“I am giving you three options. Choose
one of them for me to carry out against you.” 2 Sam 24:11
The Lord revealed to David through Gad the seer the punishment that was going to be
exacted as a result of David’s sin of numbering his fighting men. Why were
there even options given, we wonder.
The Lord is sovereign over all, therefore he doesn’t consult with people pertaining to what
he intends to do. Which was David supposed to choose among the three options,
since they were equally bad?
There were options given nonetheless.
We do make choices all the time, and every choice we make does create a ripple effect. One
thing leads to another and, we can probably trace an effect to a certain choice
we made years ago.
Is there room for freewill?
Obviously David chose to number his fighting men on his own, which appeared to be quite
innocent. But the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. David, however,
chose to do what was displeasing to the Lord out of his own volition and was punished.
Did the king know that such action was an insult to God? He wouldn’t have done it had he
known the seriousness of it.
David chose to take such an action not entirely unprovoked; there were various factors that
led to the final decision. David’s freewill was bound by his sin, therefore it
wasn’t really free.
Yet the Lord asked him to choose from the three options.
Was there a tinge of selfishness in David’s choice?
“Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do
not let me fall into human hands.” This was David’s reasoning before he made a
“Three days of plague in your land.” This does not seem to be a good option, it appears.
Seventy thousand Israelites died as a result. Many people’s lives might have
been spared had he chosen to be pursued by his enemies for three months.
It was a selfish choice, even though David made it sound so spiritual. Plague and war
are equally bad, yet unlike plague that kills people randomly, wars take peoples’
lives a lot more selectively.
We will always choose the option that is more advantageous to us if there is a choice
to be made. We do have freewill, but it’s gravely contaminated by our
selfishness and sin. David’s choice in this context was no exception and people
suffered greatly because of his choice.
The Lord was gracious enough to provide David with options, which produced seventy thousand
dead. David made his choice and people died. What a sorry affair!