Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. This strange ending of 2 Samuel leaves you with one major point. David is not the king that we've been searching for. We need a king who will not sin against his people, but a king who will die in their place for their sin. And that role cannot be played by Moses or David.
It can only be filled by Jesus Christ. He is the king that we have been searching for. Welcome back to another week of teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. So we've all read the prophecies where Jesus Christ is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament, especially this time of year. But it's not just seen in prophecies. It's also in viewing the failures of human leaders and felt in the longings of God's people. Today, Pastor J.D. continues our series on the life of King David with a message about one of David's most egregious mistakes. As we listen, we'll discover why Israel was still searching for a king, even though David was a man after God's own heart. If you missed the beginning of this sermon, I just wanted to remind you that you can always hear previous broadcasts at our website, jdgreer.com.
Let's jump back in. If you have a Bible, I would love for you to pull that out and open it to 2 Samuel 24. Basically, the deal is this. David sends out a command that he wants his people to number all of the fighting men in Israel, both those that are currently in the army as enlisted men, as well as those who are eligible for the draft. But David's heart struck him after he had numbered the people, and David said to the Lord, I have sinned greatly in what I've done, but now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very, very foolishly.
Now, I am going to give you an explanation for why I think this was so wrong. He wants to know how many fighting men he's got because he wants to see how well they're going to do when somebody attacks them. He said, well, what's wrong with that? God had promised to take care of them. And so the David that used to say it doesn't matter how big the giant is because God fights for us, that David's not there anymore. And now he's like, yeah, that was me when I was a teenager, but now I got responsibilities and I got bills to pay and I got a kingdom to run.
So it's all going to come down to how big that army is so there's a lack of faith. He should have been delighting in God. He should have been trusting in God, and he should have had his eyes on God's grace, not on the potential conquest of other nations.
Here is the irony. The irony is 2 Samuel ends with David repeating the same sin that opened 1 Samuel. Israel's first sin going into 1 Samuel was that they wanted a king to replace God as their security and their treasure. Now, David wants an army to replace God as his security and treasure. Verse 11, when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad.
God says to Gad, go and say to David, thus says God, three things I offer you, choose one of them that I may do it to you. Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days pestilence in your land? Now consider and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me, namely God. And so David chooses the pestilence, the plague to come upon the land for three days, and it tells you that within three days 70,000 people died.
Now it is passages like this one that are precisely what keeps some people from believing the Old Testament could possibly be from God, aren't they? Did you see why? There were a number of problems some of you probably noticed as we went through there, and there's probably some more that you didn't even notice.
I see five of them. Number one, 2 Samuel 24 says that God moved David to count the fighting men. You know, that's kind of a problem, but then it gets even worse because if you read, get this, the parallel account in 1 Chronicles, when the author of Chronicles tells the same story, he says, chapter 21, 1, then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.
Uh-oh. I mean, is it Satan or is it God? Here's your second problem. You see, another thing you'll notice if you study the 1 Chronicles account is that there's a discrepancy in the number of people that get reported. 2 Samuel 24 says that in the northern states there were 800,000, whereas 1 Chronicles 21 says that there were 1.1 million. So people will point to this and they're like, well, clearly, there's a contradiction here.
The Bible can't possibly be written by God because God could count. Here's the third objection people give. They're like, well, wasn't this punishment like an overreaction? I mean, come on. People read, you know, that God sent this big plague in response to David counting the people, and they feel like, you know, I mean, at best God's a little cranky here.
Fourth question. Well, what about the innocent? David commits the sin, right? But the people are the one who pay. This brings up the whole question of human suffering. People ask, why do innocent people suffer when they haven't done anything wrong?
And most people have this attitude. They're like, God, why are all these bad things happening to us good people? And the Bible actually turns that on its head and says, no, why are all these good things happening to you bad people? The fact that you and I took a breath this morning, the fact that we have family, the fact that we are alive is mercy. If you understand what the Bible says about the penalty for our sin, a sin that you and I have all participated in, a rebellion against God, the fact that we got up today, the fact that God gives us another chance to repent, the fact that you and I are alive or have any good things is the mercy of God.
And it requires a complete re-engineering of your thinking because when you have that, you don't have the same questions you used to have. What is surprising is not the severity of God's judgment. What is surprising is the magnitude of his mercy. Jesus one time, most politically incorrect conversation he ever had, one of the most shocking scenes of Jesus in the Bible. You know, there's this tower in Jerusalem that fell and killed 18 people. And the people asked Jesus like, hey, were those 18 people just more wicked than everybody else?
