Monday, April 22, 2013

The Chronological Bible- Week 16

This week belongs to David. At the beginning of the week, David ascends to the throne over all Israel. By the end of the week, he'll be fighting to take it back from his own son Absalom. The timeline moves quickly when reading through chronologically!

In this span of seven days, it is amazing to me how the stories of David can have such a wide variation. Some of these stories reveal an amazing faith as David builds the kingdom for the glory of God. Turn the page, though, and other stories reveal David's humanity and sinfulness. The good and the bad juxtaposed by just a few pages, or at times just a few paragraphs.

By the end of his life, though, David will be remembered as a man after God's own heart. New Testament writers will look back and say, "there's someone who ran after God." I don't know about you, but this gives me hope. Perhaps in some ways like David, I find that the good and the bad can exist quite closely in my life- moments of great faith followed quickly by moments of selfishness and sin. If David could have his ups and down, his highs and lows, and still be called a man after God's own heart, then I think there is hope for the rest of us.

What it says to me that faith before God has less to do with our actions and behaviors than we might think. The condition of our heart matters more than the results of our choices. God can redeem all things, and looks more at what's happening inside of me than outside of me. I can be a man after His heart, even if I stumble along the way.

What are you learning this week? What stands out to you?

Read on!



Wendy said...

I think this is a week 17 comment, but I'll ask here, anyway...

In 2 Samuel 24:1 it talks about David harming Israel by taking a census. My question is: how does a census harm them? Clearly this is not like the census of today... Is this because it would make all people return to their homelands, which is hard?

Pastor Nick said...


Did the brief mention of this dilemma from the weekend's service help you at all?
Are you looking for more?

Wendy said...

I guess my issue isn't so much with the differing accounts of the motivation of the census, but why a census is a punishment of Israel in the first place. Why does David's ordering the census anger God? (to the point of killing thousands of people - which I do get was more normal at that time)Is this a counting issue - David getting a big head with how big his nation is? Is God punishing that? I just don't get how a census is something that is so drastically bad. Is the "harm" for Israel because God would turn and punish the act?

I'm not sure I am making any sense. Sorry.

Pastor Nick said...

That makes total sense Wendy. It is confusing, because in other places- Numbers and Joshua- God seems to command an accounting and numbering of the people. So why here is it such a big deal?

Here's some of the ideas/thoughts I have heard on this passage:
-God had given other specific instructions to the people/David at that time that are not written in Scripture. It's clear from Joab, the army commander's reaction, that it was widely known this was a bad idea. Maybe they had information we do not.
-David was counting the people like they belonged to him. He wasn't just seeing how many "people of God" existed in the land, but tallying up the size of his greatness.
-The census may have been more than counting. It may have included paying tribute, taxes, or some kind of dedication to David, in which case the census would have been akin to a form of idolatry in other neighboring countries.
Throughout the Old Testament, God seems to be harsh in punishment when it comes to idolatry or robbing His glory. The census may have done a little of both in the nation of Israel.

So, maybe those thoughts will get you going in that direction-