The Infliction and Removal of the Judgment Upon David for Numbering the People
2 Samuel 24:25
And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was entreated for the land…

These words record the removal of a terrible visitation sent from Heaven on the people of Israel. The circumstances connected with that Divine judgment, and the means by which its terrors were ended, are replete with the most valuable instruction. And therefore choose thee one of these three things — "Shall three years of famine come unto thee in thy land? Or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? Or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? Now advise thee what answer I shall give to Him that sent me." How forcibly does this part of our subject teach us the great danger of engaging in any scheme or course of action upon which we cannot ask the blessing of God! How carefully ought we to examine and weigh by the balance of the sanctuary, the motives by which we are actuated! How easily can God crush our most favourite plans and blight our dearest hopes, and punish our forgetfulness of Him, and dependence on our own strength, by turning those very things upon which our hearts were most bent, into sources of the bitterest anguish and the most humiliating mortification! Thus a man will often set his heart upon riches, and worship Mammon rather than God; and those riches are taken away from him after they have been for awhile possessed in abundance — a deprivation, which makes poverty far bitterer than ever it was before; or while actually possessed, they in various ways cause him troubles and sorrows more intolerable than any that fall to the lot of the poor.

1. The great danger of prosperity, and the folly of coveting riches and honours as the chief good.

2. The deceitful nature and the terrible consequences of sin. David's heart smote him after, not before, he had numbered the people. This is Satan's method of dealing with his prey, and this is the way he succeeds in beguiling men to ruin. He blinds the eye to the guilt, until the evil deed is done. How deeply is this felt by the penitent, when brought to loathe himself for his iniquity! What a sting is left behind by sin, though it may have been committed with very little alarm, and with scarcely any sense of its malignant nature! What a picture is displayed in this history of sin's terrible consequences — the angel of God running to and fro through the land with the sword of vengeance, and slaying seventy thousand men in less than three days! How it exhibits the Almighty's resolve not to let iniquity go unpunished!

3. The great and invaluable efficacy of the sacrifice of the death of Christ. The Almighty God, who is "angry with the wicked every day," and who has declared that all the nations that forget Him shall be turned into hell, has, nevertheless, made with them who believe in Christ, "a covenant well ordered in all things and sure," and, in that covenant, we have a Divine promise made, and the Divine veracity pledged, that they shall never perish, who rest their hopes on the offered propitiation.

4. The importance of promptitude in applying for mercy, and in deprecating the Divine wrath through the appointed sacrifice.

5. Finally, learn hence the duty of activity, liberality in the service of God, and for the benefit of your fellow sinners. It is a Scriptural precept — "Honour the Lord with thy substance." He who has a religion which costs him nothing has a religion that is worth nothing.

(H. Hughes, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

WEB: David built an altar to Yahweh there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So Yahweh was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

The Destroying Angel Arrested
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