The Fear of the Lord

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 24:15 (NIV)
So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

2 Samuel 24:15 (MSG)
So God let loose an epidemic from morning until suppertime. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand people died.
“So the Lord sent a pestilence (plague) [lasting three days] upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.” -AMPLIFIED

So, let us quickly review what has happened with David to this point. The people of Israel had sinned against the Lord. The Lord decided to test David and allowed Satan to tempt David. David out of pride decided to take a census; which was against the will of the Lord. God was displease with David over his poor choice and sent the prophet Gad with three options of which David was to pick one for his punishment. David wisely choose to allow God to dish out the consequences for his sin in the way He thought best.

Now we find out what God’s choice of punishment would be. God sent a plague, Scripture tells us, “So the Eternal One sent a great plague that morning and for three days. It swept through Israel from Dan in the far north to Beersheba in the desert south, killing 70,000 people.” -2 Samuel 24:15 (VOICE)

The next verse in this passage shows the Fatherly heart of God in its fullness. “But when the angel reached out over Jerusalem to destroy it, God felt the pain of the terror and told the angel who was spreading death among the people, “Enough’s enough! Pull back!” The angel of God had just reached the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel hovering between earth and sky, sword drawn and about to strike Jerusalem. David and the elders bowed in prayer and covered themselves with rough burlap.” -2 Samuel 24:16 (MSG)

God felt the pain of the terror of the people and He put a stop to what was happening. He called out to the angel that was meting out the punishment; saying, “Stop! That is enough! Relax your hand.”

Notice, David was right there at the threshing floor when all of this was happening. When he looked up he SAW the angel hovering there between heaven and earth with his sword out, ready, and about to strike the people of Jerusalem. He saw it with his very own eyes. Can you imagine the terror that he must have been feeling at this point in time and understand the pain and responsibility that he was feeling? All of this was happening because he had allowed his pride to get in the way.

The Bible has much to say about our personal pride:
* “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” –Proverbs 16:18 (MSG)
* “When pride comes, shame is not far behind, but wisdom accompanies those who are humble.” -Proverbs 11:2 (VOICE)
* “A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.” -Proverbs 29:23 (NIV)
* “Before disaster the heart of a man is haughty and filled with self-importance, but humility comes before honor.” -Proverbs 18:12 (AMP)

Now, let us take a look at how David humbled himself before the Lord and finally admitted that it was his sin that had brought about this punishment that Israel was enduring. David cried out to the Lord, “Look, I am the one who offended You, the only one who has done wrong. What have these innocent sheep done? If someone is going to be punished for what I did, it should be me and my family. Punish us.” -2 Samuel 24:17 (VOICE)

God heard that cry from the depths of David’s heart. Once again He sent His prophet, Gad, to speak with David. God had a requirement and expectation of David. “Go and build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” And so, we find David going to do exactly as God had asked and required of him.

Now mind you, this threshing floor belonged to someone else, Araunah the Jebusiteto be exact. David had to go to Araunah and ask if he could buy the threshing floor; in order that he could build an altar to the Lord so that this epidemic will be lifted from the people.

Araunah tried to give the threshing floor to David and also the oxen in his barn to use as the sacrifice. David, though, rejects this idea. We can see that he now understands how serious his sin is by his response to Araunah. “No, but I will certainly buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” So David purchased the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. David built an altar to the Lord there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was moved [to compassion] by [David’s] prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.” -2 Samuel 24:24-25 (AMP)

David made things right with God. This is an important fact that we too need to not only learn, but understand. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” -Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to put aside MY agenda and pride in order that I may humble myself and be pleasing to you. I know that the fear or reverence of you is of the utmost importance. The fact that you feel the pain of your children; you understand how and what we feel helps me to remember that you are a loving God, a faithful Father. Help me to always remember that fact. Even when I am experiencing the consequences of my sin. You love me! You care! You want the absolute best for me! Thank You, Daddy! I love you!