Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Psalm 17; 1 Chronicles 21:1-17; 1 John 2:1-6
The first thing I have to say about the lectionary and Chronicles today is that personally I don't spend much time with Chronicles. This is one of the main reasons I follow the lectionary. It forces me out of my comfort zone, makes me read something I wouldn't otherwise read. It's not that I'm avoiding Chronicles; it just doesn't enter my thoughts. I don't have a lot of brain space allocated to it. I'm glad for the lectionary when it forces me to try new things, like today in Chronicles.
The next thing is that today's Chronicles passage invalidates about half a page of yesterday's sermon. Yesterday I argued that there wasn't a lot of disembodied evil in the culture of ancient Israel, but the first word of the Chronicles reading is "Satan." Satan stood up against Israel. I definitely omitted this reference from Chronicles in yesterday's sermon.
The next surprising thing is that counting seems bad?! I went looking for a commentary to explain what's wrong with the census, and my commentary says there is nothing in the text to explain what's wrong with it. Whatever is wrong with the census is lost to the ages.
Finally, my favorite part of the lectionary today is David's choice of punishment. I don't like the image of God as a violent Suzerain, but I was right there with David when he was saying "If God's going to punish me, put the sword in God's own hand." Why? Because David knows and I know that God is merciful. Indeed, the Lord stays the hand of the destroying angel. The ending also shows David taking blame for himself and defending the people. "But these sheep, what have they done?" This is David being tender and merciful to the people of Israel. I wonder where he got that from? David is doing as God does: being merciful and loving the people.