Sunday, March 23, 2014

Life of David - Lesson 42

Last  Words & Reflections of Israel's Beloved King
1 Kings 2:1-12; 2 Samuel 22:1-23:7; 1 Chronicles 29:26-28

Prayer: Lord, today's passage seems particularly precious as we read the last words of Israel's beloved King David the "man after God's own heart".  To read of his earthly life coming to an end brings sorrow, but David more than most understood that this wasn't an end but an eternal beginning in Your presence.  Help us to take David's last words to heart, to understand his heart & in doing so to understand Yours.

Quickly Form Groups:

1.  If you discovered today you were about to die:
  • who would you want to spend time with?
  • what would you want to say to those you were leaving behind?
  • what regrets would you have about things left undone in your life?

Your answers to those are definitely a reflection of who you are & your personality type.  If you want to spend time with many people or only a few, how many words & what you would want to say, what regrets you have.  This is how I answered the questions I gave you:
  • I would want to spend time with my Husband, my Son, and my Mom.
  • I would want to say "I Love You" & remind each that our separation is temporary.
  • I would regret not being more bold about sharing my faith.

I wouldn't have a lot to say, though perhaps I'd blog philosophically & leave all of you with some things to think about.

David had a few more things he wanted cleared up before he left this life, and some words for people to ponder.  God graciously has preserved many of David's words, so let's see what the "man after God's heart" had to say before he departed.

1 Kings 2:1-9 - David's final words to Solomon encourage him to be a man, to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord so that their family may continue to benefit from the blessings of the Lord.  I really sense the heart of a father in him in these words.

David goes on to remind him to be wise & to deal wisely with a few particular people:
  • Joab - he is to be dealt with in Solomon's wisdom because of the murders of Abner & Amasa, David makes it clear Joab should not be allowed to live out his years in peace but leaves the actual sentence in Solomon's hands.
  • Shimei - David is a bit more direct with Shimei, and I get the sense that he's learned more about this man's character since he vowed not to kill him.  Shimei is not innocent & David knows in, and he leaves the job of carrying out the sentence against him to Solomon.
  • Barzillai - This is someone who's family David wants to make sure is recognized & blessed.  Barzillai was the old man who helped David when he was on the run from Absalom.  David wants Solomon to be good to this family that has been good to theirs.

2 Samuel 23:1-7 - A final poem or song by David.  In it we hear him testify to God's goodness & how God has worked in his own life, and he ends with a warning to those who would choose evil over God's goodness.  To the end David continued to express his heart for God.

1 Chronicles 29:26-28 & 1 Kings 2:10-12 - David had been Israel's king for 40 years, and we read he is buried in the City of David.

What is the City of David?  Both Jerusalem & Bethlehem are called the "City of David":
  • Bethlehem is his historical birthplace & the area that his family lived in.
  • Jerusalem is the city he conquered & set up as the royal seat of power in Israel.
History teaches us that David's tomb is on Mount Zion, which would be Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 22 - I expect that this Psalm (or song) written by David is included right before the record of David's last words as a means to memorialize David.  I expect that if David had lived & died today in our culture this would be the final song at his funeral, a way to remember who he was & how he lived & what he believed.

I'd like you to take some time and look over this chapter quietly, treat it like you would if you were attending David's funeral.  Take time to reflect on who David is, but more importantly take time to reflect on who God is.

Closing Prayer:  God we thank you for how you have preserved the record of David's life, for the many lessons we can learn from him, and for Your faithfulness shown through his life.  Help each of us to be men & women after your own heart.  Amen!

Quickly Form Groups Again:

2.  When you die:
  • how would you like to be remembered?
  • how would you like your life to impact future generations?
3.  Pray for each other.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Life of David - Lesson 41

Passing the Baton - 1 Chronicles 28-29:24

Prayer: Lord, sometimes our lives don't go as we had planned, and sometimes that means we live with unfulfilled dreams.  Lord keep us from being discouraged when life doesn't go the way we wanted, help us instead to see your hand at work in our circumstances.  Lord keep us focused on living out an abundant life in Your Spirit, knowing that our life to come - life in heaven - will be far better than any dreams we may have on earth.

Quickly Form Groups:
1.  Think back 5 years, 10 years, or more.  How is your life different from what you thought it would be?  Did you have any dreams that you had to give up?

