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2 Samuel 24:8-25

David Comes to His Census

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • October 10, 2021
  • Sermon Notes
  • Transcription
  • Scripture

David Comes to His Census
2 Samuel 24:8-25
October 8-9, 2021

There are certain decisions in life that become hinge points on which the entirety of life is turned. You can look back on your life and consider key decisions you have made that are important hinge points as well.

Other decisions are so significant that not only are they hinge points for your life, not only do they change the course of your own life, but they impact many others as well.

This is what happens to David in 2 Samuel 24. David makes a critical error in this story. That critical decision will impact the whole of the nation of Israel. But what follows, how David responds, changes the course of the history of the entire world. In fact, David’s decisions and the course of his life impacts the world today and has everything to do with the prophetic future and the end of the age!

The back story is this; at some point in David’s life, he decided he wanted to number the people of Israel. In other words, he wanted a census to be taken. No specific reason was given for David’s desire to count the people, but as we study this chapter, the reasons become clear.

Joab, the commander of the army of Israel, tried to persuade David not to take the census, and with very strong words. In other words, Joab, who most assuredly was not a saint, knew David’s census was wrong. Other commanders of the army also tried to convince David not to do this thing.

But David would not relent. He went against all counsel and persisted. He wanted this census taken and he would not change his mind.

By this time in their history, Israel had become a strong and successful nation. Other nations around Israel were paying tribute to David in recognition of his superiority over them. No foreign armies had been able to defeat Israel with David as their king.

But just how successful had David become? Just how powerful were David’s forces? In other words, how powerful is David? There would be only one way to know; take a census and number those who drew the sword. This wasn’t about how great God was, this was about how great David was.

But great things come out of this story. Yes, David comes to his senses. There will be one final revival in David’s heart. There are many life lessons that come to us in the story.

I. Never Stop Relying on God

  • It took Joab 9 months and 20 days to complete the census. That’s a long time for David to consider what he had done.
  • When Joab gave the number of the valiant men who drew the sword, David’s heart troubled him; he knew immediately that what he had done was wrong. He wasn’t just numbering the people, he was numbering the fighting men, the valiant men who drew the sword.
  • The King James version says that David’s heart smote him. That’s a powerful picture of a man who is convicted in his heart.
  • “I have sinned greatly in what I have done,” David said to the Lord.
  • David now understands what Joab and his commanders knew all along, taking the census was wrong. But why? Why was God displeased that David had taken this census?
  • What was David beginning to understand? As soon as David heard that number from Joab, his heart smote him. There are 1.3 million valiant men who drew the sword, Joab informed him.
  • “Why did I do that?” “Why did I need to know that number?” “Why did I need to know how strong the forces of Israel’s valiant men were?”
  • To search one’s own heart is a good thing. To understand the reason, why you did what you did, will help you to change. See it for what it is and submit it to God.

A. Let God always be your confidence

  • David had become successful. No foreign army had been able to prevail against him. He had survived two different attempts to overthrow him. And now there was peace and security in his old age.
  • David had an army of 1.3 million valiant men, all under his command. That was an awesome fighting force! With David as king, Israel had become a world power.
  • But in whom was David’s confidence? When David was young, God was his confidence.

Psalm 71:5, 7, You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence since my youth… I have become a marvel to many, for You are my strong refuge.

  • But now, David has just been informed he has a fighting force of 1.3 million valiant men. Perhaps some of David’s own words came back to him at that moment…
  • Remember how you used to rely on God David?

Psalm 32:7, You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 3:5-6, I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.

  •  The question of where you place your confidence is an essential question to faith. It’s easy to misplace your faith and your confidence both when you are young and when you are old…

Illus – When you’re young your security and confidence can be in your youth itself. Your future is before you. You have time on your side, and you have the strength and vitality of youth on your side. You may not have much, but you have your youth!

Illus – I remember when Jordi and I first started a relationship. I literally had nothing. To drive from Hillsboro to Beaverton to take her home used a quart of oil. To drive from Beaverton back to home, that was another quart of oil. But I was young, and I was strong! But it’s a mistake to trust in one’s self.

App – When you’re older, maybe you don’t have the strength and vitality of youth, but you have all the stuff you’ve collected over the years, or maybe you have more in your bank account, or in the retirement account. It’s a mistake to trust in one’s self.

Illus – Perhaps you remember the story of the old man who didn’t trust banks, so he stuffed all his money in his mattress. On his deathbed he asked his wife to put all his money with him in his coffin… So she did; yeah, she wrote a check and stuffed it in his pocket in the coffin. “He can always cash and if he needs it,” she told a friend.

