In chapter 24 we read of David's sin in numbering the people. This is another example of God permitting Satan to work so that the purposes of the Lord might be fulfilled.
It was probably pride that lay behind David's desire to number the people. He had won a number of great victories and perhaps wanted to bask in the glory of his success. There was certainly nothing wrong with a census, since the people had often been numbered during the national history, but we must keep in mind that a census that praised man would never glorify God. The factor to be considered here is Exodus 30:11-16. In connection with a census, there was always the matter of redemption money that was to be given by each one numbered. A silver shekel was a reminder that they were the Lord's purchased possessions. Exodus 30:12 warns that God would plague the nation and thin out the ranks if the people ignored their redemption money. We will notice that this is exactly what happened.
David realizes his sin in numbering the people and confesses the sin to the Lord, but his conviction and repentance came too late. God did permit David to choose his own discipline, and his choice showed the love and faith of his heart. He chose to fall into the hands of the merciful Lord, rather than into the hands of men. From the morning until the evening God's angel came again to plague the people, and in one day's time 70,000 Jews were slain. David cried out for the people and desired that God's hand be against him. However, we must remember that God had a definite cause against the entire nation (chapter 24:1) and was using David's sin as an opportunity to judge the entire nation.
I Kings 1 begins the study of the life and reign of Solomon, David's son, and successor to the throne of Israel. In David we had a type of Christ in His humiliation, exile, and rejection; but in Solomon we see the Prince of Peace (the name Solomon means "peaceable") reigning in glory and splendor over His people. David made the conquests that enabled Solomon to live and reign in peace and prosperity.
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