By the time I was your ages all the dreams I'd had for who I though I'd be had been dashed to pieces.  I had thought I might be a professional classical pianist, but my fingers weren't fast enough & I couldn't memorize, and I went to high school with 3 child prodigies - dream dashed.  I had thought I might be a professional singer, I had a powerful voice with a wide range & a very good ear (operatic at times)... but my allergies damaged my voice.  I had thought I would be a research scientist, but having a baby in the middle of college meant I had to finish at night school - closest I could get was to be a software engineer.  Do I have regrets, you bet I do, but when I look at my life & what God has done with it I am grateful for the many blessings I have.

As for the piano I rarely play, but my playing the piano encouraged my husband Jeff to pick up his horns and begin to play again (he hadn't played since High School).  Now he plays with SNLVB & loves it.  Perhaps someday I'll play seriously again, if I can ever find the time to devote to it (I used to practice 4 hours a day).

As for voice, it has come back somewhat over the years, it came back as I learned to praise the Lord in song.  It's continuing to grow stronger, and I am soon to start voice lessons.  I am excited to see if I can regain this skill, if I do I want to use it for the glory of the Lord.

As for science, I was able to pass along my passion for the sciences & encourage my son, and he has thrived.  I have no interest in pursuing this again, but my understanding of the sciences has been very beneficial to my walk with God.

Why share this?  God gave us imaginations, and God loves it when we dream - especially when we dream big dreams that give Him glory.  Does God let us fulfill our dreams?  Sometimes... and sometimes He gives that dream to someone else to fulfill, and that's what's happening with David.

1 Chronicles 28:1 - This is a large official assembly, Tribal leaders & Military commanders, Palace officials & Royal Estate officials, Mighty Men & Brave Warriors, the King and all of the King's Sons - all the Officials of Israel.  This assembly is believed to have occurred after the hasty anointing of Solomon as Israel's king that we read about last week.  David had to quickly make Solomon as king to avoid Adonijah's attempted power grab, now David is going to affirm this succession with a more formal proceeding.

1 Chronicles 28:2-3 - David shares his dream, a dream to give God glory by building a temple.  At this point they were still using the tabernacle built during the Exodus, a sizable & ornate but movable structure.  David had this in his heart, he had made plans for it, and you sense the deep desire he had to build this, but God said "No" - God did not want His temple to be built by a warrior who had shed blood.  Ouch, I feel his heartache.

1 Chronicles 28:4-7 - David reaffirms God's choices for the tribe of Judah as the kingly line, for himself as king, and for Solomon as his successor.  God gave a 3-part prophetic message to David that (1) Solomon would be the one to fulfill his dream & build the temple, that (2) Solomon would be Israel's next king, that (3) God would adopt Solomon as his own son & establish Solomon's kingdom forever if Solomon was unswerving in carrying out God's command's and laws.  So though David's personal dream had been dashed, God replaced it with something better.

1 Chronicles 28:8 - David gives a charge to the officials of Israel to be obedient to God so that they may remain in God's blessings & in the promised land.

1 Chronicles 28:9-10 - David gives a further charge to Solomon, not just obedience but wholehearted devotion to God.  David makes it clear that God knows the heart & mind & motives, and encourages Solomon to never cease in seeking God.  David reminds him that the work God has given to Solomon to build the temple is serious, and he must take it seriously.

Now pay careful attention to this next section, there are many details here that we don't have time to go into.  1 Chronicles 28:11-19 - Now that's a lot of details, and that's just David's oral overview of the plans.  What I find most interesting here is that God gave David the plans through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Wait a minute!?!  God gave David the plans & the understanding?  God gave David the dream of his heart?  And God said "No, it's not for you"!?!  YES!  God gave David a dream that was to be fulfilled by another, by his son Solomon.  God may give us a dream, perhaps inspire some sort of ministry activity, yet God may not have us be the one that carries out the dream - we may just be the one to get the plans going.  Don't be discouraged if your dreams end up being someone else's work, we must remove our "self" from it & remember that it is for God's glory.

1 Chronicles 28:20-29:1 - Solomon was young, it would have been easy for him to be discouraged.  David reassures him that not only are the priests & craftsmen ready to accomplish the task, God is going to be with him to ensure the task is brought to full completion.

