Ep. 111: Numbering the People

Equiping You to Share the Gospel of Christ

Ep. 111: Numbering the People

King David called for Joab and said, “Go throughout the land and number all the people.” He did this to see how big of an army he could build.
Joab knew this wasn’t God’s will for David. He said, “Don’t disobey the Lord. God will give you as many people as you need for any situation.” But David insisted, so Joab used his army to go to every part of Israel and count the people. When they were finished, he told David there were over 1,300,000 men who were able to go to war if needed.
After David heard this report, he knew the Lord wasn’t pleased that he had done this. He prayed, “Oh God, I’ve acted foolishly and sinned against you. Forgive my sin.”
The Lord sent a prophet to give David a message. “You’re to choose one of three punishments for this sin.
• a famine that will devastate the land three years,
• an invading army to whom you’ll lose battle after battle for three months,
• or an epidemic that will sweep across the land for three days.”
David said, “All three of these terrify me! Still, I choose to suffer under the hand of God, rather than at the hands of men. I know the Lord is merciful.”
So God sent the angel of the Lord, who swept across the land with a severe epidemic. 70,000 men died! The angel then focused on Jerusalem. As death came upon the city, God said, “Stop! It’s enough!”
The angel immediately stopped. He was over a threshing floor owned by a Jebusite named Ornan. It was the exact place where Abraham had offered his son to the Lord.
David looked up and saw the angel holding a sword stretched out over the city. Ornan also saw the angel so he ran and hid.
David fell down with his face to the ground. “Oh Lord, I’m the one who sinned! Not these people. They’re like sheep. What have they done? Punish me and my family.”
The prophet walked up to David with a message from God. “Build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor.” David immediately walked toward it. When Ornan saw this, he ran to the king and bowed down.
David said, “Sell me your threshing floor, so I can build an altar to the Lord. Then he will hold back the plague from the people. I’ll pay you full price for it.”
Ornan said, “Oh King, I’ll give it to you. Please take it and build your altar. Use my oxen for the burnt offering, and use my wood for the fire. I give it all. I trust the Lord will hear you.”
David said, “No my friend, I’ll buy it all at full price. I won’t sacrifice to the Lord using that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor, the oxen, and the wood. He then built the altar and sacrificed to the Lord.
God heard David’s prayer and sent fire from heaven to burn up the offering. He then commanded the angel, “Put away your sword!” With that, the epidemic was over.
From that day on, David used that altar whenever he sacrificed to God. He said, “This is the house of the Lord.”
Then he organized people and bought materials that were needed for building the Temple. Years later, Solomon built the Temple of the Lord at that very place.

 

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