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A National Tragedy Turned Into A National Treasure

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When terrible, horrible things happen, building an altar can cause a reversal...

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A National Tragedy Turned Into A National Treasure

1 Chronicles 21:17–19 KJV 1900
And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued. Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the Lord.
From time to time, evil thoughts come into the mind’s of people.
I’m not talking about when you get the sudden urge scare your spouse or a friend and you stand behind a door or you tape down the trigger on the water hose in the sink...
I’m talking about true evil that goes against the desire of God.
I’m talking about things like ouija boards and hatred and selfish thoughts. Men begin to dwell on evil, and then they commit evil.
Understand this: dwelling on evil will at some point produce committing evil.
And while I haven’t come today to go on a royal rant, I will tell you that there is a pipeline of evil content that is being fed to humanity today.
And if there was ever a time that a saint of God ought to be aware, prepared, prayed up, filled up, and pumped up, it’s TODAY!
I’m telling you, our world is sick and tired of being fed garbage! And it’s simply a fact that they are hungry and thirsty for something that is good, something that is fulfilling, something that is real and can be felt and will keep them when everything is good, and when everything is bad!
I’m talking about this Holy Ghost message we have!!!
Ladies and gentlemen - we’ve got to keep preaching it if it means we die preaching it - this world is on the brink of dying in thirst, and the only thing available that will quench that thirst is the Holy Ghost!!!
There’s no high like the MOST high!
I wonder if there’s somebody here who God has brought you out of the miry clay, and He set your feet on the rock to stay?!
I wonder if there’s a person here who you can say God seen you in your sins and evil living and by His grace, He picked you up and made you who you are today?!
If that’s you, you oughtta lift your hands and give God some praise in this room!!!!!
David’s Evil Thought
And so David had one of these evil thoughts we’re talking about.
1 Chronicles 21:1–2 KJV 1900
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
1 Chronicles 21:1-
David was tempted by Satan to do a census and number the people. And he did it. He did wrong in a moment.
Perhaps the issue was that David’s pride in numbers was overriding his trust in God.
Now, Joab was at his side and he protested and tried to talk him out of it, but nevertheless David was determined to have a census and he did.
1 Chronicles 21:7 KJV 1900
And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
1 Chronicles
God Responds
1 Chronicles 21:7 KJV 1900
And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
1 Chronicles 1:7 KJV 1900
And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
And David realized he had sinned greatly and was convicted in his heart.
David’s sin demanded punishment, and God gave him three options:
Three years of famine
Three months to be destroyed by foes
Or three days of pestilence, destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel
David’s Decision
David had a decision to make.
And I don’t know how you would measure which of these choices are the most favorable.
But David knew that if he chose pestilence, where God did the punishing, he would be in the hands of a merciful God.
Can I tell you something? God is still a merciful God!
And he chose the last choice, the pestilence.
A National Tragedy
1 Chronicles 21:14 KJV 1900
So the Lord sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.
1 Chronicles 21:
70,000 men died!
And, as promised, God sent an angel that began destroying Jerusalem.
Men were dying by the thousands as a result of David’s evil idea!
It was quite literally a NATIONAL TRAGEDY.
On 9/11 in America, 2,996 people were killed in the attacks on our country. And we’ll never forget it!
But 2,996 is a lot less than 70,000, especially when there were a lot less people on the planet and in the nation of Israel itself.
It was, for sure, a national tragedy.
And it seems that we are now seeing our own national tragedies more and more often in this country.
Every month you hear of something else that has happened, some evil that someone has committed.
School shootings, terrorism, killings - results of dwelling on evil!
The Answer To Tragedy
But I’m glad to report to you today that there was an answer - a solution - to the tragedy!
David and the elders were all mourning over all of the death that had occured. 70,000 men!
And David told God, “Lord, let your punishment be upon me, not them! I am the one that sinned!”
And God then told David what the answer to this tragedy was...
And when I read this scripture, I hope you'll let it hit you with the full weight of the word of God:
1 Chronicles 21:18 KJV 1900
Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
The response to a chaotic world...
The response to the evil that you are living around...
The response to the worries and concerns you have...
God says, “I want you to go up and build an altar!”
I’m not here to debate whether one side has a better argument than the other about anything! Can I tell you that God’s answer is not political!
But what I believe God DOES desire me to tell this church today is that He has placed a mighty weapon in our hands!
This weapon of our warfare is not carnal, but MIGHTY to the PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS!
Fighting Strongholds
When the bible mentions strongholds, it is referring to a sort of a fort that has been built up in the spiritual realm.
It’s protecting something! And the devil is making up strongholds around people in our world, boxing them in where he wants them, alone with spirits that would torment them and provoke them to do evil!
Friend we are not merely fighting against people today! We are not in a physical, man-to-man battle, because we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world! Against spiritual wickedness in high places!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, if we’re going to fight these things, some of which are in our city, and perhaps you have struggled against yourself, then I have to tell you as Gad told David: “God says it’s time to build an altar!!!”
A cute little argument won’t avail much in our situation, folks.
Anger and hatred doesn’t avail much in our battle!
But you let the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man go up to God - and you’re going to see that it AVAILETH MUCH!!!
I’m telling you, if you see something in your life or around you that you’d like to see God change, you ought to build an altar!
God is calling on His church today, and he’s asking us to take up our primary weapon: prayer!
A National Tragedy Turned Into A National Treasure
Now, real quickly I want to show you the absolutely astounding power that is in building an altar!
National tragedy has struck. God tells David: build an altar! And He tells him where to build it: in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
So David obeys.
Do you know what David actually did?
He bought the place. He payed a great price for that piece of land.
But later on down the road, God would use Solomon to build the temple smack dab on that piece of land!
A place of high value! A place of spiritual connection with God! A sacred place! It would be a treasure to the people!
And God took a national tragedy and turned it into a national treasure!
How did He do it? Somebody built an altar!
If you would allow me today, I would suggest that in this room there are people who have been dealing with tragedy. Dealing with struggle. Dealing with pain.
God wants to turn that into a treasure!
But He needs you to build an altar today!
Building an altar can cause a reversal!
It can turn a tragedy into a treasure!!!!!
We don’t know for certain who wrote 1st or 2nd Chronicles, but we do know one thing: The person who wrote normally does not record David’s faults and mistakes.
David’s sin and his idea of having a census is mentioned ONLY because it was part of a bigger, more important picture: the acquisition of the site of the future temple.
Be sure of this today: mistakes and faults are in everyone’s life - but they can become part of something beautiful if we let God take control!
We have to build an altar!
Altar builders are the only hope for this world. Sinners are depending on us.
I talked to a missionary who told me of the trash and disgusting situation India is in. When the deluge of rain comes down, it picks up all the trash and the feces. And there are people just walking through it.
But he said that they are so fascinated to learn about God! They are thrilled and thankful for the opportunity!
We’re not in India today, but I would submit to you that there are people marching through muddy water and trash all around us, and their waiting on somebody to pull them out!
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