1 Chronicles 29:2-5 - David again is continuing to address this large official assembly, this time telling of his gifts for the building of the temple, and encouraging the assembly to also give an offering for the temple.  Already set aside by David for the temple building & implements are large quantities of: gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, precious stones, fine stone & marble (for structures & decor).  David has purchased the land, the land around the threshing floor of Arunah that we learned about a couple weeks ago (2 Samuel 24).  David's additional personal offering is for the temple treasury:
  • Silver: 7,000 talents, 260 tons, 520,000 pounds, current value: more than $177 Million
  • Gold: 3,000 talents, 110 tons, 220,000 pounds, current value: more than $4.8 Billion
A total value in todays market of about 5 Billion dollars.  Remember all those wars, ever wonder what David did with the king's portion of the plunder, it appears he was saving it much of it for the building of the temple & the temple treasury.

1 Chronicles 29:6-9 - Ok, David's not the only one giving generously, let's tally up what the official assembly gave to the the treasury of the temple:
  • Iron: 100,000 talents, 3,750 tons, over 7.5 million pounds, current value: more than $656 Thousand (scrap pricing) 
  • Bronze: 18,000 talents, 675 tons, over 1.3 million pounds, current value: $5-7 Million (depending on the particular alloy)
  • Silver: 10,000 talents, 375 tons, 752,000 pounds, current value: more than $255 Million
  • Gold: 5,000 talents + 10,000 darics (Persian coin), 190 tons + 185 pounds, 380,185 pounds, current value: more than $8.3 Billion
  • Precious Stones: an unknown number, value unknown.
Total value in today's market of more than 8.5 Billion dollars.

What did all this generosity do?  These generous offerings caused great rejoicing by the people of Israel and by King David.

1 Chronicles 29:10-13 - David sings a song of praise (or at least I want to think he sang it).  He praises God as having all power, glory, and splendor.  He reminds the people, and us, that everything belongs to God, and that all wealth and honor comes from God.  This is a good reminder for us, all we have is a gift from God and belongs to God, this should help us to be more wise in our financial dealings.

1 Chronicles 29:14-20 - David continues in prayer, remembering that though they were chosen by God as His people they are only people - flawed, temporary beings.  God's gifts were given because God chose to give.  God tests the heart, and this people's hearts have given back to God in a response of joy.  David continues by praying for the hearts of the people & Solomon to stay committed to the Lord.  He calls out for the people to praise God, and the people respond in praise & humble themselves before the Lord.

1 Chronicles 29:21-24 - The next day they made massive sacrifices & had a huge feast, they continued to celebrate & were filled with joy.  A special acknowledgement of Solomon as King is done, he is once again anointed, and Zadok is set to be the priest (implication is High Priest).  Every official in the kingdom of Israel, with no exceptions & including the royal family, pledged their loyalty to Solomon.

Closing Prayer:  Oh Lord, help us to see our lives through your eyes.  Everything we have is yours, even our very lives are a gift from you.  When you withhold it is for our good & your glory, and when you give it is for our good & your glory.  Help us to have generous hearts so we also may experience the joy that comes from generous living.  Amen!

Quickly Form Groups Again:
2.  How are you with finances?  What is your attitude toward giving to the Lord? (duty or privilege) What is your attitude toward helping others in need?

3.  Pray for each other.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life of David - Lesson 40

The World's Way or God's Way? - 1 Kings 1

Prayer: Lord, open up Your scriptures to teach our hearts & minds this day.  Teach us to depend on Your Spirit in order to know what is pleasing to you, and keep us from letting our lives be directed by our own imaginations.

Quickly Form Groups:
1.  Do you ever fall into the trap of acting first, and then asking God to bless your actions?  Why is it important to pray and consult with God before taking action?

We're back to the narrative of David's life, toward the end of David's earthly life, and yet there is still more trouble to deal with & action to be taken.  David's throne needs a successor, the temple building plans need to be passed along, and David still has lessons to teach us.  This should be a reminder to us that the elderly among us believers, even the bed-ridden, remain here because God still has a purpose for their lives.  We should make a point to respect their godly heritage & advice, to encourage them as their bodies are wasting away (they were once young & vital like you), and to appreciate the walk they taken with the Lord.

The end of David's life introduces the narrative on Solomon's reign, but we're only going to take this series to the end of David's life.  As with anyone who passes away there are things to pass along, loose ends that need to be tied up, and we will be seeing this over the next few weeks.

1 Kings 1:1-4 - Ok, this passage states it clearly, David is old - about 70 years old.  Now in modern times 70 doesn't sound so old, my own mother is 71 & is in very good health. But we live in an advanced culture in an age of modern medicine (see U.S. life expectancy graphs:  We can expect that in David's day the statistics were a bit worse than what we see in the U.S. in the 1850s; additionally, we must remember that throughout David's life the nation of Israel was at war - so many more would have died due to death on the battlefield, so it would have been considered a ripe old age to reach the age of 70.

