“David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped”. (2Sam. 24:25 NIV)
Earlier in 2 Samuel chapter 24, we find David commissioning Joab and the Army commanders to go throughout the land of Israel and count the fighting men. The thing is, this is not the first time the people of Israel were numbered: Moses did it twice at God’s command (in Numbers chapters 1 and 26). But after the people were settled in the promised land, we never read again of God requiring a census of Israel. Therefore, this is clearly David’s ego talking. His pride. His arrogance. He seems to forget that it was God who allowed him to defeat all his enemies and made him king. David appears to have put more importance and trust in his military power, rather than the saving power of the LORD.
The LORD was angry at what David did and sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy (70,000) thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. As a leader, David had to bear the consequences of his sins.
David offered to bear the punishment for his own sin, just as his descendant the Messiah (Jesus) would do one day. His willingness to bear this punishment reveals how much David cared for his people. This shepherd-like concern reflects the character of his descendant and the ultimate heir to his throne, Jesus Christ (John 10:11-15).
Earlier in the chapter, when David arrives at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebushite and upon his knowledge of the king’s business, Araunah offered the land so David can build an altar for the LORD. He also offered the oxen to David to be used for sacrifice.
But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2Samuel 24:24) Sacrifice is an essential part of worship and service to God (see Mal. 1:6-10; 2 Cor. 8:1-5).
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty (50) shekels of silver for them. The threshing floor was located in Mount Moriah. God redeemed David’s sin by commissioning him to buy the site. This is an important event that has a foreshadowing in the ages to come.
In Genesis 22:2, Abraham went to the “land of Moriah” when he offered his son Isaac. Here, David buys it to build an altar for the LORD to sacrifice and stop the plague. Later on, Solomon – David’s heir to the throne – would built a temple on the same spot where sacrifices will be made (1Chro 22:1). Years later, Jesus Christ – the son of David – will die on a hill outside Jerusalem as a final sacrifice to redeem mankind from the power of sin and death.
David built an altar to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
David himself knew, however, that sacrifices and burnt offerings were useless without repentance. His repentance was key to stop the plague.
For modern-day Christians, we have been redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by the blood of Christ Jesus. His sacrifice on the cross brought us complete redemption. The plague of sin and the punishment of death can now be overcome through the blood of the lamb.
Blessings and peace to all!