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KING DAVID SINS AND THE PEOPLE SUFFER PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jim Jordal   
Tuesday, 29 December 2015

 

 

 

KING DAVID SINS AND THE PEOPLE SUFFER 

By Jim Jordal

First Chronicles chapter 21 reveals the story of how King David, against the reasoning of his advisors and the expressed will of God, ordered a national census to determine his military strength. God, displeased with this evidence of faithlessness, sent the seer Gad to confront the king with his sin. David humbly admitted his sin and asked forgiveness, whereupon Gad offered him three choices of punishment: three years of famine, three months of defeat before their enemies, or three days of pestilence under the hand of an angel. David wisely chose to suffer under the more merciful hand of God than that of men. So the pestilence killed 70,000 men. To complete his penitence, David sought to buy land and materials for a sacrificial offering from a man named Ornan, who offered the land for free. But David refused, saying, “I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

It's an unfortunate fact that when political leaders sin it's their people, not themselves, who generally suffer.  Errant political decisions result in war, revolution, famine, disease and untold suffering for people who had no part in the decision-making process.  It's therefore vitally important that Americans inform themselves regarding the political arena and take time to act appropriately.

King David’s sin in the passage above consisted of conducting a census to determine his military strength due to his fear that trusting simply in God might not be enough to protect the nation against its enemies.

Notice that it was the people who suffered because of their leader’s sin. Some 70,000 died of disease at the hand of an angel after David wisely chose affliction under the hand of God rather than the cruel whims of man. No doubt the punishment would have been worse had David elected one of the other two choices. But again, no matter what the choice of punishment, the people still bear the cost of their leader’s mistakes.

This principle is evident throughout human history. Consider the vast numbers of people killed in wars fought over nothing more than a leader’s vanity and greed. Think of the 20 million Germans killed defending a megalomaniac dictator named Adolph Hitler. And suffer with the soldiers killed and the trillion dollars spent over the last decade in the Middle East over wars instigated by leaders dependent upon poor intelligence and faulty communications.

Because of the awful costs borne by a nation’s people when their political leaders act in ignorance of God’s word and will, it is vital that we return to what God says concerning our selection and support of national leaders. But how can we do this when so many conflicting voices use the separation of church and state shibboleth to discredit any use of biblical ethical standards in the public arena? For any prominent politician to claim allegiance to Divine moral and ethical standards is to invite attack from all sides. Even well-meaning but misguided Christians will take up the chant, "Why is your view of God’s will any better than anyone else’s?"

That’s pretty loose thinking, because if God agreed with all positions relative to His word, there could be no definitive standards of right and wrong. Where would our system of jurisprudence be without clear ethical standards? What would happen to public decency if no clear guidelines existed? Who could be protected from the criminal acts of others?

God’s view is that righteous civil administration will protect people from oppression, exploitation, and violence. That’s a long way from what happened under David at that particular time in Israel’s history. Overall, however, David turned out to be very successful in leading God’s people, since he had character enough to confess and forsake his sin, and even to offer himself as a sacrifice for the people.

Would to God we had civil leaders today willing to subordinate their thirst for power and influence to the will of God and the welfare of the people. But have heart, it won’t be too long until this begins to occur.