We wake up this morning to the news of another terrorist atrocity, this time closer to home in Manchester. Twenty-two people so far have lost their lives in what looks like a suicide bomb attack. Among the victims are many children and young people. It is hard to conceive how anyone could perpetrate such evil. Scores of people thought they were going out for a pleasant evening’s entertainment; what they actually encountered was death and destruction.
I was reading this morning from 2 Samuel 24. As a result of the sin of King David, the angel of death came and brought a plague that struck down thousands of people. There is an intriguing account of one man, called Araunah, who it seems was completely unaware that the angel of death was right outside his house and that he was next in line to be killed. I imagine him whistling a happy tune to himself as he went about his day, threshing out the latest harvest. He had a lucky escape. As the angel was about the strike, the Lord stepped in and said, “Enough!”
It is easy to live our lives oblivious to the nearness of death
It is easy to live our lives oblivious to the nearness of death. The Psalmist says that we are like flowers in a field, here one moment and then gone the next. We will all face the reality of death, whether by ill health, accident, or the evil acts of others. If Araunah could have seen how close the angel was, he probably would not have been whistling.
The one thing that restricts the spread of evil in this world is worship
The king purchased the threshing floor from Araunah and built an altar there, “that the plague on the people may be stopped”. It is interesting to note that the one thing that would hold back the relentless spread of death and destruction was worship of the living God. When we see death on a horrific scale, like we did last night in Manchester, we do well to remember that the one thing that restricts the spread of evil in this world is worship. Our first response is to bring praise and worship to our Father through Jesus Christ. It is a powerful response indeed.
God’s judgement was halted at the threshing floor of Araunah. Several years later, David’s son, Solomon, would build a temple on that very location in what is now Jerusalem. The temple of the Old Testament is a picture of God’s covenant people, the church. We are God’s temple now. A place where God dwells by his Spirit. A people for whom God says, “I will not judge you as your sins deserve.” We are saved by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, when on the cross he said, “Enough! It is finished.”
We should pray for all those affected by this terrible act in Manchester, and that all those who would consider perpetrating such crimes around the world would be stopped in their tracks. We should pray for mercy, to the God of Mercy, and worship Him for the truth that evil finally meets its match at the cross of Jesus.