This issue looks at the why the Temple Mount belongs to Israel.
SINCE YOU ASKED
While David was one of Israel’s greatest kings, he made some very bad decisions from time to time. One was his order to conduct a census (2 Samuel 24) to see just how many people were under his rule. While such a census was common for purposes of drafting for the military or for taxation, even his commander, Joab, saw it as evidence that David was putting his faith in numbers rather than in God. David proceeded against Joab’s advice, but eventually realized his sin. By then, however, it was too late. He had to suffer the consequences. God offered him three choices: seven years of famine, three months of being pursued by his enemies, or three days of pestilence. Wanting to fall into the hand of God rather then men, he chose the pestilence.
Seventy thousand men died. But when the angel of the Lord (Christ Himself), who was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, stretched out His hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented, saying, “It is enough.” David then begged the Lord to direct his wrath on David and his father’s house and not the people, who were innocent. Gad, David’s seer (prophet) tells him to erect an altar to the Lord on Araunah’s threshing floor so that the plague would be held back from the people. Araunah offered to give David everything he needed, including the oxen, but David insists on paying for everything since he could not bring himself to present to his Lord an offering that cost him nothing. He bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. David built the altar and presented his burnt and peace offerings. God held back the plague from Israel.
AS I SEE IT
While there are several obvious lessons in this account, I’d like to focus on a very significant consequence of this transaction. The importance lies in the location of this piece of property. The threshing floor was on Mount Moriah, a hill in the region of Moriah, the very spot where Abraham offered Isaac and the future site of Solomon’s Temple. This spot would later become known as the Temple Mount. David purchased it three thousand years ago and it has never been sold. The biblical account is as close to a recorded property deed as we will ever see. It is proof that the most controversial piece of real estate in the world belongs to Israel, free and clear.
Such a claim would not be possible if David had not insisted on paying for it. This really shows the consequences of presenting an offering to the Lord that has cost us something. It’s easy to drop our spare change in the offering plate if we really won’t miss it. Since it costs us “nothing,” that’s just what it will mean to God. But look what God did with it. It ended the plague and became the very spot where the name of God would dwell (within the Temple). This account also shows God’s sovereignty over our stupid mistakes. God took a sinful decision and turned it into something that would bring glory to Himself. A little repentance can go a long way.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Actual Newspaper Article Title:
Hospitals Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
(Man, that’s a lot of really tall doctors.)