1 Chronicles 21:15-27

1 Chronicles 21:15‑27  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
15And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued. 18Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the Lord. 20And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. 22Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. 23And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. 24And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. 25So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. 26And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. 27And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. (1 Chronicles 21:15‑27)It is interesting to see the order unfolded here in the establishment of the relations of sovereign grace. First of all, the heart of God, and His sovereign grace in election, suspending the execution of the deserved and pronounced judgment; next, the revelation of this judgment -a revelation which produces humiliation before God, and a full confession of sin before His face. David, and the, elders of Israel, clothed in sackcloth, fall upon their faces, and David presents himself as the guilty one. Then instruction comes from God as to that which must be done to cause the pestilence judicially and definitely to cease; namely, to sacrifice in Oman's threshing-floor. God accepts the sacrifice, sending fire to consume it, and then He commands the angel to sheathe his sword. And sovereign grace, thus carried out in righteousness through sacrifice, becomes the means of Israel's approach to their God, and establishes the place of their access to Him. The tabernacle, a testimony to the conditions under which the people had failed, offered no resource in such a case; on the contrary, it occasioned fear. David was afraid to go to Gibeon. (vv. 29, 30) Nothing would do but the definitive intervention of God, according to His own grace (the circumstances of the sin, on the king's own part, leaving no room for any other means). The whole system of the tabernacle as a legal institution is set aside, and the worship of Israel founded on grace by sacrifice coming in where all, even the king as responsible, had failed. Such was Israel's position for him who understood it.
J. N. D.