Friday, November 19, 2021

2021.11.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 24:11–16

Read 2 Samuel 24:11–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What is David doing when in 2 Samuel 24:11? But what comes to whom else? What instruction is Gad to give him (2 Samuel 24:12)? What three options is he to offer (2 Samuel 24:3)? What does David say about himself in 2 Samuel 24:14? What does he choose? Why? What does he not wish to happen? What does Yahweh send (2 Samuel 24:15)? Until when? How many died? What was the Angel about to do at the appointed time (2 Samuel 24:16)? And what does Yahweh do? What does He say? Where was the Angel of Yahweh at this point? Whom does David now see (2 Samuel 24:17)? To Whom does he speak? What does he say about himself? What does he say about the people? For what does he ask? 

As this chapter takes us toward the selection of the location for the altar and the temple, it holds before us the God Who is merciful to sinners.

His Word meets us in our guilt, 2 Samuel 24:11. David’s heart has already smitten him (2 Samuel 24:10). That’s a horrible place to be as a believer. But God is merciful and doesn’t leave His servant stewing long in that condition. He sends the prophet in 2 Samuel 24:11. We needn’t stew long either. We may read and meditate upon Scripture about Christ’s atonement for us. We are never more than six days away from gathering into glory through the risen Redeemer. The God Who was providing Israel with the temple that would point forward to Christ and His sacrifice was displaying His mercy here by engaging His guilty servant.

Even His discipline comes graciously, 2 Samuel 24:12-13. When Gad arrives, not only has the Lord’s Word engaged His servant, but it does so surprisingly. David is given the option of how God would respond. God already knows, of course, what He is going to do. But by coming to it in this way, He displays condescension and mercy—stooping down to a level of interaction to which the sinful creature has no claim. But the Lord gives it by His grace. 

Dear believer, when God listens to your praying, when He puts His words in your mouth in your singing, when He gives you fellowship with Himself in the Supper… how marvelous it is that the holy God stoops down to engage you and be engaged by You! And here we see that this holds true even in His discipline (cf. Hebrews 12:5–9).

When suffering for our sin, we may still hope in His character, 2 Samuel 24:14-16. It seems that David is happy with almost any of the options, just as long as man and his cruelty are kept out of the equation. This leaves options one and three, famine and plague. 

The LORD chooses the shortest one (plague, 2 Samuel 24:15), and 70,000 Israelites are quickly wiped out. That’s roughly 5% of the number of fighting men from the census (though the plague doesn’t seem to be limited to fighting men). 

The big story of the plague, however, is that David’s hope about the Lord “His mercies are great” (2 Samuel 24:14) proves true. “Yahweh relented from the destruction” (2 Samuel 24:16). This is the story not only of the plague, but really of the temple and of all human history. We completely deserve His wrath, but He is pleased to display His character in saving us through Christ and His atonement.

Dear Christian, the same character of God displayed in the cross of Christ is on display in His dealings with you. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you can count on Him to be surprising in His gentleness and mercy!

In what situations has the Lord surprised you with how mercifully it turned out? What aspect of His character does this display? What is the greatest display of this?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, how marvelous is your stooping down to us. You made us in Your own image. You gave us to know You and enjoy You. You promised salvation and provided atonement. You bend down Your ear to hear us. You give us to have fellowship with You. Even in Your discipline, You are gentle and patient, and You engage us in fatherly love. Forgive us for how little we take advantage of our access to You and how unthinkingly and unfeelingly we often are when we do engage You. Grant that Your Spirit would bless unto us this study of Your Word that we might know You and Your love, and be full of worship and love unto You, which we ask through Christ, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH450 “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”


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