DayBreaks for 11/03/14 – The Plea of A Broken-Hearted King
2 Samuel 24:15-17 (NLT) So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. But as the angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel, he said to the LORD, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family.”
David was at the end of his reign and life when he rashly counted the children of Israel. While we don’t know his motive for doing so, one could assume that it was because he was proud of the size of his army and it caused him to be confident in the strength and numbers of his soldiers, not in the favor of God.
God had explicitly said that the kings should not number the people. God was not pleased with David and gave him the choice through the prophet Gad, as to the punishment that would be meted out: three years’ famine, three months of being pursued by enemies or three days of plague. David chose to trust in the mercy of the Lord rather than the other options so he chose the three days of plague.
The price of David’s sin was great: seventy thousand died in the plague. David was shattered, and makes the plea: I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep – what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family. These are the words of a broken heart, a man deeply repentant. But here’s the thing that is easy to miss: David sees the people of Israel as innocent sheep…and he begs for their shepherd (himself, the king) to be the one who is stricken in their place.
David, of course, had no way of knowing how prophetic his words would be. In Matthew 26:31, Jesus applied this to himself, telling his followers that on that very night the Shepherd (Jesus) would be stricken rather than the sheep (the people) being slaughtered.
Jesus asked God to let him be smitten rather than Him striking you and I. He was willing to accept the punishment himself rather than the “sheep” having to bear it.
I wonder if I would have had the faith and courage of David if I had been in his place.
PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for being willing to be stricken so the “sheep” could be spared. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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