God's Purpose for John the Baptist's Ministry: Luke 3:1-6

God’s Purpose for John the Baptist’s Ministry

1. God’s purpose for John’s ministry in a dark world
1  In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas . . . Luke 3:1-2 (ESV)

John’s ministry was inserted into a complex political situation.

2. God’s purpose for John’s ministry through his message
2   . . . the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:2-3 (ESV)

The specific use of “word” (rhema) infers a particular message of God rather than the entire scope of the message. (logos)

Repentance produces a life lived with a sense of responsibility before a sovereign God. It is an internal attitude that aims at a product. (Darrell Bock)

Forgiveness comes to those who acknowledge and turn from their sins in repentance.

6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7  let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV)

16  John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16 (ESV)

4  And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” Acts 19:4 (ESV)

3. God’s purpose for John’s ministry as fulfilled prophecy
4  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,
6  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3:4-6 (ESV)

John’s ministry is a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-5:

3  A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5 (ESV)

The highway that clears the way for God is a purified heart.

The highway refers to a means of access to God and His city is found in Isaiah 57:14 and 62:10. (Bock) Isaiah 57:14-15

The Boy Wonder: Luke 2:39-52

The Boy Wonder


1. The childhood growth before Jesus’ first Passover

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:39-40 (ESV)


2. The background of Jesus’ first Passover
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. Luke 2:41-42 (ESV)


Jesus trip at twelve was significant because in another year, as a thirteen-year-old, Jesus would officially become a "son of the commandment," a full member of the synagogue (cf. Mishnah, Niddah5:6), similar to the modern custom of bar mitzvah


3. The problem after Jesus’ first Passover
43  And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44  but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45  and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.Luke 2:43-45 (ESV)


4. The knowledge of Jesus at the time of His first Passover
46  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.Luke 2:46-47 (ESV)


5. The parent’s distress in Jesus’ first Passover

48  And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”Luke 2:48 (ESV)


Mary wanted to know why Jesus did such a “seemingly” insensitive thing, which prepares for Jesus to reveal His identityand the fact that His parents must come to understandHis mission.

Kent Hughes: The point is, he (Jesus) was capable of unknowinglycausing his parents distress; but as a sinless being, he was incapable of knowinglydoing it. 

6. The insight of His mission at the time of Jesus’ first Passover
49  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”50  And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51  And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.Luke 2:49-51 (ESV)John 5:17-18 (ESV)


Jesus’ response is not so much a reproach about having right priorities as it was a declaration of His mission.


7. The adulthood growth after Jesus’ first Passover
52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.Luke 2:52 (ESV)


Rod Matoon: Jesus grew mentally(wisdom). As a human, there were things He needed to learn. He matured physically(stature), spiritually(favor with God), and socially(favor with men). 

Nunc Dimittis ([You] Now Dismiss) . . . Simeon's Song

Nunc Dimittis([You] now dismiss)

Luke 2:25-35


1. The Praise of God’s Faithfulness
29  “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; Luke 2:29 (ESV)


Now may release (or depart): expresses a servant’s release from a task.


2. The Salvation of God’s People
30  for my eyes have seen your salvation 31  that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32  a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. Luke 2:30-33 (ESV)


A strong tie exists between salvation and the one who personifiesit. 


Light and glory should be seen in parallelas descriptive of the salvation found in 2:30. (Isaiah 60:1-3)


Jesus as light brings salvation to all humanity, illuminatingthem into God’s way.


Through Jesus as the light, attention of all people is drawnto Israel (Is 49:6).

6  he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 (ESV);Ephesians 2:14; Isaiah 42:6;

Isaiah 52:10.

1  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORDhas risen upon you. 2  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but theLORDwill arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 (ESV)


3. The Division that God Brings

34  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 
35  (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”Luke 2:34-35 (ESV)

51  Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.Luke 12:51 (ESV)

Jesus exposeswhat is really in our hearts. 

15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.” Isaiah 8:14-15 (ESV)

16  therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,a stone, a tested stone,a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’Isaiah 28:16 (ESV)


Isaiah 8 and 28 connect the Messiah with the personificationof God’s deliverance and the agentof His justice. 1 Peter 2:7-8.


