Step 1: Opening and Introduction to the lesson – Personal Testimonies from last week’s study and Reflection: When you were first learning math, what did you use: Computers? Calculators? Adding machines? Slide rules? Abacus? Fingers? Did your parents ever make you choose your consequences? What difficult choices do you remember making?
Step 2: Hear – Read: David Counts the Fighting Men: 2 Samuel 24:1-17.
Step 3: Explore – Discover the Passage
- This story presents many theological and ethical problems, as we seek insights into David’s dilemma. What prompted David’s request to take a census (vv. 1-2): God’s anger? Satan’s ruse (see 1 Ch 21:1? David’s pride? David’s insecurity? Some external threat?
- What does your answer above say about who lies behind evil acts (see Jas 1:13-15)? How could a man after God’s own heart be duped by Satan? As for the census itself (vv. 5-9); what’s involved in terms of time, money and manpower?
- Why is David so conscience-stricken (v. 10)? Is taking a census always wrong, sinful or a foolish waste of human resources (see Nu 1:2-3; 26:2-4)? Didn’t the Lord ultimately direct him to do so (v. 1)?
- If the Lord did ask David to take the census, then why the subsequent punishment (vv. 11-17)? Why three options? And why punish the people for something David ordered?
- Is God working at cross-purposes when he grieves over the punishment inflicted on Israel by his own angel (v. 16)?
Step 4: Connect – Apply the Passage:
- In what ways are you proud of your accomplishments, acquisitions or responsibilities? Behind the proud image you show the world, are you also insecure?
- Where are you tempted to lean upon the strength of your superior assets rather than in weakness depend on God?
- Though you may have prayed for strength in order to achieve great things for God, where has God made you weak, that you might learn to humbly obey him?
Step 5: Reflect: I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.