By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
According to the author of Hebrews, if one is left without discipline, then he or she is liken to an illegitimate child (Hebrews 12:7-10). Parents love their children; therefore, a mom or dad disciplines their children when they are disobedient. In a similar way, God disciplines His children because He loves them. We may not understand why God doesn’t want us to do certain things or why He wants us to do other things. When it comes to obeying God, the bottom line is that we are not called to be okay with it, we are called to obey it. Even if we don’t understand it, agree with it, approve of it, or like it, we are called to obey God. Furthermore, God is under no obligation to give us an explanation.
How many parents give a detailed explanation when asked by their 2-year-old why he or she shouldn’t stick a fork in an electrical outlet? Parents do not respond with, “Well, son, you see, at the subatomic level, there are tiny particles called electrons jumping between orbits. This creates what is called an ‘alternating current’ that travels through the wires in the wall. And if the current enters your body, it disrupts your central nervous system, burning your skin and possibly stopping your heart” (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary I & II Samuel). Parents simply give their children the command to obey.
In II Samuel 24:10-25, we are reminded again that David is not only the king, but he is also a sinner. God called David to obey Him. David disobeyed God and experienced God’s discipline. From this text, three lessons about obeying God emerge.
First, we should obey God (vv. 10-14). David should’ve obeyed God; however, from David’s own lips he owned up to having sinned greatly and acting very foolishly (v. 10). Whether David’s motives were impure in taking the census or it was a prideful exercise, in some manner David sinned against God (v. 10). As a result, God offered David the choice between three consequences (vv. 11-13). David’s choice was to have God choose. Good choice! David knew the heart of man and he knew the heart of God. David knew that God is merciful (v. 14).
We should obey God, but, like David, we choose to disobey God. The bad news is that with our sin comes consequences. The good news is that God is still merciful. Consequences of our sin are not to keep us in a constant state of suffering and fear, but they are to bring us to the point of repentance.
Second, it’s never okay to disobey God (vv. 15-17). David knew that it was never okay to disobey God. Disobedience never works nor does it work out. David’s sin had something to do with the great number of people who were counted. Perhaps he took great pride in the sheer volume of people in his kingdom. David’s consequence of his sin resulted in 70,000 of those men dying, therefore, reducing his kingdom by that number (v. 15). Even in this devastation, God was merciful as He relented from destroying Jerusalem (v. 16). What’s more, David asked the Lord to extend mercy to the people and only discipline him and his father’s house (v. 17).
Third, it’s always okay to obey God (vv. 18-24). David obeyed God and paid a costly price to build Him an altar (vv. 18-24). Jesus obeyed the Father’s will and paid the ultimate price for our sin on the cross.