First Week in Lent, Monday, March 7, 2022
1 Chronicles 21:1-17
Satan was against Israel, and caused David to count the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count all the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then tell me so I will know how many there are.”
But Joab said, “May the Lord give the nation a hundred times more people. My master the king, all the Israelites are your servants. Why do you want to do this, my master? You will make Israel guilty of sin.”
But the king commanded Joab, so Joab left and went through all Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem. Joab gave the list of the people to David. There were one million one hundred thousand men in all of Israel who could use the sword, and there were four hundred seventy thousand men in Judah who could use the sword. But Joab did not count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, because he didn’t like King David’s order. David had done something God had said was wrong, so God punished Israel.
Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by what I have done! Now, I beg you to forgive me, your servant, because I have been very foolish.”
The Lord said to Gad, who was David’s seer, “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I offer you three choices. Choose one of them and I will do it.’”
So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Choose for yourself three years of hunger. Or choose three months of running from your enemies as they chase you with their swords. Or choose three days of punishment from the Lord, in which a terrible disease will spread through the country. The angel of the Lord will go through Israel destroying the people.’ Now, David, decide which of these things I should tell the Lord who sent me.”
David said to Gad, “I am in great trouble. Let the Lord punish me, because the Lord is very merciful. Don’t let my punishment come from human beings.”
So the Lord sent a terrible disease on Israel, and seventy thousand people died. God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem, but when the angel started to destroy it, the Lord saw it and felt very sorry about the terrible things that had happened. So [God] said to the angel who was destroying, “That is enough! Put down your arm!” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord in the sky, holding his sword drawn and pointed at Jerusalem. Then David and the elders bowed facedown on the ground. They were wearing rough cloth to show their grief. David said to God, “I am the one who sinned and did wrong. I gave the order for the people to be counted. These people only followed me like sheep. They did nothing wrong. Lord my God, please punish me and my family, but stop the terrible disease that is killing your people.”
(New Century Version (NCV))
Loving Divine Family,
We enter your sacred prayer space in our human condition. We know you intimately; you have walked with us in the wilderness. But we see the conditions and circumstances around us and want to take matters into our own hands. Even when wise Elders caution us, we dig in our heels and do our own thing. But you, LORD, have other plans whether we are with you or not.
Loving Abba Father, on this threshing floor we cannot hide from your mercy. We confess we have not followed your instructions. We have not listened to wise counsel, and we have done things our own way causing painful consequences for ourselves and others. Thank you, Loving, Merciful God, for calling us to return to your loving arms and to return to you. Thank you for your love, forgiveness, and mercy.
I seek your sovereign guidance in my life today, LORD, and thank you for…
Your ways are true and final, Yahweh. Break our bows and shatter our spears. May humanity return to you and beg your mercy. As for us, we rise together in reverence of you and sing together, “Come see the ways of the LORD. The LORD of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Thanks be to God!”
With joy, we praise you!
Cherie and Donovan Mutschler