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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: May 19th
“Let us fall now into the hands of the Lord.”
2 Samuel 24:1-4 , 2 Samuel 24:9-15
After many trials, David again enjoyed a period of repose, but his leisure again proved a temptation to him, and he resolved to form an estimate of his own greatness that he might have whereof to glory.
2 Samuel 24:1
In the Book of Chronicles, Satan is said to have provoked David to this deed, and so indeed he did, and thus the moral evil of the action belongs to the tempter and his ready victim; but the writer of the present passage saw the hand of the Lord in it, using the sin of David as the means of punishing the sins of the people. Both statements are true, and there is no need to attempt a reconciliation, since one truth must agree with another whether we see it or not.
2 Samuel 24:2 , 2 Samuel 24:3
Joab was not only right, but courteous on this occasion. He knew that the people would judge that either a new taxation or a conscription was on foot, and they would become uneasy and rebellious, therefore he thought it unwise. According to the law of Moses, a piece of money as a sin-offering was to be offered by every Israelite when the tribes were counted, but this was neglected. Moses numbered the people at God’s bidding, considering them to be the Lord’s people, but David counted them at his own will, as if they were his own. people, and this the Lord would not endure.
2 Samuel 24:10
That which he looked upon as ground for boasting became reason for humiliation. His army of a million and a quarter of warriors gave him no joy, for he had grieved his God.
2 Samuel 24:10
Grace was in him, and when it came to the front, he was ready enough to mourn his error. O for the like tenderness of conscience!
2 Samuel 24:11 , 2 Samuel 24:12
Plain David, not David my servant, as it had formerly been. If we walk contrary to God, he will show himself contrary to us
2 Samuel 24:14
He had a hard alternative, but his choice was wise, and it showed that with all his wanderings he had a sound and loving trust in the Lord his God. A child of God feels always safest in his Fathers hands.
O that my chastened heart may smite
And make me inly groan,
Whene’er I vainly take delight
In aught I call my own.
Harden’d by sin’s deceitfulness
O may I never be,
But miss my comfort and my peace,
Whene’er I turn from thee.
“It is enough: stay now Thine hand.”
2 Samuel 24:16-25
Of that great population, in whose number David had sought food for his pride, the plague swept away seventy thousand men.
2 Samuel 24:16
The angel of pestilence, appearing in visible shape, added a special terror to the judgment. Solemn must have been the state of men’s minds as they saw the destroyer unsheathe his sword to smite the capital city of the empire.
2 Samuel 24:17
Was not this well and bravely spoken? Like a true patriot the king is moved by the woes of his subjects, and, like the father of his country, he would sooner perish himself than see Israel smitten. These people had often acted like wolves to him, but he forgot all their injuries and calls them sheep; they had been guilty of a thousand sins, but, in his zeal for them, he makes himself out to be a far greater sinner, and would have the bolts of vengeance spend themselves upon him and his. Even thus does “that Great Shepherd of the sheep” interpose between the destroying angel and his own redeemed. “If ye seek me,” saith he, “let these go their way.”
2 Samuel 24:18
On that very spot where the angel held the knife of Abraham from killing his son, there God restrained the sword of the angel from destroying his people.
2 Samuel 24:18-24
Here two bountiful spirits entered into holy competition, and one hardly knows which to admire most. True devotion is never niggardly: to godly men that service of God tastes sweetest which costs them most. Nothing is dear enough to give to God; expense is not to be reckoned when the gift is for him. We would not be as those who only bring to God what they can collect from other people. Our gifts shall be from our own store.
2 Samuel 24:25
Thus was the site of the temple marked out in a very special manner. Zion, the church of God, of which the temple was the type, is founded on the hill of sacrifice; it is a monument in praise of sparing mercy; and there the sword of justice is for ever sheathed. Have we come unto mount Zion? Are we resting upon the precious blood of sprinkling? These are grave questions, which it behoves each one to answer on his own account as before the great heartsearching God.
The Lord beheld the sacrifice
There to be offer’d once for all,
He heard his Son’s expiring cries
For mercy and forgiveness call.
It is enough our lives he spares,
For Jesus, our Atonement, died,
He sheathes the sword; he hears our prayers;
His justice now is satisfied.
the Sixth Week after Easter
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