the English crown which is three)!

1 Chronicles 21 (parallels 2 Samuel 24)

The census occurred late in David's reign prior to David giving Solomon instructions for building the temple (1 Chronicles 21:28-22:19).

There is a difference in the two parallel accounts. The 2 Samuel account says that God's anger burned against Israel and God led David to number the people. This account says that Satan did (see other instances of Satan's work in Genesis 3, Job 1-2, and Zechariah 3). God allowed Satan to prompt David because He had a purpose: that Israel might be punished and David learn a valuable lesson in humility. 

What was wrong with taking a census? Usually a census was taken only when preparing an army (Numbers 1:2; 26:2). Since David had peace on every side and Israel was a recognized power in the region, there was no need for a census to be taken. The only other reason was David's pride and ambition. He wanted to glory in the size of his people and army. He was putting his faith in this rather than God, who is ultimately the one who was protecting David and giving him peace on every side. Even Joab, who was not known for high moral character, knew that this was wrong. Thankfully, David realized his sin of pride and self-sufficiency and confessed his foolishness to God (1 Chronicles 21:8), but there was still a consequence for his sin. 

Some commentators believe the angel of the Lord in 21:15 is probably a "theophany" or the pre-incarnate Christ (Genesis 16:13; 18:1-2; 22:11-12; 48:16; Judges 6:16, 22; 13:22-23; Zechariah 3:1) as it is identified with but distinct from Yahweh (Genesis 24:7).

The chapter concludes with David's purchase of a very rich piece of real estate. He purchased the threshing floor on Mt. Moriah. Where have you heard of this before in the Bible Book Club? This is the place where Abraham offered up Isaac in Genesis 22! It will also become the future home of Solomon's temple. Stay tuned!

REFLECTION

It is now 2014, and I am editing this post originally written in 2011. I am saddened, but not surprised, at what is coming out about a nationally known pastor. 

My first exposure to him was a video from 2007 on the website of an older pastor whom I have respected for the last 25 years. I was appalled. I thought, "Who is this guy, and why is this older pastor allowing this horrible teaching to be a part of his website?"

I did not know he was the "it" pastor of the country. I did not know he had one of the fastest-growing network of churches in America. I just saw a very insecure man who should not be lauded as a great teacher. Something was really wrong. 

I wrote this older pastor who hosted the website to ask why he had this person as one of his teachers, but I never heard back. Now it is seven years later and documents of this "it" pastor's selfish power and ambition, as far back as 2007, is coming to light. The people exposing him were former elders and pastoral staff who tried repeatedly to hold him accountable for his actions, but they were ostracized and shunned. 

I am sure this young man started out well, but somewhere along the way, it got more about growing his empire than serving God. Will he "course correct" as David did when he realized his sin of pride and self-sufficiency and confessed his foolishness to God (1 Chronicles 21:8)? Time can only tell. My heart is sick for the trail of "dead bodies" he has left along the path. My heart is sick for him. I know he does not get it yet.  I hope he gets it. I really do not wish harm or evil on him. He just needs to get it. Lord, help him to get it. 

2015 Update: He stepped down, and I think he is getting it. This is an answer to prayer!

APPLICATION 

Have you put your security in your money, possession, or your own strength rather than the Lord?

PRAYER

Lord, You are our wealth and strength. Who have we in heaven but You? Besides You we desire nothing else. Amen. 
Post a Comment