National Leaders – (1) It is vitally important for national leaders do what is right. Lives are literally in the balance. (2) The Lord God will bring judgment on a nation through its national leaders decisions. (3) People must maintain a right relationship with God. But perhaps most importantly (4) How the leader responds to havoc and doing wrong will stop the plague, or allow it to continue.

DAVID THE KING
By Delbert Young

National Leaders Bring A Nation’s Judgment

national leaders

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National Leaders Bring A Nation’s Judgment

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Scriptures: Job 32:9, 1 Chronicles 21:1, 2 Samuel 24:1, Isaiah 54:16-17, 2 Samuel 15:13, 20:1-2, 1 Chronicles 20:2, 21:3-4, James 4:17, 2 Samuel 24:10, 12-14, 15, 16, 2 Samuel 24:18, 1 Chronicles 21:24, 2 Samuel 24:25, 1 Chronicles 22:1

We have the assumption that getting older causes us to become wiser and when people are older and wiser, they stop sinning and making huge mistakes. Well, actually… help me finish this saying, “There is no fool like an old _________?” (fool) Sadly, that is true. Getting older definitely does not mean a person is getting wiser.

(TMB) Job 32:9 The experts have no corner on wisdom; getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense.

Another fallacy is if a person walks with God and serves God for a long time, he or she will resist sin. The truth is age neither removes the desire to sin, nor, in and of age itself, gives us the wisdom to not sin. Walking and serving the Lord for decades does not make us immune to sin. It is impossible to be old enough, or love God enough to be immune to sins appeal. Even Jesus was tempted like as we are (Heb 4:15). He never sinned, but what tempted Jesus wasn’t a temptation if not appealing. I have witnessed the hardest falls by some saints who served God the longest and climbed the highest.

In today’s lesson, David is nearing the end of his life. He is getting old. He has served God all his life. The aforementioned applies to David, but things get much more complicated than David sinning because he is old and served the Lord all his life. I want to help us see something else and far different than you have most likely heard before. It’s going to be difficult to deal with because it’s never addressed, it’s contrary to everything we “think.” So, hang with me and listen hard and if you don’t get it, just say, “Bless him Lord. He is trying.” We read…

1 Chronicles 21:1 SATAN rose up against ISRAEL and INCITED DAVID to take a census of Israel.

If Satan was involved in it, numbering Israel was wrong. That’s nothing new. Everyone knows Satan incitespeople to sin. Now let’s read the parallel passage in 2 Samuel 24:1.

2 Samuel 24:1 AGAIN the anger of the LORD burned AGAINST ISRAEL, and he [LORD] INCITED DAVID against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

Now who is inciting David to number the people? The LORD. What’s up with that? Was it the Lord inciting or was it Satan inciting? The answer is “Yes.”

Remember, “Judah” was the southern area of the nation and “Israel” was the northern area. The Lord was angry with Israel. Interestingly the word incited in 2 Samuel 24:1 is the Hebrew word cuwth meaning to prick, i.e. stimulate; by impl. to seduce. We have talked about this. The Lord uses Satan to bring judgment on a nation.

Isaiah 54:16-17 See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I WHO HAVE CREATED THE DESTROYER TO WORK HAVOC; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me, declares the LORD.

The Lord uses Satan to do as a blacksmith to fan coals into flames and then forge weapons. It’s God who created the destroyer to work havoc. When there is havoc going on, step back and observe. It’s Satan, but God is in there someplace. Another point here is if you are a servant of the Lord, havoc can be going on all around you, but not prevail against you.

As I wrote these notes, I couldn’t help but think about America. There is some havoc going on right now in America and the world. Economic havoc… Wars… Fuel prices affecting the price of everything… Housing…. Job market… We are about to elect a new president and new world leader. Keep this in mind as we study our lesson today.

Notice that 2 Samuel 24:1 AGAIN the anger of the LORD burned AGAINST ISRAEL. Again is important. The Lord is merciful, but when a nation or person continues to do something wrong/sin, watch out! It was specifically Israel, not Judah, with whom the Lord’s anger burned. We see some of what Israel did.

Many Israelites sided with Absalom in his plan to overthrow David and take the kingdom.

2 Samuel 15:13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the MEN OF ISRAEL are with Absalom.”

The Lord God placed David as king and when the Lord God was done with David, the Lord would remove him. The people of Israel did not learn that lesson with Absalom. It happened again.

2 Samuel 20:1-2 Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, “We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, O Israel!” SO ALL THE MEN OF ISRAEL DESERTED DAVID to follow Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

Watch out for troublemakers. Notice that all of Israel deserted David… but the men of Judah stayed by their king. It was Israel at whom the Lord’s anger burned. Sheba was eventually decapitated (2Sa 20:22). It’s always bad to come against what God has placed.

Within a space of only about 3 years, there were two major attempts by Israel to overthrow David. Under David, the nation increased in size by ten times. All the nation’s enemies, even the Philistines, were beaten back. Israel was a formidable and respected foe under David’s leadership. David also began a great commerce trade. Under David, the nation went from a little nothing nation to a mighty nation. Israel did not appreciate David who was God’s anointed.

Did David have some faults? We know he did. David, at this time, seemed to be thinking a little higher of “himself” than he ought. He is now sporting a huge crown taken from the head of an Ammonite king.

1 Chronicles 20:2 David took the crown from the head of their king – its weight was found to be a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones – and it was placed on David’s head.

David defeated enemy after enemy including the Philistines and the relatives and decedents of Goliath (1Ch 20:8). He took much plunder making the nation rich, but also becoming extraordinarily rich himself. He lived in his palace. He had many wives and concubines. David climbed to a dangerous place where his word was final and accountable to no one. National leaders bring a nation’s prosperity.

