In the first reading today from 2 Samuel 24, David is given three choices of how God is going to deal with him. All of them seem untenable. More in a moment. In the Gospel reading, Jesus goes to his native place, but He can perform very few mighty deeds there. Why? A lack of faith by the people. These were the people that knew Him, that He had grown up around. And they could not accept that Jesus was anyone special. “And they took offense at him.”
David had taken a census. Against the will of God. And like so many other times in his life, he had to come clean before the Lord. Because of his sin, God gave David three options for a punishment, none of which were good. David chose three days pestilence upon the land. But this resulted in the deaths of seventy thousand people. God stops the angel causing the destruction and when David sees this angel, he says, “It is I who have sinned; it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong. But these are sheep; what have they done? Punish me and my kindred.”
Like any of us, David had a selfish streak. But his heart was always a heart for others. He could not bear to see others punished for his transgression. Thus his plea to the Lord at the end of today’s reading. He was willing to man up, take responsibility and accept his lumps. (Unfortunately, it was too late for an awful lot of innocent people.) Too often today people are not willing to take responsibility for their actions. We blame, we lie, we deflect…whatever it takes to get over. But God knows. He’s waiting for us to come clean, admit, and accept responsibility for our own sinfulness.
Father, teach us to say those most painful words that David uttered, “It is I who have sinned.” Teach us to take responsibility for our actions. Amen.
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