David could no longer stay warm enough to sleep, so they found him a beautiful young virgin by the name of Abishag to attend the king & care for him, and to sleep next to him to provide him warmth.  This is a very practical solution to caring for the elderly king, he's basically being given a full time live-in nurse, and she'll sleep with David to keep him warm.  Why a young virgin?  Perhaps because she'd be less likely to be interested in intimacy with the elderly king.  Perhaps because she'd be unmarried & without children, and thus able to be in full time service to the king.  Why did they pick a very beautiful woman?  This may simply have been the best qualified young woman that was found - her beauty may be described here to help us understand why Adonijah requests her for a wife after David's death (but that's part of King Solomon's narrative).  What we know for certain is that she cared for David, slept with David, but was not intimate with David.

1 Kings 1:5-10 - Adonijah, 4th son of David, takes advantage of the fact that his father is elderly, and works to set himself up as king.  He may have been the oldest of David's living sons.  Amnon & Absalom, David's 1st & 3rd sons, have died violent deaths.  We don't know about Kileab, David's 2nd son.  Adonijah is handsome, he's been allowed to do as he pleases, and now he pleases to be king.  Adonijah gets himself horses & chariots, and men to run ahead of him, and attempts to garner support from among David's faithful.

We read that Joab (David's nephew & primary general) gives his support, this isn't a surprise knowing Joab's personality.  The surprise is Abiathar, this is a priest & one of the two who had served to be David's eyes & ears in Jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion.  Did Abiathar make a decision without consulting the Lord?  It appears so.  It appears that the rest of David's faithful remained faithful, they did not join Adonijah, so there were only 2 notable "defections".

Adonijah attempted to make himself "look like" he was a guy out to do all the right things, he made public sacrifices & invited many to join with him in this.  He invited his brothers (except one) and all the men of Judah who were royal officials.  But look who he excluded: Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the head of David's bodyguard, and Solomon the son chosen by God to be the next king.

1 Kings 1:11-14 - Nathan warns Bathsheba about what's been happening, if Adonijah becomes king she & Solomon will be put to death.  Apparently it was common knowledge that Solomon was expected to be appointed by David as the next king.  Nathan advises her to go see King David, and tells her what to say & how he will join her to back her up.

1 Kings 1:15-21 - Bathsheba follows Nathan's instructions, she goes in to see David and tell him about Adonijah's actions.   In this we find out Adonijah's sacrifice was massive, perhaps meant to be a show of strength & authority.  She reminds him that he is still the leader Israel is looking to for direction, but that he needs to take action now.

1 Kings 1:22-27 -  As he promised, Nathan comes in to back up Bathsheba.  He poses a question to  David: "Have you declared Adonijah shall be king?".  Then Nathan goes on to tell him about the massive sacrifice & celebration Adonijah is throwing, and that the people with him are proclaiming him king.  Lest David think all have gone over to Adonijah, Nathan tells him precisely who has defected and who has not.  Nathan finishes with another question, asking: "did you do this without letting us know?".  Of course the answer to both questions is "No", but David is being spurred on to take action.

1 Kings 1:28-31 - David reaffirmed his oath to Bathsheba, and he would take care of the matter that very day - her son Solomon would be king.  He had previously, by the Lord's direction, sworn that Solomon would be king - he is going to do all he can to keep that oath.

1 Kings 1:32-37 -  David summons Zadok the priest (the other one that had been part of   David's royal espionage team during Absalom's rebellion), Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the head of his bodyguard.  David instructs them to place Solomon on his royal mount, to have the priest & the prophet anoint him as king, to blow the royal trumpets & announce that David has declared that Solomon will be Israel's next king, and finally to set him on the throne and give him reign over Israel in David's place.  Benaiah exclaims his appreciation & declares his loyalty to Solomon.

1 Kings 1:38-40 - They do as instructed by David, and definitely not in secret.  Apparently there was a huge throng of people shouting, playing music, and rejoicing.  They were so loud in fact that the ground shook with the sound.

1 Kings 1:41-48 - Adonijah hears the noise from the city, what's going on?  He thought he was throwing the big party, and suddenly his party is being drowned out by the noise from the city.  Jonathan, Abiathar's son, comes with news - but not good news for Adonijah & his dad - Solomon has been made king, he's sitting on the throne.  Oh, and those royal officials Adonijah had invited must not have gone to his party because they're celebrating with Solomon & congratulating David.  I'm guessing that many of them saw in Adonijah the same problems they saw in Absalom, and knew better than to back one not chosen by God.