Like God saw all 18 of them together at the same time and thought now's my chance and just matched them with the tower? Is that what was going on? Jesus' response, Luke chapter 13 was, no. What he said next, I'm telling you, is so, I mean, this is not gentle, meek and mild, precious moments Jesus, you know, with a little fuzzy, you know, robe that you can rub in your body.
This is not him. He looks back at them and he says, yeah, that's not really what's happening. You see, the truth is, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Uh-oh. You know what he just said?
Let me translate that for you. You're sitting around asking why that tower fell on these 18 people. The question you ought to be asking is why didn't that tower fall on you? Because when you understand things from God's perspective, when you see the magnitude of the sin that you and I have committed, what is surprising to us is mercy, not judgment. What is surprising to us is how much grace that God has given us. So that's the first point I'm trying to make to you is that the people are not innocent.
But you're like, okay, well, yeah, yeah, yeah. But there were many people who were innocent of that particular sin. I mean, David's the one who did it. So that leads me to the second point I will make about this. And that is that this is not the ultimate judgment. From God's perspective, I'm going to say from God's perspective, the ultimate judgment is in heaven.
And that's the only one that really matters. There may have been people that were innocent of this particular sin that got swept up in this judgment. But God will not hold them responsible in eternity for a sin they did not commit.
And that's the judgment that really matters. You can kind of just look at this like God is collecting these people early, after which they'll be judged by God in eternity for only their deeds. Now, listen, you and I could never, ever, ever use that line of reasoning to justify violence against the innocent on our part. Because we're not God.
For us, only the people who did the crime should get the punishment. But God, who reigns in eternity and sees justice from that dimension, God who sees all time as if it were all in one moment can do things like that. And we not accuse him of injustice because he sees all the spans of eternity in one single instance.
One more thing on this before I move on to our fifth and our last issue. And that is that David says something at the end of this that reveals an understanding about God that you and I, when we finally see things clearly, will also say, verse 14, Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great, but let me not fall into the hand of a man. The Bible, listen, consistently maintains in the presence of suffering, that God is much more merciful and more gracious than any of us would ever be. You, your mom, your grandma, Mother Teresa, God is much more merciful. And when you and I finally see things clearly, what will amaze us is not the severity of God's justice, what will amaze us is the magnitude of his mercy. One of the reasons that you and I think that the judgments of God are harsh is because we have no concept of how wicked our sin is against God. And when we finally see that clearly, what surprises us is how gracious God has been to us. If you had to fall into the hands of men or the hands of God, you should always choose the hands of God.
That's what David holds on to. I realize that for some of you, you have trouble making sense of the world with that statement, the statement, you know, that God is more merciful, more gracious than any of us would ever be. So let me give you a way that, I've used this before with you, but here's how I think about this. Remember back in geometry class? You remember for some of you it's quite a while, taking you back to some days you don't want to go back into, right? But remember in geometry class, that was a completely unusual type of math class because up until that point in my life, whenever I was given a math problem, I was always given the problem, I had to go home and come up with the answer. Now I'm getting the answer, I have to go home and figure out the problem. That's called a geometry proof.
You remember this? Well, eventually I got to where I trusted my teacher and I would go home and it wouldn't work out, but I'd keep pressing on it. I'd keep working at it and eventually I would figure out the axioms that led me down to that final answer. All right, the reason I'm telling you that is because that's what I've learned to do with God as well. There are many things that God says about Himself, like, listen, I'm more merciful and more gracious than anyone you could ever imagine. And I look and say, but God, well, why would you do this?
And it doesn't make sense to me. And so what I do is I believe what God reveals about Himself, even when I can't make sense of some of the reasoning to get there because I'm not God and there's probably a lot of stuff that I'm not seeing leading up to that. You see, God's compassion, God's character was once for all measured for me and put on display at the cross of Jesus Christ. That's where I see how God feels when it comes to me. That's where I see how in control God is. That's where I see the character and the beauty of God put on display. And when I can't understand what God is doing in other places, I hang on to what was revealed to me about God in the cross. That's what David does, is he holds on to a truth about God, even when he can't understand a lot of the things that are going on.
And that's what's going to happen with you as well. The King's presence isn't hard to come by. It's an ever-present offer in the person of Jesus. Our newest resource is titled He is Here, and it includes 25 Advent devotionals for the month of December. Take the time during this Christmas season to remember the real reason we celebrate. It's God with us. Receive it with your gift to the ministry right now by giving us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at jdgrier.com. Now, let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching on Summit Life. Here's Pastor JD. Here's number five, the fifth one.