Sign to be opposed: means to speak against,reject, to deny, or to contradict. Matthew 12:48-50 

The Remnant

The Remnant Luke 2: 21-38


1. The Dedication of Jesus
22  And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24  and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24 (ESV)

4  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,Galatians 4:4 (ESV)

Similar to Jesus’ baptism, He was circumcised to fulfill all righteousness as God commanded it; and though he was not conceived in original sin, Jesus came to identifywith sinful humanity as its sacrifice. Matthew 1:21 

2. The Dedication of Simeon
25  Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28  he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, Luke 2:25-28 (ESV)


Devoutrefers to a sensitive God-fearer or faithful law abider.


“The consolationof Israel” means messianic hope.

1  Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.Isaiah 40:1 (ESV)Isaiah 49:8-13; Isaiah 51:3-12; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 54:11; Isaiah 57:18. 

1  The Spirit of the Lord GODis upon me,because the LORDhas anointed meto bring good news to the poor;he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim liberty to the captives,and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)

10  “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her;rejoice with her in joy,all you who mourn over her;11  that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.”12  For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.13  As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.Isaiah 66:10-13 (ESV)


Simeon was a man who was ledby the Spirit of God, taughtby the Word of God, and obedientto the will of God.


3. The Dedication of Anna
36  And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37  and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 
38  And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.Luke 2:36-38 (ESV)


In the events that surround both that statements of Simeon and Anna, there is a hint of the remnantconcept: found in those who wait.

The Shepherd's Story

April 7, 2019

The Shepherd’s Story Luke 2: 8-20


1. The Presence in the Shepherd Story

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. Luke 2:8-9 (ESV)


These were probably nomadic shepherdswho were disconnected from the community for long periods. 


2. The Proclamation in the Shepherd Story
10  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.Luke 2:10 (ESV)


The purpose of the angelic visit is to bring good news, so one could say that this was the gospel according to the angel.


3. The Person in the Shepherd Story
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”Luke 2:11-12 (ESV)


Jesus would be called Savior, for He would deliverHis people from their sin.

21  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”Matthew 1:21 (ESV)


4. The Praise in the Shepherd Story
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)


The Jewish word (shalom) for peacemeans much more than truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness.

7  when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 

Job 38:7 (ESV)


20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:20 (ESV)


5. The Pursuit in the Shepherd Story

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:15-20 (ESV)


Halford Luccock called the Shepherds trip to Bethlehem “the first Christmas Rush

The Birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7)


1. The World Setting as relates to Christ’s birth
1  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3  And all went to be registered, each to his own town. Luke 2:1-3 (ESV)

 God providentially moved the heart of the most powerful human ruler to accomplish His divine purposes.

 2. The National Setting as relates to Christ’s birth
4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 (ESV)

 God’s purposes were to bring Mary and Joseph to the town in which Jesus was prophesied to be born.

2   But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2 (ESV)

 3. The Personal Setting as relates to Christ’s birth
6  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
7  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 (ESV)

 Kenneth Bailey: despite improvised arrangements, Middle Eastern hospitality, then as now, would have ensured that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were properly cared for.

22   . . . ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, Exodus 4:22 (ESV)

  6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6-7 (ESV)

God purposed that Jesus’ birth would reflect the service of His life and ministry.

The Benedictus: Luke 1:67-80

67  And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, Luke 1:67 (ESV)

 1. Praise to God for the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant
68  “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69  and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70  as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71  that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72  to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, Luke 1:68-72 (ESV)

 Benedictus comes from the Latin word for “blessed.”

2 Samuel 7:11-13 (ESV)

 The metaphor for horn represents strength or power.

 2. Praise to God for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant
73  the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75  in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Luke 1:73-75 (ESV)

 The referral to Abraham reveals that God is faithful to His original commitments.

 God saves us so that we might serve Him with our entire being.

 3. Praise to God for John
76  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,77  to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins . . . 80  And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel. Luke 1:76-77; 80 (ESV)

 Forgiveness of sins is a precondition for salvation as it relates to peace with God.

 4. Praise to God for “the rising sun”
78  because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79  to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79 (ESV)

1  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 (ESV); Jeremiah 31:31-34; Malachi 4:1-6

 Darkness often symbolized intellectual ignorance and error (Eph 4:18), along with the immorality of sin as it relates to the world and the realm of Satan (Col 1:13).