1 Kings 1:49-51 - Adonijah's guests all take off, they know now that they've backed the wrong guy.  Adonijah as well high-tails it, but he heads to the tabernacle & takes hold of the horns of the altar.  People would not have been killed in the tabernacle, that would have been an offense to God, smart move on Adonijah's part.  He wants a pardon from Solomon, and he's not leaving this place of safety until he gets it.

1 Kings 1:52-53 - Solomon handled the situation wisely, he stated that if Adonijah is worthy he won't die, but if he is evil he will.  So Adonijah is brought before Solomon, and bows, and is sent home unharmed.  This disrespectful prince & the two defectors would be dealt with later by Solomon, but not during David's life.

Closing Prayer:  Oh Lord, how easy it is for us to look good in the eyes of men & to get their approval.  Please watch over us and keep us from being white-washed tombs, clean on the outside & dead on the inside.  Helps us instead to be clean before you.  Amen!

Quickly Form Groups Again:
2.  What similarities do you see between Adonijah & Absalom?  What differences?
3.  Adonijah "put himself forward" to be king, promoting himself like a modern-day politician.  Why was this action wrong in that place & time?

4.  Pray for each other.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Life of David - Lesson 39

Sin & Whole-Hearted Repentance - 2 Samuel 24:1-25

Prayer: Lord we thank you for your love for us, no matter how many times we mess up you forgive.  Help us Lord to recognize our sin, to be honest with ourselves about our sinfulness & not excuse it away, and help us to repent whole-heartedly when we recognize our sin.

Quickly Form Groups:
1.  When we do things not forbidden by God, but with a wrong motive, is it sinful?  What about doing things in ministry, but with the wrong motive?  Give examples.

We're continuing on some of what I think of as "footnotes" to David's life, but that doesn't mean they're insignificant events, it just means they weren't contained in the general historical narrative.  The timing of this particular occurrence we're studying today is unknown; however, it teaches us some wonderful truths.

2 Samuel 24:1-4 - Wait a minute?  Did I hear that right?  Did this passage actually say God incited David to act?  We need to look at another passage to get clarity - 1 Chronicles 21:1.  So it is actually Satan who does the inciting, but God that has allowed it because of His displeasure with Israel - whew, this makes a lot more sense!  This is a good reminder to us, we must be careful to consider the whole of scripture when seeking to understand - in this case the "short version" of the incident didn't clarify the details about God lifting His hand of protection and allowing Satan to do what he's chomping at the bit to do - and that is to undermine & destroy God's chosen.

Now that's cleared up, let's see what happened... David sends his military commanders out to determine the number of skilled warriors in Israel.  Joab doesn't like this, what's the problem Joab is seeing that David is ignoring?  I'm not certain, there are some who think that this may have occurred not long after David returned post-Absalom, and that this may have been seen as David trying to flex his muscles with the people of Israel.  Our country would probably be upset if suddenly there were a peace-time draft, this could be the ancient equivalent.  Why does David need to know this?  There doesn't seem to be an enemy on the horizon.  Is David acting out of concern for Israel?  It appears not.  Is David acting out of pride?  Perhaps, we just aren't given enough information... but we will find out that whatever David's motivation was it was wrong in the eyes of God, and thus he is sinning.

2 Samuel 24:5-9 -  Wow!  They did an extensive search, from Dan to Beersheba (throughout Israel from South to North) to count of the fighting men of Israel.  I'm guessing that many were tested to see their level of skill, since the specific ability to handle a sword is given.  It took almost 10 months to complete the task, that's a huge undertaking.  What is the size of David's available fighting force?  The math here makes it look like it's approximately 1.3 million men, with 500 thousand in Judah & 800 thousand in the rest of Israel.  That's an impressive force for a small country, and shows how strong the tribe of Judah was in particular.

2 Samuel 24:10 - David has a crisis of conscience, he knows that what was done wasn't strictly forbidden by God, but that his motivations were wrong & thus he has sinned.  What was his specific sin?  Perhaps pride, perhaps failing to trust in God as his protector, perhaps some of both.  David has seen the sin in his heart, and he falls on his face in repentance before God - Satan had enticed David, and David had fallen into his trap, now David is calling out to God for forgiveness & restoration.

