“Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.'” (2 Samuel 24:1)
“Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:1)
From where does adversity come, and how do we stand against it?
A sermon on two parallel accounts of David’s census and the purchase of land for the Temple, found in 2 Samuel 24:1-4 and 1 Chronicles 21:1-4. In the first, God incites David but then punishes Israel for the census. In the second, Satan appears, named as the personification of evil for the first time in the Bible, tempting David against the will of God.
And there, in the terrible ambiguity of these parallel texts, stands a king, making decisions, wielding power that means life or death for whole communities.
How do we choose life, when malevolence and confusion overshadow our minds, and power is so easily mishandled by us?
Offered on Sunday, August 28, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church-Woodruff, SC. The sermon may be heard here:
The concluding reading is Ephesians 6:10-20, from a chapter and book full of its own deeply troubling passages.
And so we stand against evil, seeking the face of Love.
Photo: Detail of stained glass depiction of David, psalmist and shepherd, in the Chapel at First Presbyterian Church-Spartanburg, SC.