17  and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:17 (ESV)

The Birth of John the Baptist

The Birth of John the Baptist: Luke 1:56-57

 1. God’s Promise is Veracious

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. Luke 1:56-58 (ESV

 God’s promises are veracious, or true, which means they will most certainly come to pass.

56 “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. 1 Kings 8:56 (ESV)

7  The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;

Psalm 111:7 (ESV)

 The birth of John the Baptist removed the awful stigma that overcast Elizabeth’s life, and her neighbors and family rejoiced with her in God’s great mercy.

 2. God’s Purpose is Gracious

59  And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60  but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61  And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62  And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63  And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. Luke 1:59-63 (ESV)

 The name “John” means “God is gracious.” and that concept paired with the meaning of Elizabeth’s name “my God has sworn” and Zacharias’ name “God remembers” speaks to the faithfulness of God’s gracious purposes.

 Elizabeth showed great obedience under peer pressure in insisting that the name of the child be John, as was directed by the angel.

22  And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)

 3. God’s Power is Wondrous
64  And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65  And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66  and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:64-66 (ESV)

 The word “immediately” reflects the power of God displayed in relation to the faith of Zachariah.

 The neighbors responded to the power of God with fear when they realized that God had worked in their midst.

 The purpose of these miraculous events led to the question “What then will this child be?” a question that anticipates his role as herald and preparer for the Messiah.

14  Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14 (ESV)

The Magnificat: The Magnificence of God

1. The Magnificence of God’s Praise
46  And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, Luke 1:46-47 (ESV)

 We magnify or enlarge God when we take into our thinking some new aspect of His greatness.

 My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Psalm 108:1 (ESV)

 2. The Magnificence of God’s Plan
48  for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49  for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50  And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Luke 1:48-50 (ESV)

 30  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 (ESV) 

Mary did not dwell on her own happy circumstances but rejoiced in the being and character of God.

 3. The Magnificence of God’s Power
51  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52  he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; Luke 1:52 (ESV)

 God will humble the pride of intellect, the pride of position, and the pride of wealth.

37  . . . and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:37 (ESV)

 4. The Magnificence of God’s Provision
53  he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. Luke 1:53 (ESV)

 St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

 We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,

And long to feast upon Thee still;

We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead

And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

 5. The Magnificence of God’s Prophecy
54  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
55  as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:54-55 (ESV)

 God fulfills his promises of mercy.


The Visitation

1. Mary’s faith was strengthened through personal confirmation
36  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren . . . 39  In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40  and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. Luke 1:36-40 (ESV)

 Mary made haste to visit Elizabeth because she was eager to see the promised sign given by the angel.

 2. Mary’s faith was strengthened through physical confirmation
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb . . . 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Luke 1:41a;44 (ESV)

 One could say this was John’s first announcement or herald of the coming Messiah, though a silent one.

Genesis 25:22-26

10  'Did You not pour me out like milk And curdle me like cheese; 11  Clothe me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews? Job 10:10-11 (NASB)

3. Mary’s faith was strengthened through prophetic confirmation

41   . . .  And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42  and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43  And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me . . . 45  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:41-45 (ESV)

 The filling of the Spirit is connected with the ability to speak a prophetic word in this instance.

Rod Mattoon:

1. He provided enlightenment about the Lord Jesus Christ. Elizabeth had learned of Mary's miraculous conception. He continues to enlighten us today.

13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13 (ESV)

 2. His filling brought about the exultation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Elizabeth's song of praise glorified the Lord. His work continues to glorify Christ in our day.

14  He will glorify me . . .  John 16:14 (ESV)

3. His fullness led to enablement in serving the Lord. He enabled Elizabeth to boldly proclaim her song. He emboldens and enables us today to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)

2  “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. 2 Samuel 23:2 (ESV)

 Elizabeth’s loud voice emphasizes both excitement and authority.

 Mary was blessed in her function of being Christ’s mother and in her faith

(outline by John Macarthur)

Gabriel’s Annunciation

1. The Background for Gabriel’s Annunciation
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27 (ESV)

 The contrast of the announcement for John in a worship service with the announcement for Jesus in a humble setting sets the tone for perspective of His ministry.

  14  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)

 2. The Greeting of Gabriel’s Annunciation
28  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. Luke 1:28-29 (ESV)

 The greeting emphasized God’s grace for Mary and His presence with Mary.