  • But David wasn’t like other young men. David understood something when he was young that many people never understand all their lives.

Psalm 20:7, Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord our God.

B. Leave faith as your legacy

  • In that time and culture, taking a census would have sent waves of fear throughout the nation. A king would not number the fighting men unless he was preparing for war.
  • This would have been unnecessarily disturbing to the very people David was asked to shepherd. The people knew that a large campaign of war would bring destruction, great loss of life, and terrible hardship.
  • Is this what David would leave them with? If it became known that the reason David wanted to number the people so that he could know how strong he was, wouldn’t they say of him, “Where is the David of old? Where is the man of faith?”
  • What is the legacy leave your children? If you leave your children only material things, you have not left them much.
  • Let’s leave a legacy of faith. When David was 17, he didn’t rely on the strength of an army. This is the same David who faced the great challenges of his life by relying on the strength of God.
  • He had confronted both a bear and a lion that attacked the sheep he was shepherding. He took on Goliath with the strength of his faith, and then by faith he faced Saul and then the entire Philistine army.
  • This is the same David who took the renegade men of Israel; men who were indebted, bitter of soul, and everyone who was in distress, and made them into the mighty men of Israel.
  • Faith is the best legacy to leave your children because faith is the crisis of our day even now.

Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

C. When you fail, run to the Lord

  • David was called a man after God’s own heart. Clearly, this wasn’t because David never sinned. We’ve already seen David fall short of God’s heart and desire.
  • But you see David’s heart again here; first because his heart was troubled within him. A troubled soul can be a good thing when it brings you back to God.
  • A troubled soul means that it matters to you when you do something to disappoint God.

Illus – I remember when I was in Bible college and was invited to you give a message at a small church. It was so bad that I took Jordi into another room and cried my heart out. Later a friend called to ask how I was doing, and I told him what happened, “But that means that it mattered to you! God will bless that.”

  • Some people are so hard of heart that their soul is never troubled within them.

1 Timothy 4:2, …having their conscience seared as with a hot iron.”

  • Here is a life lesson we can learn from David. Earlier, when he sinned greatly, he tried to hide his sin both from God and from the people. But now, he has learned a great lesson.

Psalm 32:3-4, When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

  • David was given three choices, which is interesting in itself.
  • David chose the one which would put him directly under the mercy of God.
  • That’s something to love about David here, he completely trusted in God’s mercy.

Hebrews 12:5, My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

Illus – Some people when they are disciplined by the Lord or even from someone else, have a hard and bitter heart about it.

II. Count the Cost of Discipleship

  • The Lord sent pestilence upon Israel, but when the angel of the Lord approached Jerusalem to lift a sword of destruction against it, the Lord relented, “It is enough,” the Lord said. The angel was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah.
  • The prophet Gad came to David, “Go and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah.”
  • When David came to buy the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered to give it to David. “Let my lord the king take it and offer what is good in his sight. Look, here are oxen for the burnt offering, threshing sledges and the yolks of the oxen for wood. Everything, O king, I give to the king. May the Lord your God accept you.”
  • However, David said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.”
  • This is a life lesson. Consider the cost of discipleship. Consider the cost of forgiveness. Consider the cost of grace.

A. Offer God that which cost you something

  • David knew it wouldn’t be right to receive these things for free and then to bring them as an offering to God. It cost him nothing.
  • Later in the history of Israel, they made only pretense in bringing an offering to the Lord. They brought the lame and the sick which would die anyway. In other words, they brought that which cost them nothing.

Malachi 1:8-9, “When you present the lame and sick, is this not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased? Would he receive you kindly?” Says the Lord of hosts… “Will you entreat God’s favor with such an offering? Will He receive any of you kindly?” Says the Lord of hosts.

  • Jesus also said to count the cost of being a disciple and follower…

Luke 14:27-33, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?… Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with 10,000 men to encounter the one coming against him with 20,000?… So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

  • In other words, count the cost of being a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ.
  • Does forgiveness come with a cost? Yes, it cost Jesus His life. He paid it all and He paid it in full by the sacrifice of his own life on the cross. The price was high.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, You are not your own, you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.

  • But forgiveness also has a cost for you. That cost is repentance. Should a dog return to his vomit? Should a swine return to wallowing in the mud? Should a sinner return to the sinful life from which he was just saved? Consider the cost.
  • David’s words ring true, “I will not offer another man’s sacrifice; that which cost me nothing.”
  • What is God asking you to give? “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.”

