May 21, 2020
The Baptist Faith and Message, a historic Baptist confession of faith, follows the Scriptures as a guide for Christian faith and practice. Regarding the Bible, it states:
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
With such a powerful and truthful testimony of the Scriptures in mind, let us now consider the account of King David of Israel and his sin against God (2 Samuel 24:10-25). You see, David’s conscience troubled him because of his personal sin that produced guilt. This sin and guilt had to be dealt with before a holy and righteous God, the God of Israel and the God of ALL creation. Realizing his wickedness, David confessed his sin and repented, again honoring God with praise and worship. Notice that his sin not only cost him but also cost the lives of many of his people. The Bible says:
10 David’s conscience troubled him after he had taken a census of the troops. He said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I’ve done. Now, LORD, because I’ve been very foolish, please take away Your servant’s guilt.”
11 When David got up in the morning, a revelation from the LORD had come to the prophet Gad, David’s seer:
12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am offering you three choices. Choose one of them, and I will do it to you.'”
13 So Gad went to David, told him the choices, and asked him, “Do you want three years of famine to come on your land, to flee from your foes three months while they pursue you, or to have a plague in your land three days? Now, think it over and decide what answer I should take back to the One who sent me.”
14 David answered Gad, “I have great anxiety. Please, let us fall into the LORD’s hands because His mercies are great, but don’t let me fall into human hands.”
15 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the appointed time, and from Dan to Beer-sheba 70,000 men died.
16 Then the angel extended his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, but the LORD relented concerning the destruction and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough, withdraw your hand now!” The angel of the LORD was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 When David saw the angel striking the people, he said to the LORD, “Look, I am the one who has sinned; I am the one who has done wrong. But these sheep, what have they done? Please, let Your hand be against me and my father’s family.”
18 Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up and set up an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
19 David went up in obedience to Gad’s command, just as the LORD had commanded.
20 Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants coming toward him, so he went out and bowed to the king with his face to the ground.
21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the LORD, so the plague on the people may be halted.”
22 Araunah said to David, “My lord the king may take whatever he wants and offer it. Here are the oxen for a burnt offering and the threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood.
23 My king, Araunah gives everything here to the king.” Then he said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.”
24 The king answered Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it from you for a price, for I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 20 ounces of silver.
25 He built an altar to the LORD there and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer on behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel ended.
Although the people, the places, and the times have changed over the centuries, the dynamics of a holy God and a sinful humanity have not. Should we be so spiritually blind and disconnected from the Scriptures that we would think somehow that a holy, righteous, and sovereign God has no part in the current COVID-19 pandemic, nor that He has not provided, in His great mercy and grace, a way forward? I think not! During the current crisis, God again offers the perfect counsel for all the earth:
If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
Watching and praying . . . Dennis