So, a huge crown, defeat of huge giants, huge victories, huge wealth, huge kingdom, no accountability, and I fear, a huge head filled with self-importance sat upon David’s neck to fit that huge crown. Add to all that, David’s family was a mess and we see that David had many faults, but he was God’s ordained leader.

The Lord God’s anger burned toward Israel, so the Lord, using Satan, provoked David to take a census. What’s wrong with taking a census? David was the king. Didn’t he have that right? I mean, the entire book of Numbers is nothing but Moses numbering the people when they came out of Egypt. Do the scriptures ever say, “Thou shall not number the people”? No. The deal is God told Moses to number the people (Num 1:2). For whatever reason, this census was a wrong thing to do! Even Joab, David’s general, knew it was wrong.

1 Chronicles 21:3-4 But Joab replied, “May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

Here’s the point. There are times when it might not say, “Thou shalt not…” You simply know it’s wrong and therefore sin.

James 4:17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

By doing it anyway, you bring guilt on yourself and others.

David numbered the people knowing it was wrong and havoc happened. 70,000 people died and untold thousands were affected by David’s decision. Let’s see how this worked out.

2 Samuel 24:10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

David’s conscience bothered him. That’s why David was a man after God’s heart. He was sensitive to God. He wasn’t perfect, but he was sensitive to God.

How sensitive is your heart? Sometimes we do things we know we just shouldn’t do. When we are people after God’s heart, our conscience will not leave us alone if we mess up. Still, there are consequences to doing wrong/sin even if you love God as David loved God.

God sent Gad the prophet to David.

2 Samuel 24:12-14 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.'” So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, THINK IT OVER and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.” David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. LET US FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”

This is the only place in scripture I am aware when someone is given the opportunity to choose the consequences for wrong. Wouldn’t it be a great prevention of sin if we could see the consequences of our actions before we did them? If we could think over the sorrow, grief, devastation, and the numbers of people affected, caused by that one sin, we would never sin… or would we?

David had three options: three years, three months, or three days. David said, “I’m not going to decide except to not fall into the hands of men. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord.”

2 Samuel 24:15 So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. Seventy thousand people died throughout the nation.

SEVENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE DIED. I wish we realized how wrong decisions we make and sin we commit will affect other people. David felt responsible, but remember 2 Samuel 24:1 said the Lord was angry with Israel. The Lord judged a nation through its national leaders.

Could it be, just could it one day be written, “Again the anger of the LORD burned against America, and he incited ­­________________ against them to…”?

1 Chronicles 21:16 David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on sackcloth to show their distress and fell down with their faces to the ground.

Sackcloth was letting everyone and anyone know you are unashamedly seeking God. That’s the kind of national leaders and leadership we need. We need leaders who are willing to seek God unashamedly. David and his cabinet began to fast and pray. What’s wrong with our national leaders unashamedly openly seeking God?

2 Samuel 24:18 On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and BUILD AN ALTAR to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

David was to build an altar at a specific site – a threshing floor belonging to Araunah a Jebusite (2Sa 24:18). David needed an altar – place to worship and sacrifice – to stop the plague. It amazes me as I watch people, when “plagues” come into their lives and lives of those they love, stop going to their altar. They stop going to church, stop giving, stop praying, stop praising and worshiping. That’s the time to build an altar fresh and new, not stop. I wonder if America has any national leaders who would do this. Watch what happened.

David went to Araunah and requested to buy it at full price. Araunah offered it to David free. Here is what the man after God’s heart replied.

1 Chronicles 21:24 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.”

David understood that offering and sacrifice must cost. If it doesn’t cost, it isn’t a sacrifice. Many never grasp that truth. They give if they have extra never understanding we are to give to God first. So many want to give that which “costs me nothing.” Then wonder why God doesn’t stop plagues in their lives.

2 Samuel 24:25 David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.THEN THE LORD ANSWERED PRAYER in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

We need to learn from this. The Lord responds to a heart that understands the cost of offering and sacrifice. Also, we don’t like to think about it, but when things are going weird in our lives, we need to take a look at our offerings and sacrifice. One of the very first things my wife asks me when things go crazy is, “Are you giving our tithes and offerings?”

David was obedient and the plague stopped. What stopped it? Fasting and seeking God. David’s obedience to build the altar. Offering and sacrifice to the Lord.

We see (1) It is vitally important for a national leaders to do what is right. Lives are literally in the balance. (2) The Lord God will bring judgment on a nation through its leader(s) decisions. (3) People must maintain a right relationship with God. But perhaps most importantly (4) How the leader responds to havoc and doing wrong will stop the plague, or allow it to continue.

What have we learned today? (1) There’s no fool like an old fool. You are never too old, too wise, or love God too much that Satan will not incite you if he can. (2) When havoc is happening, look around. God is in there somewhere. (3) Godly and sensitive national leaders are vitally important. Even when they mess up, they will seek God and bring an end to plagues. (4) When plagues come into your life, fast, pray, build anew your altar, and give sacrificially.

1 Chronicles 22:1 Then David said, “The house of the LORD God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”

It was at that spot – the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite – the Temple of God stood – the temple Solomon built. A nation’s plague can turn into a nation’s temple for God if national leaders handle plagues correctly. Your plagues will turn into your temple, but you must handle them correctly.

Our nation is at a critical place. There seems to be multiple plagues. I want to ask you a question. Could some of the plagues be due to how many Americans rebel against God’s anointed leader? Is there judgment now with plagues coming? What is about to happen in America? We need to put on our sackcloth, fast, and seek God.You know I am not a “doom and gloom” preacher, but for the first time, I fear for America.

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