1 Chronicles 21
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” 3 But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” 4 But the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. 5 And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. 6 But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king's command was abhorrent to Joab.
7 But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. 8 And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 9 And the Lord spoke to Gad, David's seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Choose what you will: 12 either three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
This is the sixth post of our series on Prophets.
We seen highlights from our conviction that prophets are Thunders for God, Bold, Hard as Iron, Fierce as Lions for the Truth, Undeniably Rude, while Hammering Away for a Thundering GOD.
What about the doom and gloom Prophets?
People, today, get very fussed over mentions of Satan and pushy prophets. Almost like the two are joined at the hip.
Moses did Thunder away. However, he was dealing with -
And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children
- a lot of continuously whiny people. You can really empathize with Moses.
Gad is a tribe of Israel. The first son of Jacob and Zilpah, the seventh of Jacob overall, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Gad. This Gad is prophet, a man, 600 or so years later from the first Gad.
You can picture Gad thundering up to David - "Sinner!" It's possible, Gad enjoyed this a little too much. Like Jonah, Gad has a very limited role in His Plan. Yet, God does give Gad a very nice remembrance here:
2 Chronicles 29
25 And he [King Hezekiah, many years later] stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king's seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
After all, Gad did offer choices.
If we compare Gad, say - to Jeremiah. Jeremiah, was known to be such an annoyance the Davidic line kept throwing him into a pit. Instead we know, David is God's :
"Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of Thy wings"
With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.
Jeremiah was dealing with God's children - so was Gad. The difference was David was reasonable. Perhaps Gad should have been more like Abraham and said, "Wait, Father God, time is a cage of Your invention. You can help us start out before the census - counting wealth instead of relying upon You." We can understand, in spite of David's flaws - like murder, marauder, and adultery - why God doesn't give Gad top billing, that billing goes instead to the more creative Nathan - his lamb story gets Nathan working for HIM for years.
Jeremiah’s ministry was active from the thirteenth year of Josiah, king of Judah. This was a major celebration in Judah. And How did Jeremiah respond to the Call From the LORD:
"Alas, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young."
Was Jeremiah's yoke too heavy? Young King Josiah began a religious reform in Judah at about 622 BC. "Never had there been a reform so sweeping in its aims and so consistent in execution!" - John Bright, A History of Israel, (Westminster).
Which is a good thing for this discussion - we readily learn - Jeremiah didn't want to thunder away at God's people. And King Josiah was a very good gig for Jeremiah.
But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them."
God had other plans.
Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Rembrandt van Rijn
No one who reads the Bible is surprised to find out - Jeremiah is going to be hard pressed. Hated by kings, people telling him to shut up about being saved from invasion from Egypt - which occurred miraculously - and - taken down three times by Nebuchadnezzar, who is the seed/fruit/redeemed/conqueror from Jonah's trip to the Assyrians. Jeremiah gets throw in a well to rot / drown, but keeps coming out okay and is saved.
How is Jeremiah saved and how do we know? God's promise in His Word.
For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
And Jeremiah gets a nice house along the fasten-your-seatbelts-blessings-flow-out-journey.
“I knew that this was the word of the Lord; 9 so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels[b] of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.
13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’
16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord:
17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.
Now, interestingly enough Baruch makes history again in Dr. Eliat Mizar's discover of King David's Palace. She found Baruch's parchment seal complete. Saying "Baruch son of Neriah."
You have to love the Word of God telling us History. Baruch gets another bite at history being recently re-discovered.
2 Timothy 3:11
persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
Father God we open our hands to you and ask for times of peace. We pray to build with our words and works the grace and mercy that is Yours. Take each day and build this life to be meaningful to You. In the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.