"And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel." - 2 Samuel 24:25
God had sent a terrible epidemic upon Israel in response to an act of disobedience by King David. Seventy thousand people had died in three days, and at the end David was pleading with God that the people might be spared and not held responsible for his sin.
God had seemed to be unresponsive to prayers that the epidemic would stop. He had told David before it all began that the plague would run for three days and still He was waiting for David to be driven to his knees before He lifted it.
When He did respond, God chose to use the moment to accomplish something even greater than David or the people expected. He not only stopped the epidemic, He indicated the location where the Temple was to be built, sending the prophet Gad to tell David to buy the threshing-floor at the heart of the city and build an altar there.
We are cautiously approaching what we hope is the end of a terrible epidemic. In this one, hundreds of thousands have died. We have poured millions of dollars into research and development to create a medical response to it, but those who study these things tell us that at any time the thing could morph into a new and unexpected form and hit us again. It’s not something that we can control but it’s not out of God’s power to create, control or stop it.
What does God want to accomplish through all of this? Is there something we need to learn? Something from which we still need to repent? Is there something that God wants to communicate to us so that He can bring it to an end?
He has not dealt with us according to our sins: so far the epidemic has taken somewhere between 600,000 and 900,000 in this country alone. That’s terrible; we have all lost friends and family members. But abortions kill that many children every year in this country; we are now well over the 60 million mark and the latest trend is not to call people to repentance but to encourage them to celebrate having had an abortion!
What will it take for God to get our attention? What will it take to bring us to our knees?
God, have mercy on our nation. Forgive our callous disregard for human life. Deliver us from the evil influence of a culture that celebrates death. Open the hearts of Your own people with love to reach out to those who have become victims. Enable us to bring healing and assurance of Your forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles