Chronicles is not the first book of the Bible that comes to mind when I'm casting about for inspiration and direction from the Lord, but this God of ours, He has this way of showing over and again that His Word is living and active and does not conform to our preconceived notions.
And this week, He's been touching my Spirit deeply with His truth.
Like on Sunday.
I'm reading 1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30. Briefly, it captures a time of war for King David and the Israelites. A time when they are victorious. Ain't nothing going to bring these guys down with God on their side.
So, Satan decides to get into the act and tackle them from the inside. Specifically, in King David himself. The old Enemy suggests to David that it would be good idea for him to take census of Israel. This is a BIG no-no in God's eyes. And David knows it (though, familiarly, he realizes the greatness of his sin after the fact).
So what does God do? He gives David three choices of punishment and lets David decide which one to go with (I took notes on this parenting strategy ;) )
Here were the choices:
1. three years of famine
2. three months being overtaken by the swords of men
3. three days of plague from the Lord which would ravage every part of Israel
I paused here to reflect upon this choices and consider how I might decide were I in David's position. I'll pause here for you to. Think for a moment. What would you choose and why?
When you're through, skip below the picture to see my choice (and David's) revealed.
I went with #2. The three months of being beaten by my enemies. Three years of famine seemed too long to endure and three days of plague "ravaging every part of Israel" seemed too unpleasant. I figured the punishment fit the crime - as David, I had taken a census to see how large my army had grown, so I should be punished in this area too. And perhaps the innocents - women, children and men not of fighting age or ability would be spared.
Guess what David chose?
But his reason for that choice was what hit me hard.
He chose it because he would rather have fallen into God's hands than into man's. (verse 21:13)
Now that's convicting.
Deep down, I made my choice based on the familiarity with the ways of men rather than with the mercy of God. There still is part of me that fears Him. And not in the "how awesome and powerful and worthy of respect" kind of fear. I'm afraid of what He could do to me, would want to do to me, when I sin. I hold a belief that He wants to make me pay for my sins.
But it is wrong. So wrong. And I need this reminder daily. And if you need it too, here are some verses, balm for your wounded soul:
- There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18)
- God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:4-11) ... ever notice the similarity between discipline and disciple?
- Not to mention all those verses in the New Testament about Jesus paying for our sins Himself. Like this one and this one and this one and this too.
Oh, and David? How did he fair with his choice? You can read about it here. I think you'll be encouraged by what happens.
And I wonder, what did you choose and why?
Sharing with: thought-provoking thursday @ intentional.me