These should be familiar stories to you. I have mentioned this before, but I will do so again. Chronicles is written for a different purpose than Samuel and there will be some differences. One author will stress one thing and the other another. In today's reading there are two significant omissions. One is the absence of the Bathsheba story and the other is the absence of Absalom's rebellion against his father. Both of these had prominent places in Samuel's history, but they are absent from Ezra's story. The reason is that Ezra is writing about the centrality of the Temple in Israel and to extol its significance. The stories of David's failures are of less importance to his reason for writing.
The census that David commands to be taken of all men suitable for the army is mentioned again as a great sin. The sin is not that the census is wrong....it is the motivation for the census. David is taking undue pride in his army and their victories rather than continuing to praise God for his presence and his giving them the victory! It was David's motivation that was sinful. What is our motivation for the things that we are doing? Is it personal pride? Is it greed or vanity? God wants us to trust in him for all of our needs. He wants us to rely on him as our primary source of strength, hope and joy. All that we experience that is good is ultimately a gift from God. We are better than we deserve because of God's influence and it is to him that we owe our praise and thanksgiving.
The consequence of David's sin was a plague on the people of Israel. 70,000 died because of his arrogance. We should never forget that our sin always affects others. When we repent of our sin and ask God for forgiveness, he forgives quickly; but the human consequence continues. An accident caused by our carelessness results in property or human loss. God will forgive our error, but the consequence continues.
And then another mention of David's building of the altar on the threshing floor of Araunah. David offers to buy the threshing floor to build the altar on but Araunah seeks to make a gift of it. David insists on paying explaining, "I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing." Our sacrifices (offerings) have little meaning to God unless they cost us something. If we are only giving our left over time, talent, money; it counts for little. God wants our best and our first fruits as evidence of our trust in him for our every need. What are you sacrificing as proof of your love and trust?
The Logos Easter program is this evening at 7:00 p.m. Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday with it's special service also at 7 p.m. Friday will be marked with our Good Friday worship service. Hope you will be able to include one of these in your Easter celebration. Each one tells a piece of the story of God's great love for us as Jesus makes his journey to the cross, the tomb and the resurrection. Hope your Wednesday is a blessed day!