This is kind of where this whole thing's been heading. I don't like the Old Testament God, right? People feel like the Old Testament is God in his JV years.
He's cranky. Yeah, God got saved in the New Testament and became gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Well, to answer that, let me show you how God acts in this story in the same exact way that he does in the New Testament.
It's the exact same thing. I'll show you this. God forgives David of his sin in this story for two reasons, and these are the exact two reasons people get forgiven in the New Testament. A, he repented of his idol. David repented of his idol. Did you see verse 14? David said, let me not fall into the hands of men, but let me fall in the hands of God.
What's he just said? He said, it's safer. The best place to be is in the hands of God because God is a much better source of protection. He's a much better source of mercy, and he's a much more of a delighting satisfaction than anywhere else I could be. He repented of his idol. Whenever people come to Christ, they repent of their idols and what they delight in and trust in more than God, and they return to God. That's the first reason God forgave David because he repented of his idol. Second reason God forgave David, the gospel. Let me show you this.
Go back to your text there. Look at verse 16. And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented. That word relented in Hebrew is a word that means compassion. It means he was grieved. It means something in God's soul, if you could call it that, was churned up within him and he saw it and he was grieved from the calamity and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, it's enough.
Stop. Now state your hand. And the angel of the Lord, it tells you where he was, was by the threshing floor of Ari and I, the Jebusite. Verse 17, then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people and said, behold, I'm the one who sinned.
I'm the one who did wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand be against me and against my father's house. So then Gad comes back to David and says, all right, God has stopped. God has grieved. God is showing compassion. He forgives. And so he wants you, here's the message from God. He wants you to buy, catch this, the threshing floor where he stopped and was grieved.
And this is where it gets really good. Because what you find out later, Second Chronicles chapter three, is that threshing floor that belonged to Ari and I, the Jebusite, was called Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah was the place where Abraham had offered Isaac or tried to offer Isaac that became a promise that God would one day send a ram to die in the place of Israel so that Israel could walk free and the ram would be put to death in Isaac's place, in Israel's place. Second Chronicles three tells you that that very spot on this threshing floor is where Solomon built the temple, which is where for the next 800, 900 years, sacrifices are going to be offered, the lamb sacrifices of blood that are all going to point forward to the coming of a lamb who would die once for all for the sins of all the people.
You see what just happened? God comes to this place, this threshing floor, and he looks down through history and he sees that on this place you are going to commemorate the sacrifice of the Messiah for the sins of the people and God has grieved. He's grieved with love for his people. He is grieved thinking about how Jesus is going to die in their place and God says enough, stop it. And God forgives. You see how verse 17 David says let your hand be against the shepherd but these sheep what have they done punish me. That was something David couldn't do because he had his own sin but at that field God looked down through history and saw the shepherd who really would be smitten for the sheep and he forgave.
So let me bring all this to a close for you. This strange ending of second Samuel leaves you with one major point. David is not the king that we've been searching for. There is another. David's story in second Samuel ends by him committing the very sin that had started this whole thing.
We've come full circle. They wanted a king to replace God. He now wants an army to replace God. Do you know that many of the Old Testament books end in exactly the same way?
It's really strange but once you see it you'll start to see it everywhere. Moses, for example, Moses. Moses is the law giver, right? Moses's story ends by Moses breaking the law and because of that being unable to go into the Promised Land.
Nehemiah in the Bible. So in the last chronologically historical things that happens in the Old Testament, Nehemiah is the great rebuilder of Jerusalem after it's been destroyed, rebuilds the temple and the book of Nehemiah, Ezra and Nehemiah ends with this pathetic scene where all the old people, all the old people are standing around this temple and this wall they just built and they all start crying. They're like, why are you crying? Because it's not nearly as pretty as the first one. They remember they'd seen the first one. Talk about Debbie Downer.
I mean here they are, it's like, oh it looks terrible. I remember the first one was a lot better than this and the book of Nehemiah ends with this question of, really? That's it? That's the restoration of Jerusalem? David.
David's life ends with him committing the exact same sin that began this whole thing. The whole message of the Old Testament is we need a lawgiver that not only keeps the law but can redeem us when we break it. We need a builder who will build a glorious eternal kingdom that can never be shaken. We need a shepherd who will not abuse his sheep but a shepherd who will die for them. We need a father who will not neglect his children like Absalom but will pursue them to the point of death and lay down his life for them. We need a king who will not sin against his people but a king who will die in their place for their sin. And that role cannot be played by Moses or Nehemiah or David.