2 Samuel 24:11-13 - We need to remember how this chapter started, God was angry with Israel as a whole - not necessarily with David.  Satan, when given the opportunity, decided to attack Israel at the seat of human power within the nation - bring down the king & the rest of the nation will likely follow suit, especially since David was a Spiritual as well as a Governmental leader of the nation.  God will hold political leaders accountable for the state of their nations, to those who have been given much there will be greater accountability.

Ok, so though its David that messed up, he is just a mirror reflecting the state of Israel - and obviously Israel was headed in the wrong direction if God's anger had been aroused.  So here comes Gad to give the bad news to David, a punishment is coming.  God has forgiven, but that doesn't mean that there aren't consequences, and now David is asked to select a consequence for Israel.  Three years of famine in Israel, three months of Israel being attacked & fleeing from foreign enemies, or three days of plague on the people of Israel.  Tough choice.

2 Samuel 24:14-16 - David doesn't seem to be able to choose, he puts the nation into the Lord's merciful hands - knowing God knows what is best.  At first it sounds like what he's saying is "go ahead and punish us, but spare me", but that's not what he's saying; what he's saying is this: God I want to put myself in your hands not in the hands of men, you punish me - David knew he could trust himself in God's hands.  So God sends the plague, that would have been my choice - get the punishment over quickly.  What's interesting is that God is allowing an Angel to bring the punishment; however, when the Angel eyes Jerusalem God says "Stop" - God will only allow the punishment to go so far.  Where the Angel was stopped was the threshing floor of Araunah.  In case you're wondering, this location is within the current city of Jerusalem, but was probably not within the city proper at the time of David.  Back to the plague for a moment, we need to be aware of the consequences of the sin - 70 thousand lives taken, from all throughout the land of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba - seemingly along the same path taken by Joab when he numbered the fighting men.

2 Samuel 24:17-19 - David sees the Angel, and his response shows us again that he wasn't trying to avoid punishment for his own sin, he prays and asks God to be merciful on the people who David calls "sheep" - he is willing to lay his life down for the "sheep", and we see in David in this instance a glimpse of Christ.

Gad comes again to David and says, ok it's time to finish setting things right, you need to go set up an altar & make sacrifices to God.  Where is David to set up this altar?  At the very place Angel was when God told him to stop - the threshing floor of Araunah.  David wastes no time, off he goes to Araunah's place.

1 Chronicles 21:20-21 & 2 Samuel 24:20-21 - David wasn't the only one who saw the Angel, Araunah & his sons have also seen it, and Araunah's sons have hidden; however, Araunah continues with his work of threshing - to me this speaks of his trust in God, he didn't run and hide from God's Angel.  Araunah sees the king coming, and he bows himself down to David out of respect for David's position in Israel, David wasn't just the king but a spiritual leader as well.   David explains that he wants to purchase the threshing floor to build an altar to the Lord in order that the plague might be stopped.  Ok, here is one of those times when we sense that the passage might not be strictly chronological... In fact, it appears that God has sent David to build an altar & make sacrifices at the very place where God wants to stop the Angel.  I think this because David's obedience is evidence of his repentance, and we are forgiven when we repent (not before).

2 Samuel 24:22-25 - Araunah knows his place, he is a lowly "sheep" of Israel & he's speaking to the king, so he offers to provide not only the threshing floor, but also the oxen and the wood for the sacrifice - he also seems to be eager for God to answer David's prayer for the plague to end.  David says "no" to Araunah's offer, he will not make a sacrifice that has not cost him, David is demonstrating true repentance - he's not just repentant in words, he's working out his repentance in actions, he's taking personal responsibility for his sin.  The price paid doesn't have an equivalent in today's market, silver would have been more valuable then; however, we do know from Chronicles that David ended up purchasing the entire site for a hefty sum, it became part of the royal property, and this is the location upon which Solomon's temple was built.  As if to answer my questions about timing: verse 25 seems to indicate that the plague is stopped, David's prayer is answered, after David makes his sacrifice.

Closing Prayer:  Thank You God for your amazing mercy & grace, that we don't get the punishment that each of us as sinners deserves; instead, you offer forgiveness and even paid the price for it yourself.  I am amazed by your grace.  Lord help us to accept responsibility for our sins, help us not to be angry when we must pay the consequences of our sins, but let us instead learn the lessons you have for us through the consequences.  Amen!

Quickly Form Groups Again:
2.  Gad played a key role in today's passage, he came along side David and instructed him in what actions he should take to make amends for his sins.  Who in your life could be a "Gad" for you - to hold you accountable, help you know how to make amends, and point you back to God?  Who might God be asking you to be a "Gad" for?

3.  Pray for each other.