Home Search Contact Us



No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!




David: A Man After God’s Own Heart – Sermon #23


2 Samuel 24:1-15


Intro: When we survey the life of David, we often think of him in terms of his sin with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband Uriah.  Most of us would pinpoint that one event in time and David’s life and declare that it was his low point.  But, the text before us finds David in another period of sin.

      He was a middle aged man when he sinned with Bathsheba.  Like many men David’s age, he gave in to lust and committed adultery in an effort to reclaim a vanishing youth. (Ill. Men that is a trap and a lie!  You cannot go back and you should be mature enough to know it!) Now David is an old man.  Lust has been replaced by other sins in David’s life.

      We might think that as we grow older this thing will get easier; that we will get a handle on the flesh and we will be able to live above sin.  Dream on my friends!  The sins that tempt you today may not tempt you when age comes creeping in, but I am certain that there will be a whole bunch of others sins just waiting to take their place.

      I would like for us to spend a little time in this passage today.  I want to examine David’s Greatest Sin.  As we looks at the lessons that are taught in this passage, we can see how to handle our sin when it comes calling. So, let’s take a little time today to look at these verses and consider David’s Greatest Sin!


  I.  v. 1-4                THE TRAGEDY OF DAVID’S SIN

(Ill. Sin is always a tragedy!  Sometimes, people are overcome by evil and fall like an animal in a trap, Gal. 6:1.  We can sympathize with that kind of sin, because we all do it.  But, at other times, people walk into sin with their eyes wide open, and to my mind, that is a greater tragedy!  Such is the case in this chapter. Let’s examine David’s sin together.)

A.  v. 1  It Was A Sin Of Anger – We are told very clearly that God was angry with Israel.  We are told that God moved David to be against them as well. 1 Chron. 21 is a parallel passage to this one.  In verse 1 of that text, we are told, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”  So, in this sin, Satan was used by the Lord as the agent of His chastisement. God used Satan to move David to do what was already in David’s heart.  God is not and cannot be the author of sin!

            Now, why was God angry with Israel?  We are not told, but I would like to suggest a few reasons. 

·        It may have been the fact that they followed Absalom when he rebelled against David. 

·        It may have been that the majority of Israel went after Sheba, 2 Sam. 20:1-2. 

·        It may have been that their hearts were lifted up in pride over all their victories, 2 Sam. 23. We are told time and again in that passage that the Lord gave the victory, but Israel might have come to believe it was about them and not about Him! (Ill. Deut. 8:10-19)

            Whatever the reason, God was angry with them and allowed Satan to tempt David and David, in his anger, sinned by numbering the people. 

            I will admit that I do not fully understand all that is going on here, but I do know this: you had better be careful when you are angry!  You will make mistakes you will want to take back later.  An ancient Chinese saying goes, “He who files off handle, makes bad landing!” The Bible cautions us against allowing anger to take hold of our hearts and lives, Eph. 4:26-27.

B.  v. 2  It Was A Sin Of Arrogance – Now, you might wonder, “What is wrong with a census?”  Good question!  Maybe David was getting ready to go to war against an unsuspecting neighbor.  Maybe he wanted to see how many people he had under his command so that he could strut around in his pride a little bit. The fact is, David is acting in pride!

            Pride is always the root of our sins!  It was the root of the first sin, Gen. 3:1-6.  Pride says, “I know better than God and I can do as I please!”  Beware of your pride it will never lead to the Lord, only farther away! Our pride separates us form our God and from others!

C.  v. 3-4  It Was A Sin Of Aggression – When Joab hears the king’s order, he stands up to David and says, “Why are you doing this?  God has always made the people of Israel appear to be a hundred times stronger than they actually were.  We are a people of faith and we should just do like we have always done and trust the Lord!”  That is good advice, but kings always prevail over general and David’s order stood.  David sinned in the face of good advice.

            A lot of the time we get into trouble because we will not stop to listen to the good advice of others.  People who love us will warn us that we are headed down the wring road, but we plow ahead anyway.  The Word of God warns us, but we carry on in the face of what God has to say about the matter.  Actions like that can only end in disaster! (Ill. Pro. 16:25)


 II.  v. 5-16                THE TRAUMA OF DAVID’S SIN

(Ill. No one sins in a vacuum.  David’s sin affected him, but it also touched his people.  David’s sin unleashed a traumatic time in the nation of Israel.  Let’s examine their trauma for a moment.)

A.  v. 10 The Trauma Of Conviction – As soon as David gets the report from Joab and begins to study it, he realizes that he has made a big mistake.  He confesses his failure and asks for forgiveness.  Conviction tore his heart apart.

            Conviction is one of the most amazing things about being saved, to me.  When I sin, it does not take all day for me to know about it!  As soon as the thought is finished, or the deed is done, I feel His conviction on my heart.  God speaks to His children and lets them know that what they have done is wrong, John 16:7-13.  His conviction is the first step in the process of drawing a wayward child home, Heb. 12:5-11. Conviction hurts, but we should praise the Lord for it.  It is one of the greatest assurances of salvation you possess, Heb. 12:8!

B.  v. 11-14  The Trauma Of The Choices – The very next, the prophet Gad comes to David and presents a strange message from the Lord.  God allows David to choose his punishment.  He is offered three choices.

      1.  The nation can experience seven years of famine.

      2.  Israel’s enemies can have victory over them for three months.

      3.  Israel can face three days of pestilence.

            David does not know what to do. Regardless of the choice David made, the people of Israel were going to suffer terribly.  He trusted himself and his nation to the grace of a good God. So he makes the wise decision and places the fate of Israel in the hands of the Lord, v. 14. Ill. David had rather fall into the hands of a just, holy, good, gracious God than into the hands of sinful men!

