Scripture Note.

1 Chronicles 21:15-27.

It is interesting to see the order unfolded here in the establishment of the relations of sovereign grace. First of all, the heart of God, and His sovereign grace in election, suspending the execution of the deserved and pronounced judgment; next, the revelation of this judgment - a revelation which produces humiliation before God, and a full confession of sin before His face. David, and the elders of Israel, clothed in sackcloth, fall upon their faces, and David presents himself as the guilty one. Then instruction comes from God as to that which must be done to cause the pestilence judicially and definitely to cease; namely, to sacrifice in Ornan's threshing-floor. God accepts the sacrifice, sending fire to consume it, and then He commands the angel to sheathe his sword. And sovereign grace, thus carried out in righteousness through sacrifice, becomes the means of Israel's approach to their God, and establishes the place of their access to Him. The tabernacle, a testimony to the conditions under which the people had failed, offered no resource in such a case; on the contrary, it occasioned fear. David was afraid to go to Gibeon. (1 Chr. 21:29, 30.) Nothing would do but the definitive intervention of God, according to His own grace (the circumstances of the sin, on the king's own part, leaving no room for any other means). The whole system of the tabernacle as a legal institution is set aside, and the worship of Israel founded on grace by sacrifice coming in where all, even the king as responsible, had failed. Such was Israel's position for him who understood it. J. N. Darby.