2 Samuel 24:1-25: God give us ears to hear the Lord's forgiveness and salvation
The books of Samuel end with another sin of David, one that is as severe in its consequences as his sin with Bathsheba. David decides to have a census and number his fighting men. We are not told why this displeases the Lord, perhaps it shows David trusted more in the size of his army than he did in the power of God. Joab, of all people, warns David against this action, but the king insists.
When Joab reports the number of fighters, David’s conscience immediately leads him to confess his sin and ask forgiveness of God. The Lord sends the prophet Gad to David with three choices of punishment—three years of famine, three months of war, or three days of plague. Trusting the Lord’s mercy, David chooses plague directly from God, instead of punishment through men. Seventy thousand Israelites die in the plague, and just as the angel of death gets ready to strike Jerusalem, the Lord stays his hand.
The angel had stopped at the threshing floor of Araunah. David buys the threshing floor, erects an altar there, and offers sacrifice to God in order to stop the plague. God hears his prayer. This later would be the site of the temple built by Solomon (2 Chronicles 3:1).
Thus the books of Samuel end as they began. As God heard the prayer of Hannah for a child, so he hears the prayer of David for forgiveness and deliverance. We serve a God who listens. We serve a God who speaks. The question Samuel raises for his original readers and for us is “Will we listen to the voice of God?” May God give us ears to hear and hearts to obey.
God of love, may we trust your mercy even in punishment.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.