The People Pay the Price of Civic Leaders Sins
I was reading the story of King David murdering one of his thirty-seven Mighty Men, Uriah the Hittite, and taking Bathsheba as his wife in 2 Samuel. Murdering one of own warriors was one of the worst sins, but King David didn’t just stop at Uriah, he wiped out his entire household so that nobody could spill the beans on his dirty little secret. Did he not realize the Lord saw every dirty little secret, even though he wiped out the entire household? People in high places tend to think they have gotten away with it because the dust settles for a while.
Then all of a sudden, in 2 Samuel 24:1 we find “the anger of the LORD burned against Israel” because of King David’s sin. We find here the suggestion that the people of Israel paid the price for King David’s sins. God said, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” Now we all know what God was trying to do by the taking of the census – bring David’s sins to the surface. They’d been swept under the carpet hoping nobody would ever find out. David was troubled, perplexed of mind… he knew God wouldn’t let this go. Something was going to happen if he didn’t deal with this. Would he lose his crown? What lengths would God go to?
David wouldn’t admit his sin at first, trying to avoid it. After he received the census, David’s conscience was overwhelmed, and he admitted to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, LORD, for doing this foolish thing.” (2 Samuel 24:10) God gave him a choice: endure three years of famine, or three months of fleeing the pursuit of his enemies, or three days of plague. (2 Samuel 24:13) Now when we are talking about famine, the Hebrew word is רָעָ֣ב (rā·‘āḇ) meaning “dearth”, a severe drought where we run into a shortage of crops, and then a shortage of food. It is pretty well where we are headed right now in the Southern Downs. We haven’t had decent rain for 2.5 years. In this case, King David chose plague. That might not have been his best choice!
God sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. When the angel had killed 70,000 men and stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord said, “Enough, withdraw your hand now!” (2 Samuel 24: 16). God allowed David to repent and bring a burnt offering.
Yes, we are saved by the grace of God, where Jesus became our sacrificial burnt offering, but we must always remember that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We cannot hide our sin from God. He will root it out even at the highest level in the kingdom, and sometimes a crown or position will be lost in the process. My point is the people often pay the price of civic leaders sins. Remember, 70,000 people perished because of King David’s sin.
© 2019 inclusive Rev Dr Peter D Matthews. All rights reserved. This paper may be freely used for academic purposes or for the pulpit, subject to citing Rev Dr Peter D Matthews as the author. Keep abreast of my website at www.petermatthews.com.au, or you can like my Facebook page for updated material. My academic profile is also available on Academia.com and Google Scholar.