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One day, the devil, Satan incited King David, causing him to take a census of Israel so that he could boast of himself and how he had led the Israelites in their accomplishments. However, after David completed counting the fighting men, he was conscience-stricken and knew that what he did was a sin against the Lord. He therefore prayed to the Lord and asked the Lord to forgive his sin. Therefore, the Lord greatly punished the Israelites and sent a plague on Israel. From that morning till the end of the time designated, seventy thousand people died. When the angel of the Lord stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord said, \u201cEnough! Withdraw your hand.\u201d The angel of the Lord withdrew his sword. He was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel striking down the people, he cried out in pain to God, \u201cMy Lord, I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. Please punish me and not the people.\u201d The Lord then instructed David, \u201cGo and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah, as a sacrifice for Israel. So David went toward where Araunah was. When Araunah saw David and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before David, with his face on the ground. As Araunah knew that David wanted to make a sacrifice for the Israelites, he gave David threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood for him to offer God. However, David said, \u201cNo, I insist on paying you for it. I will not
silver to buy the threshing floor and oxen. At that instant, King David sacrificed offerings to God for himself and the Israelites. Then the Lord listened to David, and caused the fire from heaven to reach the altar. The angel also withdrew his sword and the plague on Israel was stopped.
1) Why were the Israelites punished although it was David who sinned? Ans: It was because the Israelites\u2019 disobedience was a greater sin than David counting the number of fighting men. There were many among the Israelites who did not listen to God\u2019s words or the words of King David. These people even betrayed him. Therefore, God wanted to make use of that opportunity to destroy them, and hence eliminate the problems of the Israelites at the roots.
2) In this matter, God also wanted to test King David, to see if he indeed loved God and also God\u2019s people. David was indeed humble before God and did not hide his sins and because he loved God\u2019s people, he interceded for them earnestly. Similarly, God is also testing us today. E.g. When we encounter problems in our relationship with our family and friends, do we first confess our mistakes before God and not blame others and bear a grudge against them? Thereafter, are we willing to pray for them?
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