(Today's post by Tim David)
2 Samuel 24
What does I’m sorry really mean? Judy and I usually will use Saturday as our day to sleep in, providing there isn’t a birthday party or a baseball game we need to prepare for. We love listening to our kids playing, inevitably innocent laughter will give way to a cry of “I’m sorry…I’m sorry.” Within a few seconds someone will tear into our room with a look of life or death on their face followed by another one or two kids exclaiming – “But it was an accident. I said I was sorry.” Usually, while holding back laughter we have to determine proper punishment. Look, it’s great to say “I’m sorry,” but the injured sibling is usually demanding a blood repayment. More times than not, in our house, after punishment is administered and an “I’m sorry” is offered laughter quickly follows and all is forgotten.
David’s not an idiot, he knows that there is an equal and opposite reaction to his sin. He knows God can’t allow sin to go unpunished. If God did, He would be contradicting His very nature. Why was it a sin for David to take a census? Truthfully, we really don’t know because there are a number of variables that weren’t recorded. It could be the census was a prideful act; the census could have been a means to tax the people, or the census could have illegally counted under-aged able bodied young men…I think the point’s been made. The simple fact is the action constituted sin and it had to be punished. As soon as God intervened, David knew he had sinned. Punishment was doled out, the punishment was stopped when God determined it had gone on long enough, and David built alter to reconcile his relationship with God. Here is where I think the lesson to be learned in this passage is.
Where a penitent heart exists, God always provides a method of reconciliation. David exhibited submission, humiliation, and thankfulness. David could have summoned Araunah, but instead went to him. David could have issued a letter seizing the property. Araunah wanted to give the property and oxen to David, but instead David paid a fair price for it. David was sorry before he ever went to Araunah’s property…being sorry doesn’t cut it. There is always a price that needs to be paid in order to bring about reconciliation. I think there is also a clear delineation between the payment for the crime and payment for reconciliation. I believe this is a great example for the difference between the two. The 70,000 dead Israelites was punishment for the crime. David’s payment for the materials and resulting sacrifice was the price for reconciliation. Similarly, Jesus’ death on the cross justifies our sin-nature debt. Giving ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) is the payment for our reconciliation.
Rejoice today that you are intimately involved in the sacrifice for your reconciliation! Not only do you get to be the sacrifice, but you get to enjoy the rewards of the reconciled relationship. Like David, celebrate the fact you are able to be reconciled and the payment has been made.