Items posted on 17 August 2011
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2 Samuel 24.10,15-17 and Deuteronomy 24.16 – God’s Sovereign Freedom
Posted: 17 August 2011 in 2 Samuel, Deuteronomy

And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly….. So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done?

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

Reading the first of those two passages above, our immediate reaction would probably be to echo the words of David, and ask, “What have these sheep done?” But it seemed good to God that all Israel should suffer for David’s sin, and he is answerable to nobody. The second passage quoted probably appeals much more to our sense of fairness, but it points up the fact that the Creator is cannot be constrained by the ordinances he obliges his creatures to obey. The difference being that his creatures are (or ought to be) fellow labourers for God’s kingdom, whereas he is their Lord, and he deals with each of his creatures according to the good pleasure of his own will.

If we would worship God for his righteousness and justice, as we must, then we must allow him to be the arbiter of what is just, and acknowledge he alone is the Righteous One.

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