Romans 12:1, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

B. God answers fire with fire

  • David purchased the threshing floor of Araunah, the oxen and wood for 50 shekels of silver. In 1 Chronicles 21, we read that David purchased the entire area for 600 shekels of gold.
  • David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. These he offered by fire…. And God answered by sending fire from heaven.

1 Chronicles 21:26, David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the Lord, and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

  • When you offer God the fire of your heart. In other words, that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, God answers by igniting a fire from heaven within your soul.
  • When David purchased the threshing floor of Araunah, he purchased the most precious land on the face of the earth and set in motion that which would impact the eternal future of Israel, but also the prophetic fulfillment of God in the latter days.
  • It is on this very site that Solomon would build the temple. It is on this very site that Jesus would enter the temple as the one who would be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
  • Scripture reveals that in the latter days Jerusalem will be the center of the unfolding prophetic events, on this very site. The Temple Mount will be the epicenter.
  • What is the purpose of a threshing floor? It is to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Matthew 3:11-12, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear is threshing floor: and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

David Comes to His Census
2 Samuel 24:8-25
October 8-9, 2021

There are certain key decisions that become hinge points in your life. You look back on your life and you will see there have been certain key decisions that your life is turned on those decisions. However, there are other decisions that are so significant that not only do they impact your life, they impact lives around you as well. So significant is it.

That's the story. That's what happens to David in 2 Samuel 24. David makes a decision that is so critical in importance. Not only does it impact his life, not only does it impact the nation of Israel, but it impacts us even to this very day, and it has everything to do with the prophetic fulfillment of the latter days. Significant is what we are going to study in this chapter now. It is critical to understand David in this decision. Now, David makes an error. He begins with a critical error, but what he does, how he responds reverberates all the way through prophetic fulfillment of scripture. It's quite amazing.

The backstory is this. At some point in David's life, there is peace all around. He has conquered all of the nations around them, but David decided that he wanted to number the people of Israel, particularly the valiant men who could bear a sword. In other words, he wants to know how strong of an army he can put together. He wants this census to be taken. Census, you see, that's the title. No specific reason is given for David's desire to do this counting of the people but when you study the chapter, the reasons become clear.

Joab who was the commander of the forces really saw that this was not a good thing. This was not a good decision. This is interesting because Joab is most certainly not a saint himself and yet he understands, David, don't do this thing. In fact, the commanders of the armies tried to dissuade David, don't do this thing. David will not relent. He is persisting, goes against all counsel. He wants this census taken and he would not change his mind. It becomes a critical error.

Again, in this time of history in Israel, they were strong, successful nations. In fact, so much so that other nations around were paying tribute to Israel because he had conquered them. Just how strong was Israel? Just how strong was David? There's only one way to know, take a census and number all those who draw a sword. This isn't about how great God is. This is about how great David is but great things come from the story and let's read it.

We'll begin in verse eight. Yes, David comes to his senses when it comes to the census and great things come out of the story. Chapter 24:8, "When they had gone about through the whole land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of 9 months, 20 days." This is how long it took to do this census. It tells us that they did a circuitous route. They went down from Jerusalem, went to the east, went down to the Jordan onto the other side, and they would count the men.

Now you say, "Well, how would they count the men?" They come to a village, a town, a city and then they blow the shofar. They blow the trumpet of the Lord in a particular military call. Then people would gather, the fighting men who had experience would come to be counted. They would go from village to village, to town to town, starting over there in the east, going to Gilead, up the north all the way up to Dan. Far north, all the way to the Mediterranean and then down the coast all the way through the planes down to Beersheba, then back up to Jerusalem. Took 9 months, 20 days.

It tells us that at the end of that, verse nine, Joab then gave the number of the registration of the people to the king and there were in Israel, 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword. In other words, they had experience in battle. 800,000 and the men of Judah were 500,000. This is 1.3 million. This is a massive fighting force. In fact, they are a world power. At this point in the history of the world, they are one of the great world powers.

As soon as David heard that number, his heart troubled him. Immediately, when he heard that number, he knew it was wrong. David's heart troubled him after he numbered the people. David said to the Lord-- Notice, he runs now to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done, but now, oh Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant. I have acted very foolishly."

When David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go and speak thusly to David and say, 'Thus says the Lord, I am offering you three things, choose for yourself one of them which I might do to you.'" Remember also, it mentions earlier in this chapter that God was angry with Israel at this time. We don't know exactly why, it may well be because they sided with Absalom in the betrayal against David, we don't know.

