Near the end of his life, David went against God’s explicit wishes and counted his fighting men. It’s clear that David had slipped into thinking that he should rely on human power, rather than God’s strength. Even David’s leadership team knew that this was a hugely bad move, and they told him so.
David pressed on anyway with the count. God then became angry with David’s sinful actions, and especially his prideful heart. In response, the Lord sent a plague on Israel. The plague actually progressed to the point where 70,000 people ended up dying.
But then the Lord suddenly relented from his anger. He withdrew the angel who was bringing this disaster on the people. With some irony, the place where the plague ceased became the place that David purchased for a temple, so he could demonstrate his repentance and honor God.
Not all bad stretches in our life are brought about as a result of God’s discipline. But when this does happen, we need to remember that God’s anger lasts only a short while. God’s true nature is not to display anger but love.
In other words, displaying love is what God most loves to display. Look throughout the entire Bible. Yes, God gets angry at times. But grace and forgiveness always get the last word!
So, if it’s your “night of weeping,” remember these words always and know that rejoicing will come in the morning.
“Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Wednesday, March 4, is Leviticus 11:1 – 12:8, Mark 12:13-27 and Psalm 30:1-7.
Lord, I pray with David: “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing” (2 Samuel 24:10, NIV). Thank you for forgiving me. Let rejoicing return quickly. Show me your favor, and lead my heart to find joy in your grace.
Header image based on "Sunrise" by Grassi, CC By-SA 2.0