May 23 (Daily reading: 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21-22; Psalm 30) Taking a census of the fighting men in Israel suggested that their power depended on the size of their army. Joab said: “Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are” (2 Sam. 24:3). God could add, or he could subtract, as He did with Gideon, reducing the army from 32,000 to 300. He did it so that Israel would not “become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has saved me’” (Judg. 7:2). Or, as Paul said, “So that the extraordinary greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7). We must never forget that!
The Lord is preeminent in everything. The plague came to Israel by His hand, and it went away by His hand. He has the power to end the pandemic upon the earth; He also has the power to use it for His glory, and lead people to make an altar to Him as David did (2 Sam. 24:25). When the pandemic is history, who will be praised: the president (pick one) … the scientists … God?
God’s appearance at the altar motivated David to make preparations for the temple that his son Solomon would build. He said to the leaders of Israel, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God” (2 Chron. 22:19). This was the answer for Israel, and it is the answer for America today! Not glorying in the resilience of the American people, or the ingenuity of our political leaders, or even the marvel of medical science! But giving glory to the Lord our God—Yes! We must set our hearts and our souls to seek Him!
“Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name … Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:4-5, NKJV).
– Al Gary