Nevertheless, Gad came to David and said, "Choose then one of these: shall seven years of famine come to you in your land or will you flee from three months before your enemies while they pursue you or shall there be three days of pestilence in the land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to him who sent me." David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for his mercies are great but do not let me fall into the hand of man."

The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time. 70,000 men of the people of Dan to Beersheba fell. When the angel stretched out his hand against Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, "Enough, relax your hand." The angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This is a very critical, important place. The threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

What is a Jebusite? It's a person from Jebus. You might remember that before Jerusalem was Jerusalem, it was called Jebus. David defeated it, named it Jerusalem. This is a leader of the Jebusites who remained, Araunah is his title, his named proper is Ornan. David then spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people. He said, "Behold, it is I who have sinned. It's I who have done wrong, but the sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and my father's house." Gad came to David that day and said, "Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."

David went up according to the word of God, just as the Lord had commanded. The Araunah looked down and saw the king and the servants crossing over toward him. Now, by the way, hope you have an opportunity to go to Israel sometime because I tell you, when you go to Jerusalem and stand in the city of David, all of this will come very clear in your mind's eye. I've been there many times. You stand in the city of David and you look to the north and you'll see that there's a bit of a decline. Then it arises up to this very site. This very exact site can be seen.
Araunah then saw David coming up. Now I say up because from the city of David, you look up, and there it is, the Temple Mount. The very place in which the temple was built there.

Araunah saw the king coming, crossing over. He went out and bowed his face to the ground before the king and Araunah said, "Why has my Lord, the king, come to his servant?" David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord that the plague may be held back from the people."
This next set of conversation is very important. Araunah said to David, "Let my Lord, the king, take it." In other words, I give it to you, take it and offer up what's good in his sight. "Look, here are oxen for the burnt offering. Here are the threshing sledges and the yokes of oxen for the wood. Everything, oh, king, Araunah gives you my king." Araunah said to the king, "May the Lord your God accept you."

However, very famous answer, the king said to Araunah, "No, he would not take it. He would not receive it for free. No, I will buy it from you full price for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord, my God, which cost me nothing." This is a very famous thing. "I will not offer for to the Lord that which cost me nothing." David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver. In 1 Chronicles 21, we read he bought the whole entire site for 600 shekels of gold.

David built an altar there to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Each of these, by the way, have deep meanings which we do not have time to delve into but they're important. Thus, you see he had the wood, he had the auction, he set it on fire. 1 Chronicles 21 tells us that fire from heaven came and consumed the altar, that which David offered unto the Lord. Generations have come and have not seen fire from heaven. This is a monumental day in the history of Israel. Thus the Lord was moved by entreaty for the land and the plague was held back.

I. Never Stop Relying on God

All right, this is a tremendous story, great lessons for us to apply, starting with this, never stop relying on God. David had been relying on God all his life. Now all of a sudden he wants to number the valiant men of Israel. All his life, David was famous for this. It took Joab 9 months and 20 days to complete the census. That's a long time for David to consider what he has done and as soon as Joab gave the number of the valiant men who drew their sword, David's heart-- I love the King James. It says, "It smote him." That's a great way of saying the Holy Spirit convicted him. "I have sinned greatly." David knew immediately that Joab was right when Joab didn't want to do it. The commanders were right.

What was David beginning to understand as soon as he heard the number? Can you imagine David-- I just imagined him saying to himself, "Why did I do that? Why did I have to know that number? Why did I need to know how strong the forces of Israel's army is? Why did I need to know this?" Have you ever done that where you just did something, you know that you shouldn't have done it and then you immediately say to yourself, "Why did I do that?" Before you did the thing, you thought it was the right thing to do, but as soon as you do it, you know it's not the right thing to do and then you say to yourself, "Why did I do that?" Let's not do a show of hands.

I will raise my hand to represent all of us because I think we understand this, and I think we understand perfectly well what's happened here. Why did I do this thing? Why did I have to know this number? To search one's own heart is a good thing. To understand why you did it, it's a good thing. No one can search your own heart but you and the holy spirit. To understand why, to help you to see it, help you to see it in the light, because it'll help you to change. Why did I do this thing?

A. Let God always be your confidence

The great lesson that comes out of the story is this, let God always be your confidence. David, since he was young, God had been his confidence. That's one of the amazing things about David. Remember, we read about it in Psalm 71:5-7 where David wrote it that we could all see it, "You are my hope. Oh, Lord God, you are my confidence since my youth." David understood something when he was young that most people don't understand all their lives.

