Today’s Scripture: David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell face down.
David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted?…LORD my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.” Then the angel of the LORD ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite…
While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves…
David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price. Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him.”…
But king David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the LORD and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.
Then the LORD spoke to the angel and he put his sword back in its sheath…
The tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD. (I Chronicles 21:16-30.)
What a scene of holiness and divine judgment! David did evil in the sight of God and God brought judgment on the whole nation of Israel. We cannot explain this divine act. Was there some form of “national sin” that God intended to deal with? Our limited minds can never question the righteousness of the omniscient God who knows everything. David appealed to God to spare the people since he was the one who had sinned and the rest of the nation was innocent. God graciously listened and asked him to offer a sacrifice which halted the divine judgment.
Two things should not escape us:
First, God opened the eyes of both David and Araunah to see the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. This picture of the happenings in the heavenlies tells us that we should constantly be mindful of the fact that there is always spiritual activity going on that we have absolutely no idea about. We must constantly pray and ask God for forgiveness, mercy and protection.
Second, this experience of divine judgment caused David to develop a healthy fear of God.
The Bible says:’ “The tabernacle of the LORD which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of the LORD, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD.” David the man after God’s own heart; the man who could sit and chat with God intimately; David the Psalmist was now afraid to enter the house of God. He now had a different understanding of the holiness and judgment of God. That is the healthy fear that the Almighty God wants each of us to have for Him. We must never take our relationship with God for granted. We must reverence God in absolute holiness.
Prayer: Father, may my understanding of your righteousness and holiness be deepened from this moment on. May I have a healthy fear of who you truly are so that I can worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.