Text: 2 Samuel 21-24; Psalm 76.
Three incidents in these closing chapters of 2 Samuel are curiously aligned. The first two take some thought. First, there is the story of the three mighty men taking great risk to bring water from the well of Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23:15-17). David refuses to drink it and pours it on the ground. That one bothers me. The men were only trying to please their king. Second is the story of the census (2 Samuel 24:1-17). Apparently, the problem lies in David’s motives. He is seeking security or glory for himself. That one bothers me as well – 70,000 people die in the ensuing plague. Finally comes David’s refusal to accept Araunah’s threshing floor without payment. Araunah offers it as a gift. David says says,
“No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
Araunah apparently wishes to please the king. David seeks to honor the Lord his God.
So, what do these stories have in common? They each speak to the importance of motive. What the Lord wants is for us to seek to honor Him, to give Him glory, to trust in Him alone. When we do things, why do we do them? Sometimes it is to please others. Sometimes it is to please ourselves. Often those two line up when we seek to please others that we might benefit from their good favor. I am really being challenged here. What are my motives, down deep? It would seem by these stories that the stakes can be very high.
in Him, Mike