Here's the thing, great men and women of faith are not self-confident. Say, "Really, they're not?" No. Great men and women of faith are not self-confident. They are God-confident, and that's a whole different thing because if you are self-confident, your confidence, by definition, is in self but if you are God-confident, by definition, your faith is in God, your confidence is in the Lord. It's a whole different thing. You cannot be a great man and woman of faith and be self-confident. There's no such thing. It does not work because there is no such thing.

David knew from his youth. He'd always been God-confident but now, he wants to number of the people. He wants to know how great of a fighting force does he have. In whom is David's confidence? Maybe now David's own words are starting to come back to him. David is the one who wrote Psalm 32:7, "You are my hiding place. You preserve me from trouble. You surround me with songs of deliverance," or Psalm 3:5-6, "I lay down and I slept and then I woke for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about."

David wrote those words. These are great words of a person who has confidence in the Lord, but see, he wrote those when he was in trouble. He wrote those when he was encountering trouble upon trouble upon trouble. Now everything's good, success, all the nations around are at peace. It's a whole different thing when you got success. Now tell you why this is such an important word for us because we live in America. This is the most successful country this world has ever seen in the history of the world.

I'll tell you what, I've been to Africa many times and I've seen the abject poverty of Africa. It's in stark contrast, but I'll tell you what I've also seen in Africa, joy. I've seen faith. I've seen a delight in the Lord. I've seen the faith and the trust. It is such an important lesson. See the question is, where do you place your confidence? It's an essential question of faith.

It's easier to misplace your confidence. It's easy to misplace your security, whether you're young or in the middle or old. See when you're young, it's easy to put your confidence and your security in youth itself. I was once young. I know exactly that you may not have any money, but you got your youth, you got vitality, you got strength, the whole future is ahead of you, time is on your side. You may not have much, but you've got youth.

I always think of an illustration. When Jordy and I were first starting our relationship, and we were very young, I literally had nothing and so much so was this true. I tell you how bad things were. I had such a bad car. My car was so bad. How bad was it? It was so bad that from driving from Hillsboro to Beaverton to take her home, it burned a quart of oil, and then to go from Beaverton back home again, that's another quart of oil. I know.

I didn't have money, didn't have anything, but I had youth, vitality. I'll tell you what, it's a mistake to trust in oneself. Then when you're older, maybe you don't have the strength and vitality of youth, but now you've got successes. You've got more in the bank account. You've got some history of success. You got stuff in the retirement account. You got some stuff going on now. It's easy to put your confidence in such things, but it's a mistake to trust in oneself whether you're young or in the middle or old.

Maybe you've heard the story of the old man who didn't trust banks, so he stuffed all his money in his mattress. It gave him a lot of security knowing that he was sleeping on all that money, and he was miserly. He's had collected money all his life. Then he comes to his deathbed and so on his deathbed he asked his wife to put all his money in the coffin. She said, "Sure." She wrote a check.

"He can cash it when he gets there," she said to her friends. David understood something when he was young that most people don't understand all their lives, where to put your confidence. Then what happened? Why number the people now? David had always said this, Psalm 20:7, "Some boasts in chariots, some boasts in horses, we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God." There's our David.

B. Leave faith as your legacy

Now, it comes to this. Great application. Leave faith as your legacy. Is this the way David is going to be remembered? David, you were famous for faith. That's why these men were drawn to you. Your reliance on God, your confidence in him. Oh, it always been such. It's important to also know, in that time, in that culture, particularly, that taking a census of the fighting men would have sent waves of fear through the entire nation.

If they went through every village in town, it would have sent waves of fear, and here's why. The only reason to number the fighting men is if you're preparing for a battle, if you're preparing for war, and they're like, "Well, we've already conquered all the nations around us. What are you doing?" Is this the way David will be remembered? This would have been unnecessarily disturbing to the very people that David was asked to shepherd. Is this the way David would leave his legacy? Where's the man of faith, they would say, where's David of old? What is the legacy that you leave? It's a good question. What is the legacy? When you get older, you start thinking about that a little more. What is a legacy? What does he leave behind? How do you want to be known? It means more to you as you get older. I tell you what, I want to be known as a man who trusted God. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to leave this place a little better than I found it. Anybody else want to join me in this? Do something with my life. Leave a legacy.

I tell you what, faith is a tremendous legacy. Let it be known, he trusted God all his life, he never relented, he never quit, he never gave up. I fought the good fight, I finished the course, I have run the race set before me. That's the legacy to leave. David, all his life he had never, he didn't rely on the strength of an army.