            God does not offer us such choices.  I thank God that He does not!  But, He has already warned us that our sins have consequences, Gal. 6:7-8. This is the clear teaching of other passages as well.

·        Job 4:8, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”

·        Hosea 8:7, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.”

            Those who know the Lord and walk in sin will not prosper. Haggai 1:6-7 says, “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”

C.  v. 15-16  The Trauma Of The Chastisement – So God sends some sort of plague upon the people and seventy thousand die in three days.  Imagine the grief and the shock as seventy thousand people die; seventy thousand families are plunged into grief.  Why? Because one man committed a sin in his pride!

            I believe that this passage should be a warning to each of us.  You never know what the outcome of your sin is going to be.  You might affect a few and you might affect many. Affecting just one is too many!  I recently heard a preacher say, “Know what you sow; so you won’t weep when you reap!”  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather influence people and point them toward God, than I had to drive them away from Him because of my sin!

            Here is what we need to remember: sin always has consequences.  Sometimes they affect just the sinner, at other times they affect those around the sinner.  Either way, when we sin, we can be sure that chastisement is not far behind, Rev. 3:19!


III.  v. 17-25             THE TEACHING OF DAVID’S SIN

(Ill. Even at his lowest ebb, David still has something to teach us about walking with God.  His sin and his recovery from it has something to teach us about dealing with our own sin.)

A.  v. 17a It Teaches About Confession – This is why David was called “a man after God’s own heart.”  David could sin and he could sin big, but he could not stay in that condition.  He had to find that place of repentance before the Lord.  He had to get right with God.

            That is a lesson that we all need to get a hold of today.  Yes, we will sin, and yes, sometimes, we will sin big.  When we do, our natural tendency is to try and hide that sin away and pretend that it did not take place.  God’s way is different!  God expects us to confess and forsake our sins, Pro. 28:13; 1 John 1:9.

B.  v. 17b  It Teaches About Contrition – Not only did David confess his sins, but he took all the blame upon himself.  He goes to the Lord and says, “I did it!  I should be paying the price.”  David can only say this because his pride has been shattered.  He does not care about how many soldiers he has.  He does not care about the past victories.  Now, David can see that his sins have hurt him and that they have hurt other people and he is genuinely sorry that he has done what he did.

            This is where the Lord wants to bring us when we fail, too.  He wants us to reach the place where we get honest about what we have done and how it affects those around us.  When we get honest about sin, we will stop making excuses; we will stop playing games; we will stop pointing fingers; we will stop hiding in the shadows.  It’s not someone else’s fault!  We are guilty and we need to deal with it! 

            When we get honest, we will come out and deal with our sins by forsaking it, and by dealing with the consequences it has brought into our lives.  When we get to this point, God can bless us, forgive us and restore us again, Psa. 51:17; Psa. 34:18.  (Ill. Luke 18:11-14 – God will receive and bless the person who comes with a right heart!)

C.  v. 18-25  It Teaches About Costliness – David is told to go to a certain threshing floor and make a sacrifice.  David does and when the owner of the threshing floor offers to give the place to David, David refuses.  David knows that real worship is costly.  He knows that getting things fixed up with the Lord carries a high price.  He buys the threshing floor and the oxen, he builds an altar and he offers a sacrifice.  God is pleased and all is well again.

            What is the lesson here? Faith is like a threshing floor.  It winnows out everything from our lives that is not pleasing to the Lord.  It cleans us up, if it is followed and obeyed.  But, faith that costs you nothing is not faith at all!  Worship that costs you nothing is not worship at all.  Repentance that costs you nothing is not repentance at all.  Your commitment to God is going to be costly to maintain.  It may cost you relationships, habits, etc. There is always a price to pay when sin has been committed, if you want to be right with the Lord again! 

            You see, serving God and enjoying His blessings comes at a price!  Serving God is a costly business!  We cannot cut corners on Him and expect Him to bless us! 

            Do you know why this church has been blessed like it has? It is because some people have paid the price in prayer, holiness and sacrifice over the years.  If we are going to continue for the glory of God, then this generation is going to kick in and pay the price as well.


      (Ill. The preacher in Iowa, who made a good living off a farm, was asked by another man about the church he used to Pastor.  He said, “Oh, I don’t preach there anymore.  With what little they gave it was a real sacrifice for me to go each week.”)


      (Note: By the way, did you notice that David’s sin was not completely dealt with until there was blood shed?  That is the clear teaching of the Bible, Heb. 9:22.  Listen, it was on this same hill that Abraham had offered Isaac all those years ago.  It was here that the Temple would be built in just a few years.  It was here that one thousand years later Jesus Christ would hang on an old rugged cross to pay for sin forever.

            Your sin and my sin are going to cost us big.  But, it has already cost God more than we could ever imagine.  He gave His Son on the cross to save us and with that salvation comes forgiveness and cleansing. Thank God we do not have to offer a sacrifice that has been done once for all.  But, we have to get honest about our sin and pay the price of confession and repentance so that our sins can be forgiven.)


Conc: How does this message find you today?  Are you saved and enjoying close, intimate fellowship with Jesus?  Are you dealing with a sin problem? Do you need to come before the Lord and deal with some sin or problem in your walk with Jesus?  Are you ready to pay the price so that God might continue to move and bless around here?  This altar is open and Jesus is ready to receive all who will come to Him.



 The Fundamental Top 500    


Home Sermons Audio Sermons Bible Study Tools Links Sermon CD About Alan Carr