Bible Reading: 2 Sam. 21:1-14; 24:1-9; 1 Chron. 21; 22; Ps. 30

"Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel" (1 Chron. 21:1).

The purpose of this census was so David could take pride in the strength of his army. Though we don't fully understand why it was considered such a serious offense, David was aware that the command was repulsive to his men and was warned that it would bring guilt on Israel.

"This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel. Then David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.' …And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, 'Enough! Withdraw your hand.' The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite" (1 Chron. 21:7-8, 15).

David, in obedience to God's instruction, built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed offerings. He bought the threshing floor from Araunah to be the future site for the temple of the Lord. Psalm 30 was written to dedicate the site to the building of the temple.

Lord, many of my friends are in the midst of deep suffering. May you look down from heaven and see their distress. May you be grieved because of their calamity and say "ENOUGH!" Bring an end to the destruction that plagues their lives and begin a process of healing through the discovery of your love that lasts a lifetime (Ps. 30:5). When they fall facedown and call to you for help, hear, O Lord, and be merciful; lift them out of the depths of their despair (Ps. 30:1,3,8,10; 1 Chron. 21:16-17). Let them fall into your hands, O Lord, for your mercy is very great (1 Chron. 21:13). Change the threshold of their suffering into a sanctuary of worship and praise to you. Draw them and their hurting loved ones into your presence. Speak to their hearts and let them know what you desire of them, that they may respond in obedience. Turn their nights of tears and defeat into days of joy and victory (Ps. 30:5, 11). Take what Satan intended for destruction, crush it in your hand, and create a new beginning. Surprise them with a "whole, healed, put-together life, with more and more of life on the way" (Romans 6:22 Msg). Clothe them with joy, so their hearts may sing to you and not be silent, giving thanks to you forever (Ps. 30:11-12).