This is the same David who faced the challenges of his life by relying on the strength of God. He confronted a bear and the lion that attacked the sheep when he was shepherding. He took on Goliath with the strength of his faith. By faith, he faced Saul and the entire Philistine army. This is the same David who took the renegade men of Israel, men who were indebted and bitter, discontented and made them mighty men. Same David.

Faith is the best legacy you can leave because faith is the issue of the day. Faith is the crisis of the day. There is a crisis of faith. In fact, Luke 18:8, he writes, "When the son of man comes at the end of the age, will he find faith on the earth?" Great question. Then here's another life lesson that comes to us from this story. When you fail, run to the Lord. This is a tremendous story. David is called a man after God's own heart. It's not because he never sinned. Clearly, we know that he made critical errors, but you see David's heart here, first because his heart troubled him.

See, as soon as he heard that number immediately, he was smote of heart. It troubled him. I tell you what. A troubled soul can be a good thing. God can use that. Troubled soul means that it matters. See, if it didn't matter, you wouldn't have trouble at all. The fact you have a troubled soul means it matters.

I was thinking of an illustration. When I was going to Bible college, I was given an opportunity to speak in this small church and it was one of my first ever sermons, not in a class, but in a real church with real people in a real sanctuary. I was so nervous and I was so bad. How bad was it? Yes, I'll tell you how bad it was. It was so bad. I can still remember to this day what I spoke on. That's how bad it was. It's indelibly marked in my memory.

About two-thirds or so, half, two-thirds the way through the message, I started having a conversation with myself. I'm still trying to teach, I'm still trying to do the thing, but I'm having this conversation with myself and the conversation with myself when something like this, "This is bad, this is really bad. This is bad."

Remember never that scene where Peter, he asked to come out to walk on the water, and then as soon as he saw the waves and the wind, he got afraid and started to sink? Yes, that's me. I took my eyes off the Lord, I started sinking right there. Two-thirds of the way through. It was so bad, I stopped the message. I'm sinking here. I didn't say that, but I'm like, I'm sinking here, I knew. Two-thirds the way through, I stopped the message, and so as to make some spiritual look at the thing, I said, "You know what I think we need to do? Let's gather in small groups and pray, and pray for me while you're at it."

By the way, if I ever stop by message and ask us to pray, yes, you'll know why now. After the thing, after we prayed and all that, I just felt so bad. Jordy is there in the front. I took Jordy, grabbed her, and we went to this back room and I just held onto her, and I just started crying. I'm just balling. It was that bad.

Afterward, a friend called me and he said, "How are you doing?" I said, "Oh, it was bad." He said, "I was there." I said, "It was bad and I took Jordy to the back and I cried." He said, "I'm glad you cried. You know why? Because it means that mattered to you. I'm glad it mattered. God can use that. May it always matter." That's a good friend because some people are so hard of heart that their soul is never troubled. Nothing bothers them.

1 Timothy 4:2, "Having their conscience seared as with a hot iron." Some people are like that. It's a life lesson that we can learn from David. When he sinned, remember earlier, when he sinned with Bathsheba and Uriah, he tried to hide his sin. In fact, he tells us this in Psalm 32:3-4, "When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me." Yes, because he was hiding. Now, David has learned something. His heart smote him. The conviction of the holy spirit was hard on him and he immediately ran to the Lord.

C. When you fail, run to the Lord

He come, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower." He came running to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I had done." That's a great life lesson. If you've ever done anything, where you just, you blew it, you made a terrible decision, it was a critical error, whatever and the conviction immediately, you recognize that it was the wrong thing. A great lesson learned. Don't hide it. Run, run, run to the Lord. "Lord, I've sinned greatly in what I've done. Please remove the iniquity of your servant," as David said it.

You got to love David. He ran, he threw himself completely in the mercy of God. Hebrews 12:5, "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him." Don't be discouraged, that's a good thing. Some people, when they're disciplined by the Lord or someone else, frankly, they have a bitter heart about it. They get all bristly. It's a great lesson.

II. Count the Cost of Discipleship

The next part of the story is very important. Very important what follows next and the lesson is equally as important. Count the cost. Count the cost of discipleship. The Lord sent pestilence upon Israel, as we read. The angel of the Lord approached Jerusalem to lift a sword of destruction against it. The Lord relented, it's enough. Angel was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah. Gad, the prophet, came to David, "Go and erect an altar to the Lord on that threshing floor of Araunah."

