April 28, 2020
"David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the Lord was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel." (2 Samuel 24:23)
In human history there are always constant waves of sin and obedience, blessing and judgment. King David had known an incredible 40 years as a leader who ruled in the fear of God and with great humility. Correspondingly, God had granted the Israelites four decades of blessing and victory against their enemies.
ROBBING GOD’S GLORY
But we are never immune to temptation and sin. In a rare moment of unbridled pride, David wanted to number the people so that "I may know the number of the people." (Notice the "I"). There is nothing wrong with counting and recounting what God has done and using it to glorify God. But this act was driven by pride, which steals glory from God. God had blessed them, but now David seeks to take credit for this blessing himself.
His loyal warrior Joab warned him because he sensed David had a "delight in this thing." Uncharacteristically, David ignored Joab's counsel and forged ahead.
EXPERIENCING GOD’S JUDGMENT AND MERCY
The result was God's judgment against both King and people. God moved through the land and 70,000 people perished in three days. Finally David erects an altar to cry out to God for mercy in His judgment and then "the Lord was moved by prayer for the land."
Here is a great principle: the Lord is strong and complete in His judgments but is moved by humble petition of His children. And, He is full of mercy when called upon.
Don’t miss the reality of these truths about our never-changing God. We are in the same condition. Filled with our own pride, we are right now under the remedial judgment of God across our nation and our world. God has stopped us in our tracks so we could understand the magnitude of where we are and how far we have wandered from Him.
But will the Lord find us as men and women—and even leaders—who will admit our sin, humble ourselves, and cry out for God's mercy? Or will we move forward in unrelenting pride? If we turn and pray, He has promised to hear and heal.
It’s time to build an altar of fresh repentance and humble surrender to the Lord. It’s time to pray for the land.
Father, you know our sins, which are great. Lord, we pray for a deep wave of repentance in the church that will move across our land. Spare nothing with your all-seeing eye. Show us where we have sinned against You. Reveal things that we explain away in our pride or callousness. And burden our hearts, like David, until we come with a fresh offering of our lives to you! And then, Lord, unleash the church to proclaim the gospel with boldness, and move across the land to sweep millions into your kingdom. May the gospel be almighty and carry everything before it.
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