July 26

1 Chronicles 21:16-17 16David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown. 17David said to God, "Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? O LORD my God, let your hand fall upon me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people."

After David numbered the people of Israel, a sign of his heart turning away from God and toward strength in numbers, the LORD sent his prophet to tell David the nation would suffer for this sin. He had three choices. He had to choose between three years of famine, three months of fleeing before their enemies, or three days of a plague from God. David knew God is more merciful than man. He chose the last option.

The plague swept through Israel killing 70,000 people. When the angel that brought the plague stood over Jerusalem, David could see him. David interceded for the city by pleading that the sword of the angel fall on his own home, since he was the guilty party. God's judgments are always just. Surely the people's hearts had gone the same direction as David's, trusting in their numbers instead of God.

In this plea from David, we see his genuine shepherd's heart. He would rather take the blow than have it fall on his people. This is the heart of an intercessor that cares enough to place their own life on the line for others. We saw it in Moses, and now in David, and ultimately in Jesus, the Great Shepherd. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (continued)

Consider: Let God increase your love for the people in your life until it becomes like His love.