1 Chronicles 23-27 details the event of King David towards the end of his life. David was a young shepherd who made his “coming out” by taking on the Philistine giant Goliath. He was the youngest son of Jesse and of the line of Judah. David was called a “man after God’s own heart.” David was not a perfect man, but was a repentant man. Psalm 51 tells of his great desire to be right with the LORD. King David’s life was anything but simple and peaceful. War seemed to be the motif that surrounded him. He fought against the enemies of Israel, with his children, with giants [Philistines] and with the reigning King – King Saul. In these last chapters that conclude King David’s life, we find that he still has the DESIRE to serve and honor God. David had to learn so valuable lessons. One of those lessons was captured for us in 1 Chronicles 21, where he arrogantly requested that Joab perform a census. The taking of the census itself was not bad, but the prideful arrogance of the king to glory in the size and number of Israel caused it to be bad. Joab performed the census, and reported the findings to David. Israel was 1,570,000 strong. We may not be impressed with that number, but for a small land mass of Israel, that was a strong amount of people. The outcome of David’s arrogant pride was accounted for by God – because the census displeased God, He offered one of three options as punishment. [21:9-13] David could have 3 years of famine, 3 months of subjection to his enemies or 3 days of pestilence which would cause death angel to hover over Israel. David again admits that he was the one who had sinned, and asked God to be merciful. King David elected to take the 3 days of death, and 70,000 people died. God was about to destroy Jerusalem, but had compassion on the people and said “it is enough” to the angel of death. [1 Chrono 21:14-15] David and the Elders displayed a great brokenness and humility before God, which then God had compassion on them and stayed the hand of death. As I was reading this all I could think of was the 70,000 that died because of King David’s arrogance and pride. It was the leader that greatly sinned; the story written by Lord Alfred Tennison the “Charge of the Light Brigade.” The men , 600 of them marched into a valley and we all killed. The men – soldiers followed their commanders orders and payed with their lives. Here David sinned and caused 70,000 to die. Now I don’t know or begin to understand the why of it all, for 70,000 to die because of someone else’s sin except that Jesus – innocent was delivered over on our behalf and crucified for our sins. The innocent die for the guilty happens in all three cases. I could ask why innocent have to bear the brunt of sinful men; but then God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. Sin has always been a problem and destroyer of the innocent. In our world today, many lament over the guilty, depraved men and women destroying lives for their own pleasure and benefit.
David came back to the LORD after the death of these men. He repented and was restored to fellowship with God. It was after this great sin aftermath that King David desired to honor and glorify God with a “House” for the Ark of the Covenant. He was allowed to design, develop and raise the resources for the building of the Temple, but not allowed to build the building. The reason was that David had blood on his hands. He was a man of war. He also had innocent Uriah killed, and as we just saw 70,000 died because of him. Solomon will be the next king, from all of David’s children. How ironic that from an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the next king of Israel would come.
David was allowed to develop designs of how the Temple would look and was also the architect of how the Temple worship would function. This is a huge shift for the people of Israel and God. No longer would the Temple be a temporary place, but a fixture in the land. King David also put forth how worship would be conducted, again changing the way wilderness worship previously was done. David lived to be 70 years old. He reigned over all of Israel for 40 years. He designed and desired to bring great glory though a House of God, but never saw it completed. Talk about planting a tree he would never sit under the shade of!