Do You Trust in Your Own Resources or in the Lord? 

Second Samuel 24

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 13, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – Songs on trusting the Lord


  1. Remember that Second Samuel 21–24 
    1. covers some events during the reign of King David.
    2. They are not in chronological order.
  2. Then the writers of the Books of the Kings 
    1. takes up where the writer of the Books of the Samuels leave off and
    2. tells us of David’s last days, and
      1. the beginning of Solomon’s reign, and
      2. the other kings that followed.
  3. Second Samuel 24 sets the stage for the building of the temple, 
    1. which First Kings will cover
    2. during the reign of Solomon.


  1. Second Samuel 24.1 – Israel Angered the Lord

    1 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

    1. Remember this sentence because it will help us later.
    2. Israel, or many Israelites, did something to anger the Lord.
    3. Therefore, the Lord moved David to number Israel.
      1. Did you know that First Chronicles 21.1 says
      2. Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to do the numbering?
    4. Two problems existed.
      1. Israel had sinned and
      2. David was about to sin.
        1. We do not know what Israel did, but
        2. verse 1 shows what David did.
  2. Second Samuel 24.2 – David Ordered a Numbering of the Army

    2 So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”

    1. David commanded Joab to number all of Israel, because
    2. he wanted to know the number of his soldiers.
  3. Second Samuel 24.3 – Joab Objected

    3 And Joab said to the king, “Now may the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?”

    1. Joab objected,
      1. wishing for the Lord to multiple Israel a hundred times over, and
      2. wishing that David would be able to see such an increase.
    2. Then Joab questioned David’s motives.
  4. Second Samuel 24.4–9 – Israel Had a Huge Army

    4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel. 5 And they crossed over the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the town which is in the midst of the ravine of Gad, and toward Jazer. 6 Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; they came to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon; 7 and they came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to South Judah as far as Beersheba. 8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

    1. David prevailed over Joab.
    2. Therefore, Joab and his captains went out and counted the people.
      1. They immediately headed East and
      2. crossed the Jordan,
        1. working their way to the North,
        2. then crossing over to the West and
          1. working toward the South,
          2. until they had completed the job after 9 months and 20 days.
            1. Although First Chronicles 21 says
            2. they did not count Benjamin and Levi, and
              1. so the total differs.
              2. Here the count is: 800,000 Israelites and 500,000 of Judah.
  5. Second Samuel 24.10 – David Became Aware of His Sin

    10 And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

    1. Later David realized what he had done.
    2. Therefore, he confessed his sin to the Lord, and
      1. asked the Lord to forgive him,
      2. acknowledging that he had done foolishly.
  6. Second Samuel 24.11–14 – Choose Your Punishment

    11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.” 14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

    1. Then the Lord sent David’s seer or prophet, Gad, to the king,
    2. proposing three options:
      1. Seven years of famine in the land,
      2. Fleeing for three months from his enemies, or
      3. Three days’ plague in the land.
        1. David could not make a choice,
        2. except to request that he not fall into the hand of man, but
          1. in the hand of the Lord, for
          2. He is merciful.
  7. Second Samuel 24.15–16 – 70,000 Lost in Only Three Days

    15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

    1. Therefore, the Lord sent a plague immediately upon Israel, and
    2. 70,000 men died.
      1. The Lord did this through an angel, and
      2. the angel continued to his work,
        1. stretching his hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, but
        2. the Lord commanded the angel to restrain his hand,
          1. showing that the Lord does show mercy.
          2. The angel went to the threshing floor of a certain Jebusite.
    3. By the way, you should read First Chronicles 21 and
      1. see how the Jebusite’s sons responded to the angel,
      2. how the Jebusite responded, and
      3. how the Jebusite responded to David when he showed up.
  8. Second Samuel 24.17 – David Spoke on Behalf of Israel

    17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

    1. The Lord allowed David to see the angel as he was striking the people,
    2. moving David
      1. to confess his sin again,
      2. to question the Lord’s treatment of Israel, and
      3. to ask the Lord to let His hand be upon David and his father’s house.
  9. Second Samuel 24.18–23 – A Man Provided for the Lord’s Altar

    18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” 22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

    1. Gad instructed David
      1. to erect an altar to the Lord
      2. on the threshing floor of the Jebusite.
    2. David did as commanded.
      1. When the Jebusite saw David,
      2. he went to David and his servants,
        1. bowed with his face to the ground, and
        2. asked why the king had come to his servant.
    3. David explained that he came
      1. to buy the threshing floor and
      2. to build an altar on it,
        1. that the plague might be withdrawn from the people.
    4. However, Araunah the Jebusite, offered
      1. to give the property,
      2. to give the oxen for the burnt offering, and
      3. to give the wood for the offering.
  10. Second Samuel 24.24–25 – David Made a Sacrifice

    24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

    1. David insisted on buying the land, because
      1. he would not offer to the Lord burnt offering,
      2. which cost him nothing.
    2. David and Araunah agreed on a price.
    3. Then the king
      1. built the altar,
      2. offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and
        1. the Lord heeded the prayers for the land and
        2. withdrew the plague from Israel.


  1. Knowing Your Numbers 
    1. There are legitimate reasons to know your numbers, and
    2. there are illegitimate reasons for knowing your numbers.
      1. The legitimate reasons might be
        1. for knowing whether someone is missing,
        2. for organizing purposes and so on.
      2. The illegitimate reasons might be
        1. for knowing your strength.
        2. That was David’s problem.
    3. This truth does not apply to people only, but
      1. to anything in which we may have an abundance or
      2. wish that we had abundance.
        1. Someone may count their savings,
        2. which can be wise, but
          1. could also be unwise,
          2. if we trust in money.
  2. Our Strength Is the Lord 
    1. David knew this truth, but
      1. as his kingdom grew,
      2. he momentarily looked at it as his strength.
    2. Listen to the following Psalms that David wrote!

      7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
      But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
      (Psa 20.7)

      4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil;
      For You are with me;
      Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
      (Psa 23.4)

      1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
      Whom shall I fear?
      The Lord is the strength of my life;
      Of whom shall I be afraid?
      2 When the wicked came against me
      To eat up my flesh,
      My enemies and foes,
      They stumbled and fell.
      3 Though an army may encamp against me,
      My heart shall not fear;
      Though war may rise against me,
      In this I will be confident.
      (Psa 27.1–3)

    3. Why look at the things you have?
      1. Why look to the government?
      2. Why look to your retirement savings plan?
      3. Why look to the American economy?
        1. Why not look to the One who gives us all those things?
        2. Is the Creator greater than all the things He has created?
  3. Know God and Know Man 
    1. David knew that it was better to fall into the hands of God,
      1. although that can sometimes mean fierce wrath.
      2. However, David knew that punishment was coming, but
        1. he also knew that he had confessed his sin, and
        2. that God would be merciful.
    2. Whereas, David knew
      1. that his enemies would pursue him
      2. until they had wiped him out,
        1. if they were allowed to do so.
        2. Therefore, he did not like option 2,
          1. feeling for three months from his enemies, but
          2. he knew that the other two options—
            1. seven years of famine, or
            2. three days plague—
              1. the Lord would carry out, and
              2. just as David had thought,
                1. the Lord showed mercy
                2. by choosing three days of a plague, and
                3. even then the Lord relented.
    3. The point being, that David knew how God and Man work.
      1. Of course, David put knowing God above all things.
      2. Is that not what we do?
        1. We call ourselves Christians, meaning
          1. we want to be like Him, and
          2. that requires that we learn from Him and of Him.
        2. Knowing the Lord tops everything that we do in life.