It can only be filled by Jesus Christ, God's Son. He is the king that we have been searching for. See some of you all your life, all your life you've heard these stories and the message has always been, be like David, be like Moses, dare to be a Daniel.
Yeah, really? You want to be like David? I mean David did some cool stuff. There's certainly some things that we can emulate from him but David was a terrible father. David was a bad husband.
David failed as a king. The point of David's life and Moses life and Daniel's life is not to be like them. They are to point you to hope and a savior who works a salvation that is great enough for them and great enough for you. And that's good news for some of you, especially those of you who have lost your way and made a mess out of things because that means the point is not your perfect record. The point is the great salvation that God can work in and through you. Some of you feel so beat up because you have failed.
You feel so beat up because of the mess you've made of things. The whole point is look to Jesus. Jesus is the king we're searching for.
I am not in these messages trying to give you an example to emulate. I'm not trying to stuff your head full of Bible facts. I'm trying to get you to save Jesus because what you need is a savior. A savior who can change your heart. A savior who can forgive you where you have failed. A savior who can make all things new.
I've told you this before but the goal of a lecture is that you leave with information. The goal of a motivational speech is that you leave with action steps but the goal of a sermon is that you leave worshiping. Worshipping Jesus.
Not filled with exhortations about what you need to go do for him but standing in hushed awe because of what he has done for you. That's the goal of a sermon. If I just give you Jesus as an example, if I give you David as an example, then you're going to feel proud when you're doing well but disgustingly bad and like a failure when you've messed up. But if you see that Jesus was the savior it will both humble you because you see what he had to go through for you but then fill you with hope because you'll see what he can recreate through you at the same time. Religion, messages that tell you be like David, dare to be a Daniel, they're always going to produce one of two things, pride and despair.
You're proud when you're doing it well and you feel like crud when you're doing bad. The gospel fills you with opposites of those, it fills you with humility. This is what Christ had to do for you because you couldn't do it on yourself, nobody could do it.
And then it fills you with hope because you see in the resurrection what God can do in your life and in your marriage. Some of you your lives are as messed up as David is. Good news, the point is not David, the point is Jesus. You see what a beautiful picture that 2 Samuel leaves you with? 2 Samuel ends with Israel suffering because of the sins of their king but it points you forward to the coming of the king who will suffer for the sins of his people. Israel died for David's sins, Jesus would die for ours. The whole point of 2 Samuel is to show you that whatever king you choose will let you down.
Maybe it's a spouse, maybe it's money, maybe it's romance, maybe it's a drug. Whatever king you choose will leave you in the exact same spot that David left the people of Israel. But there is another, there is a king, Jesus. He's the only king, listen, that if you obtain him will actually satisfy your soul and he's the only king that if you fail him will die for you to forgive you. He is the king you've been searching for. Is Jesus your king?
There's no need to look any further. He's ready and he's waiting for you to personally crown him right now. If you've never turned your life over to him, get in touch with us today and we'll walk you through what it means to become a follower of Christ.
Reach us by phone when you call 866-335-5220 or click the contact button when you go to JDCreer.com. J.D., we have a great Advent devotional that we're offering this month to our faithful listeners. Did you write this resource like you do most of our others? I did not actually write this particular resource.
It's incredible. But Chris Pappalardo, a guy I've worked with now for over a decade, has been helping me hone some of these ideas and helping shape some of the words. He makes them clearer and more compelling.
I sometimes joke that his one-line job description is to make me sound smarter. He's a gift to me and to our church. And so in reflection on the preaching and teaching we do here at Summit Life, he's the one that's authored these devotionals. And this short little Advent devotional book, he is here. It will be a blessing to you because his writing really is a gift.
Chris is one of those people that likes to kind of stay out of the line light. His attitude is, I just want to help people connect with Jesus. And so he would be the first to tell you that the true gift of this 25-day Advent devotional has nothing to do with him or with me. It's got everything to do with the hero of these stories, and that's Jesus.
What you're going to see through these devotionals is you'll see how central God's presence is, not only in the Christmas season but in the entire story of the Bible, that God is not distant, that he's not absent, that God is here. Take a look now. I think it'll bless you. Go to jdgrier.com. Thanks, JD. We can get you a copy of He is Here written by our friend Chris Pappalardo today along with our thanks when you donate to support this program. Summit Life is kept on the radio and online by listeners like you. So when you're hearing our program, you've got another listener to thank for the message.
Give today and remember to ask for the 25-day Advent devotional. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or you can donate and request your copy online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovich inviting you to join us again Tuesday right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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