Day One Hundred Six, II Sam. 21, 24, I Chron. 21-22, Psalm 30
Today's reading has some interesting events regarding the Lord's justice/punishment.
We are told there is a famine in the land based on the fact that Saul mistreated the people of Gibeon. These are the people that you may recall tricked the Israelites into making a treaty with them when they first entered into the promised land many, many years before. Because the Israelites did not inquire of the Lord, they were deceived into entering into a treaty to be allies with the Gibeonites.
However, because Saul was not faithful to the promise they had made--he tried to eradicate the Gibeonites--the Lord now--during the reign of David--brings a famine on the land. This, to me, seems to be a reminder that our sin can have lasting consequences. There may not seem to be any immediate danger associated with our sin, but rest assured, the danger is there.
Also, we see an example where David sins by taking a census of his army--relying on his own strength and the strength of his army, rather than the strength of his God. So the Lord gives him a choice of his punishment: 3 years of famine, 3 months of being devoured by the sword of your enemies, or 3 days of the Lord's wrath.
One thing that I've constantly been amazed at is David's trust in the Lord's mercy. I mentioned this earlier, when I wrote about the fact that David fasted, hoping that the Lord would be gracious and let his son live. This time, I look at David's choice, and to be honest, when I think of the Lord's wrath, I think of fire-and-brimstone, Sodom-and-Gomorrah-type punishment.
David's response? "I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men."
Today's reading ends with David's charge to Solomon to build the Lord's temple. There is also recorded a psalm he wrote for the dedication of the temple. In it, he includes these beautiful lines:
"Sing to the Lord, you saints of His;
Praise His holy name.
For His anger lasts only a moment,
But His favor lasts a lifetime;
Weeping may remain for a night,
But rejoicing comes in the morning."