For His mercy is very great…
I Chronicles 21
In this historical narrative, we see David standing at a place of pain and punishment. He has sinned against the Lord - Scripture is clear on this - and has caused others to sin as well. The triune God offers him three disciplinary choices:
- 3 years of famine
- 3 months of overtaking by enemies
- 3 days of the sword of the Lord
In all three of these choices David, his household, and his people would be affected. David’s decision - even in a season of discipline - is an example of his faith in Jehovah-Makeh. David’s plan was to bank on the mercy of God - both for himself and his people. He knew Jehovah Adonai well enough to know he could count on - stake his all on - God’s mercy. David knew God as the Great Shepherd of his soul and he knew of God’s covenant with His people. So, he also knew that somehow, someway the LORD would come to their rescue and aid. David asked the LORD for option three - three days of the sword of the LORD.
I Chronicles 21:13 “…I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
Seventy thousand of his men indeed fell at the sword and God sent an angel of warfare bent on a mission to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel drew and raised his sword, the LORD, in His great mercy, relented. He withdrew His hand of destruction. David looked up in time to see the angel poised and ready to strike. David pleaded with his Maker, Sustainer, and Defender - the God of justice and mercy - and He granted mercy to David and his people…His people.
This place where David met the Divine occurred at a threshing floor belonging to Araunah. A threshing floor - a place where the harvest is celebrated, where food is refined so life can be sustained, the place where Ruth met her Kinsmen-Redeemer. Ruth, who was the great grandmother of David himself. David bought the threshing floor at a great price - blood and gold - and it became an altar to Elohim. When the pleasing aroma of the burnt offerings - the cutting and burning of flesh, consumed by fire reigning down from the LORD himself in a covenantal act - reached God’s nostrils, He commanded His angel to stand at ease. David witnessed the mercy of God, before his very eyes. He saw the LORD answer the cry of his heart. And it was then that he knew - this place of bloodshed, of burning, of great and faithful mercy - this was to be the site of the house of God. The was the place for The Name, the place where God’s glory would dwell. Here animal blood would spill and fire would consume flesh perpetually - until the day the Lamb of God would lay down His own life. Once and for all. His mercy is very great.