David came to by that threshing floor, offered Araunah, offered to give it to him. "Let my Lord, the king have it. I offer everything. Here are oxen, here are the sledges and the yokes of oxygen for the wood. Everything I give to you, oh, my king. It's yours, I give it." David responded, very famous, "No. I will buy it for the full price. I will not offer that which cost me nothing." It's a very famous, very famous line. It's a very famous life lesson.

Consider the cost. I will not offer that which cost me nothing. Consider the cost, consider the cost of discipleship. Consider the cost of forgiveness, consider the cost of grace, and offer God that which cost you something. This is a very important and deep lesson, offer God that which cost you something. David knew it wasn't right to receive these things for free and then to offer them, it cost him nothing. David immediately knew that no, this is not right.

In fact, it's interesting, there's something similar that happens later on in the history of Israel. In fact, later on in their history, they made only a pretense of offering something, of giving something of an offering to the Lord. If there was a lamb that was sick or a lamb that was lame, who's going to die anyway, "We need to give something, we need to give an offering to the Lord. That lamb is lame, give that to the Lord. He's going to die anyway, or that one's sick. He's going to make others sick. Give that to the Lord." You're going to give a lame, sick, blind? Is that what you-- Yes, it's going to die anyway give it to the Lord.

A. Offer God that which cost you something

In fact, God confronted it. This is Malachai, one of the last prophets of the old vestment Malachai 1:8-9 where he said-- This is the Lord speaking to the prophet, "When you present the lame and the sick, is this not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased? Would he receive you kindly, says the Lord of hosts? Will you entreat God's favor was such an offering? Would he receive any of you kindly, says the Lord of hosts?" You know what's interesting? Jesus said something similar. This is in Luke chapter 14. It has to do with counting the cost. It's not often quoted, but it is very important.

Luke 14:27-33, Jesus said, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Now, right there, that is a big word. "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the costs to see if he has enough to complete it?" Count the cost, consider. "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with 10,000 men to encounter the one coming against him with 20,000." Count the cost consider.

"Then none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all of his own possessions." It's all under your name God, it's all under you. It's all under your covering. It's all yours. In other words, count the cost of being a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. Does forgiveness come with the cost? Oh, dearly. It cost Jesus his life. He paid it all and he paid it all in full by the sacrifice of his own life on the cross. How great was the cost? How great was the price?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "You are not your own. You have been bought with a price, a higher price. Therefore glorify God in your body." The price was high. The price of forgiveness that God paid was high, but here's the question. Does forgiveness have a cost for you? He gives it freely, but does it have a cost for you? Yes. Yes, it does. The cost of forgiveness is repentance. That's your part. That's what you offer. God freely pays for the forgiveness of sin, but you offer repentance.

As the scripture says, "Should a dog turned to his vomit? Should a swine return to his wallowing in the mud? Should a sinner return to the sinful life from which he was just saved?" Consider the cost. It's a deep question. David's words ring true. I will not offer that which cost me nothing. What is God asking you to give? What is God asking you to give? Jesus was asked the very question. What is the highest foremost of all that God has ever spoken? Jesus said, "The greatest, the foremost of all that God has directed is this, you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart." That's what you give.

God loves you. God loves you so much that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever would believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life. God loves you so much that he sent his own son to seek and save that which was lost. He sent his own son to die on the cross as payment for sin in full. That's how much God loves. What does he want from you? He wants you to love with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind.

Romans 12:1, he continues. "Therefore, I urge you, brethren. By the mercies of God, I urge you." Now that's a strong way of saying it, isn't it? I'm urging you. Oh, let me add, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. That's what you give. That's what you offer. How much does that cost? Well, that costs a lot. I'm giving my physical being. You present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice for you are not your own, you've been bought with a price, a very high price. What do you give? My love?

B. God answers fire with fire

I love you, God, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Offer your body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Then lastly, and we'll close with this. God answers fire with fire. It's a great part of the story. David purchased this threshing floor of Araunah, they auctioned the wood for 50 shekels of silver. We know later, the entire area for 600 shekels of gold. He built an altar there, offered up on the wood, the burnt offerings, the peace offerings, and fire from heaven.

1 Chronicles 21-26. "David built an altar to the Lord there, offered burnt offerings, peace offerings, and he called to the Lord and he answered him with fire." I just love this scene because it's been generations before. They haven't seen fire from heaven for many generations but now David, fire from heaven on the altar burnt offering. See, it's a beautiful thing, that which David offered, the burnt offering, the peace offering, it represents his worship, his offering, his heart, what he's giving, and then God answers with fire from heaven. It's a beautiful picture.

