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July 22, 2010

Chapter-a-Day 1 Chronicles 21

Then David prayed, "I have sinned badly in what I have just done, substituting statistics for trust; forgive my sin—I've been really stupid." 1 Chronicles 21:8 (MSG)

Chapters like today's are difficult to understand in our present day experience. Our time, our culture, and the spiritual realities we experience 2,000 years this side of the cross on history's timeline make it hard to grasp the circumstances of David's day. What was the big deal with taking a census? Why was God so ticked off?

That's when I step back and look for the big picture. What is the spiritual lesson communicated through these events? What's the moral of the story?

I found it in David's confession and repentent statement. By taking a census, David was "substituting statistics for trust." No matter the times we live in, that's a lesson we can all take to heart. Where in our current lives are we seeking assurance from jobs, bank statements, medical science, human relationships, education, or investments instead of fully placing our trust in God?

Today, I'm thinking about the places I seek assurance, and how that dilutes my trust and reliance on God for providing my every need.

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kr

22 David said to Araunah, "Give me the site of the threshing floor so I can build an altar to God. Charge me the market price; we're going to put an end to this disaster."

23 "O Master, my king," said Araunah, "just take it; do whatever you want with it! Look, here's an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles for the fuel and wheat for the meal offering—it's all yours!"

24-27 David replied to Araunah, "No. I'm buying it from you, and at the full market price. I'm not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice." So David bought the place from Araunah for six hundred shekels of gold. He built an altar to God there and sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings. He called out to God and God answered by striking the altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering with lightning. Then God told the angel to put his sword back into its scabbard.

How easily we get distracted! The angel of God is hovering waiting to strike and David and Araunah decide to negotiate and banter about the proper way for David to acquire the threshing floor. Couldn't that wait? I feel like sometimes I get side-tracked too by the responsibilities of life and it takes me away from the immediate call of God. I need to be more aware of this.

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