Israel had become a powerful nation. David had been elevated by the Lord to a great place of responsibility. As a result, David and the people became proud. David had forgotten that all the glory of the nation had come from the Lord. The lust of the flesh had led David to commit an awful sin with Bathsheba. Now, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life have urged him to number the people and glory in his greatness.
David's sin was not in numbering the people. His sin was the motive which led him to number the people. His only purpose for numbering the people was to glory in himself. God never allows this. The Lord sent the pestilence. The whole nation of Israel paid for David's sin. This is a principle of life which cannot be escaped. Whenever a Christian sins other people are always hurt. "No man liveth unto himself." I recently heard an alcoholic say, "All the harm I do, I do to myself." This is not true. When a man sins, he hurts his wife and children. He hurts the society in which he lives. He grieves the Lord. He damages his own body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
God's grace is greater than all our sin. When David and the elders of Israel fell upon their faces in genuine repentance, God gave deliverance. The Lord instructed them to make a sacrifice on Ornan's threshing-floor. God accepted the sacrifice because it was made according to His Word. The judgment upon the people ceased.
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