每日诗歌: 恩典之路 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q444bzsehU)
2 Samuel 23 [Read]
2 Samuel 24 [Read]
Luke 22:31-53 [Read]
A first-time Bible reader will inevitably have many questions reading the end of 2 Samuel, and even seasoned Christians may still wonder about some parts. Some questions have answer, but some will best be left unanswered till we see the Lord.
The opening verse immediately causes problem. Why was the LORD angry with Israel again? We don’t know. However, we should not be surprised considering the track record of Israel: “You have been rebellious against the LORD ever since I have known you” (Dt 9:24). But how can the LORD incite David to sin and then punish him for that? The answer requires us to understand the mentality of the human author. For a Hebrew at his time, God was sovereign over all creatures. The first chapter of Job illustrates that perfectly. Though 1Ch 21:1 tells us that it was Satan who did the provocation, it was still allowed by God. Although God may allow Satan to tempt, it was David’s decision to sin by succumbing to temptation. Evil can tempt us, but it cannot make us sin. Only human can sin, for sin roots in the intention.
What was wrong with taking a census? The response of Joab provides some hint (24:3). David wanted to know how many people he had, so he might see (24:3) and gloat. It’s an issue of pride. After ruling a nation for so long and having unknown people coming to serve him (22:44-45), David was at a slippery slope of pride. The incitement of Satan was enough to push him over the edge. However, the admirable quality of David also showed in his sincere repentance (24:10), and the LORD forgave him again but with deserved consequences. To me, that’s actually encouraging for God’s grace is always available to those who seek it.
Finally, why did the author include this episode anyway? 2Ch 3:1 provides the answer (note the name change for the threshing floor in 1&2 Chronicle). This specific place was the location for Solomon’s temple, for it was there the LORD showed his mercy towards his people (24:16). It is a divine touch to put this chapter at the end of the books describing David’s life. It shows that regardless how much David had suffered or achieved, his path always dripped with the fatness of divine grace (Ps 65:11). The 1&2 Samuel begins with God’s grace to Hanna, and it ends with God’s grace to David and his people. It is indeed from grace to grace.
We have finished 1/3 of the year. Keep on reading.