In my previous five articles in this series that I have titled “The Science of Judgment,” I have given many examples of nations experiencing “The Full Cup of Iniquity Rule.” Every nation that has suffered the fate of judgment has done so because of the leadership within that particular nation. In today’s article, I want us to take a closer look at King David and how David’s last recorded sin brought judgment on the people of Israel.

I Chronicles 21:1-30 1And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 2And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.

In the first two verses we read how it was Satan who tempted David to number Israel, not God. Dear Saint, you and I must always remember that as Christians we are slaves to Jesus Christ. Consequently, we are to only be led by the Holy Spirit. Whenever we disregard the Holy Spirit directing our lives, we will make mistakes. When we obey Satan, we sin. David here obeyed Satan! David sinned!

3And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?

Here we see Joab’s faithful protest. Joab could have used discernment and felt strongly enough to advise King David not to count the men; but in any event, he followed his conscience and warned his superior. This is a good example for all of us that we need to take careful consideration when we get advice from other people to weigh the matter before God and make sure that we are correct before going ahead with our plans. In this instance King David ignored Godly counsel.

4Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. 5And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. 6But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. 7And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.

As I mentioned earlier commenting on verses 1-2, David sinned because he obeyed Satan’s impressions. We can only speculate why this act of numbering was a sin. Perhaps David had visions of grandeur and was hoping to enlarge his empire out of pure pride and ego and God decided to stop his servant. Whatever God knew, being omniscient about David’s true intent and motive for numbering Israel, was enough for God to correct His servant. Again, we all should be reminded that God judges the heart (1 Chronicles 28:9).

8And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

Here in verse 8, we read how David intuitively knew that he had sinned and that God had brought problems to the nation of Israel because of his sin. This verse tells us that David had a very intimate relationship with God. He knew the laws of God by studying the Scriptures. He realized that now God “smote” Israel because he listened to Satan. He had violated the commandment of the Lord to have no other God but Jehovah. This verse should also be a lesson to all nations that God holds them responsible for what they allow their leaders to do. The leaders of America are holding only the leaders of Iraq accountable for their threats and actions against America, but God holds the entire nation responsible and judges the nation. This is why The United States will never be able to win wars against the nations of the world without suffering needless casualties. The mentality of our leaders is not the mentality or way of God. This also explains our continual rise in crime, etc. The good point of King David is his constant willingness to immediately repent when he was convicted of his sins.

9And the LORD spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. 11So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee 12Either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me.

As I mentioned, David knew that he had sinned. He knew he had listened to the voice of Satan and obeyed him instead of Jehovah. David had the type of intimacy with God that he knew that he blew it and what he now needed to do was repent. That is why the Scriptures testify that “David was a man after God’s heart” (Acts 13:22). Within one day of David repenting, God sent David His answer through the prophet Gad. God tells David the three choices that He is offering David as a consequence (punishment) for his sin! As I mentioned in article five, when a person violates God’s clearly defined laws, God rebukes and finally chastises the offender(s). Chastisement could include punishment even though repentance has taken place. David, having a relationship with God developed through studying the Scriptures (which include meditation, prayer and fasting), knew that God was merciful and chose to commit his fate into the hands of God, instead of man.

13And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man. 14So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.

Now remember, David had confessed and repented to God for his sin of listening and obeying the advice of Satan. Yet, God judged David. I believe that David knew better. He had committed several very serious sins earlier in his life and should not have committed this one. People, we must always remember that there are consequences for our disobedience even though God forgives. The Bible tells us “what a man sows he reaps.” (Galatians 6:7). Previously, God had forgiven David of adultery and murder even though David reaped the consequences of that adulterous relationship when the resulting baby died. Additionally, one of his daughters was raped by her brother and one of his sons conspired and led a rebellion against his own father for leadership of the nation of Israel. Out of that attempted coup, David’s son Absalom was killed. So David had previously experienced the consequences of deliberately sinning and still he obeyed Satan. The Lord used an intelligent agent, an angel, to bring the pestilence upon Israel wherein 70,000 men died.

15And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17And 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.

Here we see that God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem, and upon knowing of David’s heart of repentance and willingness to accept total responsibility, changed his mind of further judgment. Whenever we truly repent, accepting all the blame instead of putting the blame on our parents or society, etc., God will truly accept our repentance and recognize that further judgment is not needed to get our attention. What a difference between King David and King Saul. Saul continuously would shift the blame onto others. Saul tried to blame Samuel as well as the people but God would not accept his irresponsibility, which really exposed his lack of repentance. Consequently, God did not forgive Saul but removed His anointing upon his life and transferred his blessings onto David. These blessings were maintained because David continued to accept the blame for his sins throughout his life when he committed them. What a lesson for all of us to learn. We see that David literally saw the angel of the Lord that was destroying Israel. It is noteworthy to recall that in 2 Chronicles 32:21 and Isaiah 37:36, that one angel killed 185,000 men of war. So when we have a guardian angel we have a lot of protection. That should ease our minds because judgment is surely coming upon America. And, we are assured of God’s ability to protect us in whatever country he sends us to in serving Him. Once again we see God judging the entire nation for David’s personal sin even though David tried to prevent it by accepting the blame. Nations are held accountable by God for the sins of their leaders because the people themselves are guilty for electing their leaders or for tolerating them to continue to lead them without removing them. The nation of Iraq itself is also guilty of their leaders’ sins, not just their previous leaders. America is not recognizing that reality because America is in self-deception due to its backslidden condition. America is no longer living as a Christian nation but a secular nation and America is fighting its own battles without seeking Jesus for His direction or intervention. It is also important to note that not only did David himself repent but that the entire leadership of Israel, the elders, “were clothed in sackcloth”. Whenever a nation’s leadership repents, God will honor it as He did when Ninevah’s leadership repented (Jonah 3:10).

18Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD. 20And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. 22Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.

We can see where David spoke directly to God as all men do who have intimate relationship with Him. God directs the angel to communicate to the prophet Gad to tell David God’s instructions. Some people will ask, “why did not God tell David directly that He wanted David to ‘set set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite’.” Always remember that when we sin, we break good communication with God as did Adam in the garden. If you want constant communication with God through the Holy Spirit, then stay away from intentional sin.

23And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. 24And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. 25So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. 26And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. 27And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.

Note that in verse 20 Ornan also saw the angel of death. We see that Ornan himself was afraid because he and his four sons hid themselves. Ornan was very willing to stop the plague by giving to David the field and providing the sacrifices needed. Also remember in 2 Samuel 5:6-12, that Ornan was one of the Jebusites that David had conquered when he took Jeruselem and made it his capital. According to the laws of conquest given to Israel, David could have driven out every Jebusite from the land or killed them, so this could be another reason why Ornan might have been so willing to give David the land as well as provide the sacrifices. Always remember that when we show mercy we receive mercy!

Note that even though Ornan wanted to give David the land and provide the sacrifices, David knew that he himself needed to personally provide the sacrifice. The Lord does not want other people to sacrifice on your account. The Lord wants each one of us to make our lives a living sacrifice. We must have our own faith and we must live by that faith. When the Lord saw that David had obeyed his instructions relayed to him through the angel to the prophet Gad and then from Gad to himself, God ordered the angel to stop the execution of judgment.

28At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 29For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. 30But David could not go before it to enquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.

According to Dakes Annotated Reference Bible, “When David saw that God answered him by fire from heaven and that the angel stayed his hand at this place, he decided to make it the temple site and offer sacrifices here. The tabernacle that Moses made was still in Gibeon; it had not been totally destroyed by the Philistines when they captured the ark as in 1 Samuel 5. By this time it was over 620 years old. A long time for the linen and other materials to last, if such was the case. It may be that some of the cloth and skins of the original tabernacle had been replaced by this time. The idea in this verse is that David was afraid to go to Gibeon to inquire of the Lord lest the angel begin again to destroy the people; that is, he thought he should hasten now to make sacrifices so that the angel would discontinue his slaughter of the people. If he took time to go to Gibeon it might be too late to save them after that” (p 443).

Dear Brother and Sister, David’s attitude should constantly be ours. We must be quick to repent and go to the Lord to ask of Him why different events and circumstances have been allowed to happen in our lives. We must also be quick to obey the Lord if He gives us instructions in going to other people to seek forgiveness and renew fellowship with them. When fellowship is broken with our neighbor through our lack of love, and we harbor bitterness, unforgiveness, gossip, etc., we must restore that relationship with them before God will restore His relationship with us. Deliberate sin will always interfere with the communication channel between you and the Holy Spirit and stop the blessings of God from reaching you.

Please read the following Scriptures carefully as they continue to explain God’s expectations and standards for blessings and cursings for people and nations!

2 Chronicles 6:24-31, 34-39: 24And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; 25Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers. 26When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; 27Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance. 28If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: 29Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: 30Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) 31That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

34If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name; 35Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 36If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; 37Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; 38If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: 39Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.

ONCE AGAIN WE SEE THAT GOD IS PREDICTABLE! King Solomon could depend on the unbiased sanctions or blessings of God. In verses 24-25, King Solomon pleads for God to forgive and restore Israel from slavery and captivity in the future if the people of the nation confess and repent of their rebellion against the Scriptures. Verses 26-31 tell us that Solomon recognizes what brings judgment to fall upon the land or people in the form of no rain, affliction, dearth (scarcity, lack, famine, failure, poverty), pestilence, blasting, mildew, locusts, caterpillars, war, sicknesses, defeat and captivity. Solomon also knew that through confession and repentance God will forgive and restore. Finally in verses 34-35, we see that King Solomon also understood that God would help the nation fight their enemies and be victorious in times of war if they were in covenant relationship with Him. And, in verses 36-39 Solomon knew that if the nation was backslidden during times of war God would turn the nation over to their enemies, yet if they truly confess and repent of their sins, God would forgive, fight their battles, and give them the victory again and again!


© 2005 World Ministries International