1 Chronicles 21:14 says in the Contemporary English Version, "So the LORD sent a horrible disease on Israel, and 70,000 Israelites died."
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Deuteronomy 17:17: "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold." Remember God is good to everyone. He shows patience and endurance, especially to those who sin. David was a man after God's own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) David knew that God promised Israel would be like the stars, too innumerable to count. David was successful because he walked with God. 1 Chronicles 20:1: "It happened in the spring of the year at the time kings go out to battle...But David stayed in Jerusalem." 2 Samuel 11:1-27: David at home in Jerusalem, took Bathsheba and had Uriah murdered. God's people we are told in Psalm 106:34,35,40: "They did not destroy the people as the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their ways. Therefore the Lord's anger burned against His people." Psalm 106:28,29: "They joined themselves to Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices made to the dead. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, and the plague broke out among them." Israel was not faithful to God. 1 Chronicles 21:7: "Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel." 2 Samuel 24:1,2: "Now the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say; go number Israel and Judah." Notice one verse says Satan and one verse says that the Lord's anger was aroused. So what happened? Look at Job 1:6-2:7. There was a day when the sons of God and Satan came before the Lord. Satan had been going to and fro on the earth. In Zechariah 3:1,2, a vision of Zechariah reports Joshua was standing before the Angel of the Lord and Satan was standing at his right. The Lord spoke to Satan. Satan can come and go to heaven. I believe God allowed David to be tempted by Satan. Satan loves to play with your mind. We must stay focused on God. Perhaps David considered creating a military draft. David was full of himself at the moment. He was chosen, he was a mighty warrior. David was good looking, a ladies man, etc...He had wives, silver, gold... 1 Chronicles 21:7: " And God was displeased..." Psalm 106:32,33: "They angered the Lord at the waters of Meriba, and Moses suffered because of them; for they embittered his spirit and he spoke harshly with his lips." Exodus 17:7, Numbers 20:13, 24 1 Chronicles 21:10 is the only place in the Bible where God offers a choice of punishment. David could not decide from God's three offers, and chose to place himself into God's hands. David knew God's gracious love. God sent the plague. 70,000 perished. In 1 Chronicles 24:30 David repented. 2 Samuel 24:10-15: The conduct of rulers is ordered by the character of his subjects. A really good ruler can be affected by the wicked ways of the people. Think of the ripple effect of a pebble tossed into a pond... David was human, just like we are. I believe that this punishment was proper for Israel, and David. David suffered in His heart for the fact that his actions killed his own people and that he caused God to send the plague. He then lived with this sadness in His heart, and the shame on His mind the rest of his days. (This heart, the heart that belonged to God!) This story is recorded as a lesson appropriate for today. Beware, there is always a mysterious interplay between God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
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