Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 18 and Hebrews 10:19-25
Ever reached a point in reading a story where no matter how much you read and re-read sections of the chapter it just seems there are aspects which leave you in a perplexed or baffled state? This was certainly the case for me with parts of this final chapter; the taking of a census that led to guilt ??? punishment, repentance and sacrifice ????? and then that’s the end …..
‘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.’ Vs 10b
David then having to choose one of three options for God to punish him ….
‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’ vs 12
Although it doesn’t make sense in the context of today, it does highlight one thing for certain. There will always be things of God that are hard to make out and are beyond our understanding … that’s why God is God.
But this was also a very significant moment in the history of God’s people for this would become the very place that the future temple to be erected by Solomon would be built; the place where the presence of God was experienced in all its fullness as the anger of God was unleashed; the power of God was shown in full force, and yet the mercy of God was unmistakable.
‘……. David built an alter and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offering. Then the Lord answered prayer in behalf of the land and the plague on Israel stopped. ’ vs 25
And so not just the chapter, but the second book of Samuel comes to an abrupt end. David’s final actions demonstrate that irrespective of his many previous mistakes and sins, he had not lost that part of his character and heart which was concerned with right and proper worship of God.
‘I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’ vs 24
And as I closed the book of Samuel and opened Hebrews at our second reading today, scripture continues with great revelation of what this right and proper worship of God is for us today because of Christ …. therefore ….
‘… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.’ Hebrews 10: 22-23
Unlike David and the Israelites, Christ has opened the way for us to come directly into God’s presence, with our act of worship directly linked to how we do this; a sincere heart being a heart which completely trusts and a life which is fully dedicated and devoted to following Christ.
Pray with me to remain this way; unswervingly … as our salvation will one day be fully realised with our hope guaranteed because he who promised is faithful.
‘Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sins, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.’