Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
415 N. Mill Street   •   London, KY 40741   •   606-878-6108




    Special Series

    Bible Classes

    Q & A


A Choice To Make

We find recorded in 1 Chronicles 21:1 “And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel”. And so David sent Joab and his captains to go out throughout the land and number the people. Joab and his captains then spent nine months and twenty days taking the census of Israel and came back with the report to King David. But soon after David’s conscience smote him and he was convicted of his wrong doing in this matter. 2 Samuel 24:10 records “And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people”. We find that this was in fact displeasing unto God in 1 Chronicles 21:7. David prayed unto God proclaiming that he had sinned greatly and that what he had done was very foolish and pleaded with God to take away his iniquity which he had done. God could have remitted David’s trespass right then and there but the lesson for David to learn was that there are consequences to sin that the guilty party must face. God sent Gad to David with a message giving David a choice to make concerning his penalty for what he had done. Three choices were offered to David- 1) 7 years of famine; 2) 3 months fleeing from enemies and 3) 3 days pestilence in the land. Whatever pride David had in his relishing of the number of people in his kingdom and his one million three hundred thousand valiant men just left him because as David stated “I am in a great strait”. Seven years of famine would decimate the people of the land and the innocent would suffer greatly because of David’s action. The loss of life would be great due to the famine of which God would send. Three months fleeing from his enemies would be hard for David to bear. David had already fled from Saul for years and recently fled from Absalom and now the possibility of fleeing for three months would be hard for David. David chose the three days of pestilence in the land, the sword of the Lord by the hand of the angel destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. David made his choice preferring to fall into God’s hands whose mercies are great instead of the hands of man who show no mercy. Even though it was just a short three days 70,000 men perished from Dan to Beersheba before the Lord stopped the angel in staying his hand of destruction before Jerusalem. David saw the angel of the Lord standing between the earth and the heaven having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. David and the elders of Israel who were mourning in sackcloth fell upon their faces and David accepted the full responsibility of his sin. “David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? Even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed, but as for these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me and on my father’s house; but not on thy people that they should be plagued” (1 Chronicles 21:17). David was instructed to set up an altar in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite and after David built the altar and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings calling upon the Lord that God answered David from heaven by bringing fire upon the altar of burnt offering. “And the Lord commanded the angel and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.” David learnt a valuable lesson in having to make a choice in regards to his penalty for his sin.


- Larry Bumgardner