You give God your heart. Love is a picture of the heart, the soul that's ignited. Love ignites the soul, doesn't it? Love ignites the soul. When your heart, your soul is ignited, you give that to the Lord and he'll answer with fire from heaven. He'll ignite something from heaven, it's a powerful picture.

When David purchased that threshing floor of Araunah, I suggest to you that he purchased the most precious land on the face of the earth. He purchased the most valuable land on the face of the earth for it would be the very site that Solomon would build the temple. It is on that very site, on that temple, that the offerings would go, the prayers, the incense, the bread offered. It would be this very site that Jesus would enter into when he descended from the Mount of Olives, "This is my father's house," he said.

It would be this very site that Jesus will enter it at the end of the age. When he comes, sets foot on the Mount of Olives, enters Jerusalem, and he will rule and reign the nations from this very site. Then it says, "In that latter day, when he rules and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that the nations will come and he will separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff." That's an interesting analogy. What is a threshing floor for? What is a purpose of a threshing floor? Is it not to separate the wheat from the chaff?

The wheat is the kernel of the wheat that contains life. The seed, the kernel has life. The chaff, no, it does not have life. It's blown away and burnt up. On a threshing floor, they would throw everything, the wheat and the chaff up into the air. The wind would blow through. The wind, I'll tell you, this is a very powerful picture. The wind would blow through and blow the chaff but the wheat, that which contains life, that is what would remain, separating the wheat from the chaff.

Notice what John the Baptist said in Matthew 3, this amongst many places. Matthew 3:11-12. He said this, "I baptize you with water for repentance. For he who is coming after me is mightier than I" referring to Jesus. "He will baptize you with the holy spirit and with fire for his winnowing fork is in his hands. He will thoroughly clear his threshing floor and he will gather his wheat into the barn and he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." It's a powerful picture and it's a call. It's an invitation to have life. For there is a day in which he will separate. Seek the Lord while he may be found, seek the son.

God is pursuing relationship with you and he's offering life. What does He want from you? He's giving so much. The great price that was paid. He's offering forgiveness, He's offering life, He's offering eternal hope, He's offering the promise that He will be your father. What does He want from you? He wants you to love Him with all your heart. He wants you to repent from the life that He saved you from. "I saved you from that. Do not return to it. Instead, keep walking. Keep walking in grace, keep walking toward victory, keep walking in that and love the Lord, your God, as you walk, and I'll walk with you. You pour the fire of your heart and I'll pour the fire of the Holy Spirit."

Let's pray. Father, we are so thankful for your word that shows your desire to bless, to save, to strengthen, to give hope. God, what great lessons are found in the story? God, we see now the great price that was paid. We want to offer to you that which costs something. We want to give you our very heart, our very being, for we see how much you've loved. We see the great price that you've paid and we love you. God, answer by fire. Answer by fire. Ignite the soul, ignite our heart.

Church, how many would say to the Lord today, "I offer to you. God, I give to you my heart ignited because I love you. I see the price, I see what you've done, I see how much of love you've poured out. God, I want to say this to you. I give to you my heart, ignite it." Then I ask God that you would pour your Holy Spirit. Ignite me, ignite something in me. Church, how many would say that to the Lord? Would you say it by just lifting your hand to the Lord? Just raise your hand to the Lord and just say that. "I offer to you my soul ignited. Meet me, God. Pour out your Holy Spirit. Ignite my heart. God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon my life."

Father, thank you so much for the love that you have revealed, the love that you have shown. We honor you and thank you. In Jesus' name. Everyone said?
Congregation: Amen.

2 Samuel 24:8-25    NASB

8 So when they had roamed about through the whole land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 And Joab gave the number of the census of the people to the king: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

10 Now David’s heart [a]troubled him after he had counted the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, Lord, please [b]overlook the guilt of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 11 When David got up in the morning, the word of the Lord came to Gad the prophet, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and speak to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: “I am imposing upon you three choices; choose for yourself one of them, and I will do it to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee for three months before your enemies while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ of plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

15 So the Lord [c]sent a plague upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 16 When the angel extended his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented of the disaster and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now drop your hand!” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house!”

18 So Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of [d]Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 Then David went up in accordance with the word of Gad, just as the Lord had commanded. 20 And Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants crossing over toward him; so Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground before the king. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the Lord, so that the plague may be [e]withdrawn from the people.” 22 Araunah then said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what is good in his sight. Look, here are the oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23 Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God be favorable to you.” 24 However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will certainly buy it from you for a price; for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God [f]that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 Then David built there an altar to the Lord, and he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord responded to prayer for the land, and the plague was [g]withdrawn from Israel.

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