The numbers signify a great purpose, power, the handiwork of Jehovah the Lord of battles. We live in a democracy; currently we vote for government at five different levels, town, county, principality, country and continent. We pay for those politicians at all those levels, and so we are used to seeing electoral rolls, and watching the votes being counted, and the returning officer announcing the results and then seeing where the power lies. The choice of the most powerful man in the world ultimately hung on the votes of a few thousand people in Florida. We are obsessed with numbers, percentages and swings in the polls.
Biblical numbers, 7 days, 12 tribes, 10 plagues, 40 days, or 40 years, all signify an encapsulation of the matter being considered in a bigger context, that of creation, fall and redemption, of the kingdom of God. It is a redemptive code meaning that all that was necessary to meet the needs of the people had been supplied.
So, when David sought to affirm and ground his kingship and power in a distorted use of number, he aspired to seat himself on the throne of God, to grasp the prerogative of the one and only King.
“Repent … That I May Heal You”
Further it was the fighting men alone who were counted, as if their numbers lent some guarantee to the defense of a king who claimed to serve the Lord of hosts. He looks on the heart, on obedience, on growth in understanding and wisdom, never on numerical growth. If we really trust him he brings it to pass; we need no bigness, no statistics to prove that he is with us. The professing church today is very different.
Living by faith is never in what human pride puffs up, mega this and mega that. That all testifies to mini-faith. This was one of the more notorious sins of David recorded for us in the Scriptures. It was not the first time for David to commit a notorious sin.
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He had infamously taken the wife of Uriah, a woman named Bathsheba, while her husband was away fighting for his nation. David had planned the death of Uriah that he might marry his wife. She had become pregnant, and once Uriah was dead David could marry her just before the baby was born. It was in fact about nine months defying God in both cases. What does it tell us? They took their guilt into the bushes and hid away from God.
What have you done? For months you could look at King David, as commander in chief Joab scrutinized him. What would you think if you were him? Can he be a true believer? Has he ever truly cried to God for mercy for his own sins? Is David any different from King Saul from whom the Lord withdrew permanently? How dangerous to be a king. I am glad the Lord did not make me a king or I might lose my own soul. If that is the case you would have no confidence in believing that David was a true believer. Do true followers of the Lord stir up a nation in order to boost their own egos?
Only God knew of his future repentance. To our gaze at that moment both Peter and Judas seemed the same, deniers of their Lord. We have no reason to believe that either one was a believer. You see how this psalm begins? For nine months David was ignoring God. To lose the smile of God, to lose the fellowship of God is the greatest loss that David can endure. There is nothing more important than God. Sometimes when we are at our weakest — recovering from an operation in the intensive Care ward — that is all we can pray. The rebuke of God has done it; the discipline of God. This entire psalm expresses the misery of a man who has been suffering from a sense of guilt which in the end overwhelmed him and almost killed him.
Please stop disciplining me in your wrath.
Repentance is a restoration to the good
David is having a wretched time as a believer; he is not a happy Old Testament Christian, and the problem is not merely that David has erected a wall and is sitting behind it away from God in a personal pity-party, and that is all. It is not that he needs to change his attitude to God. God was actively rebuking David. I mean admonishing him, plainly and coldly bringing to David what he had done, and not stopping.
God was angry with him. God was disciplining him. God was showing his wrath towards him. It was not the case that God was simply smiling away on and on at David every time David had a big fall. He is rebuking us; he is chastening us in his wrath, and we feel it. God intends us to feel worn out from groaning, and to flood the bed with our weeping, and drench the settee with tears.
This grief would not end for David while he was refusing to repent. His bones were in agony, and his soul was in anguish vv. David had no peace; he had proudly gone ahead and taken a census to discover just how big his own army was, and then peace went out and anguish came in. David describes his condition so personally. That is the result of David defying God. The way of the transgressor is hard.
David is worn out; David is groaning; David makes the bed wet with his tears as he weeps from dusk until dawn. This is the rebuke and discipline of God. I am saying that God did all that to David. God brings such misery in order to end our rebellion and self-centredness.
O LORD, how long? There can be no real conversion without some awareness that you are a sinner and that you need to turn from your sin to Jesus Christ the Saviour. When God comes near — when Jesus Christ pours out his Holy Spirit in power — people invariably experience an awareness that God is holiness and their own worthlessness. This was certainly true of the initial outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
A big crowd gathered. Some of the listeners were curious. Others mocked. The apostle Peter then spoke to the crowd. He told the people that although they helped crucify Jesus, God had raised him from the dead. God had given him the highest place in heaven as Lord and Messiah.
Repentance is a restoration to the good | Deseret News
When the Lord comes in power and addresses people who have been at odds with him, they are cut to the heart. In fact, it may be the most painful and terrifying feeling a person can have, apart from actually being banished to hell. His holiness shows your sin. His light shows your darkness. God is bringing you to repentance. God is rebuking you, and chastening you, and disciplining you. In other words, God is not ignoring you. Can there be anything worse than being ignored by the Lord? God came and cut him to the heart. A poet who repented of his sins and became a Christian put it this way.
He said the God of love shot all his golden arrows at him, but none of those arrows ever pierced the heart. What a picture of how God works! God makes himself the arrow and hits the target which no other arrow could reach. He came and he convicted you of sin and righteousness and judgment, and your heart broke and your life was changed. Now is the time to do this. Soon our lives will be over and we will be buried alongside all the other corpses. Who will preach the gospel of the mighty works of Christ from his coffin as he rots in the ground?
Another year has come and you are nearer that grave, and still you are a stranger to repentance. But let me close by telling you of the king who repented a second time. Tears endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning, and so it was for David. The God who broke his heart healed his heart. David did not cry in vain; the Lord heard and the Lord accepted David again. They had all thought that David was doomed to disgrace but through his repentance he had received mercy and deliverance.
Just like Israel, all of us are characterized by at times tepid love and distracted glances. Our focus for the Lord and His purposes is tested by the desires of our own heart and the business of the world.
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God has always acted on the behalf of those who trust in Him v He acknowledges the past and ongoing transgressions of Israel that has brought them under judgment, but is encouraged to recall the relationship that God has with His people v 9. Israel belonged to God. They were created by Him and destined for a holy purpose. God foreknew His people, directing and orchestrating the means to bring us into relationship with Him Romans Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross to bring us into this family relationship. This purpose will still include trouble and correction, but is based on relationship of persevering covenant love.
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