 3. The Message in Gabriel’s Annunciation
30  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 (ESV)

 Gabriel’s message is basically a fulfillment of the prophesy given my Nathan to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-14 or 1 Chronicles 17:11-14.

 4. The Question about Gabriel’s Annunciation
34  And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35  And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. Luke 1:34-35 (ESV)

 The idea of overshadow can be pictured in the Shekinah cloud that rested on the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35

14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (ESV)

 5. The Sign of Gabriel’s Annunciation
36  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37  For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:36-37 (ESV)

 6. The Response to Gabriel’s Annunciation
38  And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38 (ESV)

Mary’s response reveals both obedience and a submissive spirit.

19   . . . You are not your own, 20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV); 1 Corinthians 7:23

I'm Speechless: Luke 1:5-25

I’m Speechless


1. The background before the announcement
5  In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6  And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Luke 1:5-7 (ESV)

 A couple’s absence of children was generally seen as a type of reproach in Judaism and in the Old Testament, though clearly the barrenness was not due to some sin on the part of the couple.

 2. The circumstances during the announcement
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Luke 1:8-11 (ESV)

 For a priest to offer incense was a great privilege that he was allowed to perform only once, and many priests did not even get the opportunity.

 3. The content of the announcement
12  And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15  for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17  and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:12-17 (ESV); Malachi 4:5-6

 God’s answers sometimes come at a surprising time, in a surprising place, and in a surprising way. (Darrell Bock)

 4. The unbelief in response to the announcement
18  And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19  And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20  And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21  And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22  And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23  And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. Luke 1:18-23 (ESV); Numbers 6:24-26

 5. The joy from the fulfillment of the announcement.
24  After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25  “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” Luke 1:24-25 (ESV)

 Elizabeth had waited for many years for this moment. Now she was going to enjoy the bliss of this miracle shut up on her own, with the Lord. (Michael Bentley)

A Well Researched Gospel

A Well Researched Gospel

The entire paragraph is one long Greek sentence written in the scholarly format of classical Greek.

 In the opening section of this gospel, Luke gives us 3 explanations for why he wrote this gospel.

 1. The precedent for Luke’s Gospel

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, Luke 1:1-2 (ESV)

 These works probably include oral records and the gospels of Matthew and Mark.

 Luke describes three stages in the process which includes the events that were experienced, the witnesses’ formulation of these events, and the recording of the tradition and reflection on the information.

21  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 (ESV)

 2. The pattern for Luke’s Gospel
3  it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, Luke 1:3 (ESV)

 Luke desired to follow the account of Jesus’ life so as to understand its significance through the process of accurate investigation.

10  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (ESV)

3. The purpose for Luke’s Gospel
4  that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. Luke 1:4 (ESV)

 The “certainty” the Luke desires to achieve is for the purpose of encouraging and strengthening the faith of Theophilus.


Psalm 24: When Worship Is Right

Psalm 24: When Worship Is Right


1.      A Recognition of God’s Power

 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2  for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24:1-2 (ESV); Colossians 1:16

 2.      A Revelation of God’s Purity

3  Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5  He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah Psalm 24:3-6 (ESV)

a. The way to seek God (vv. 3-4).

Jesus condemned the Pharisees who were men of clean hands but corrupt hearts (Mt. 23:25-28).

These statements combine to teach us that true holiness extends to our complete person.

"Clean hands" designate one who is holy in deed, that is, in outward actions as well as inwardly.

b. The results: You will receive God’s blessing and His righteousness (v. 5). Luke 18:13-14

James Boice: I suggest that in order to understand verses 4 and 5, it is best to take the phrases in an inverse order . . .  I would make the order like this:

  1. Vindication (or justification) from God our Savior (v. 5b),

  2. Blessing from the Lord (v. 5a), and then

  3. Clean hands and a pure heart, resulting in a life which does not lift itself up to idols or swear falsely (v. 4).

c. The truth declared: It is such people who truly seek and worship God (v. 6).

3.      A Realization of God’s Presence

7  Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8  Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9  Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah Psalm 24:7-10 (ESV)

First, to the people of His day who were receiving the ark of the covenant into their city.

Second, to the people in the future who would receive Jesus into Jerusalem at His triumphal entry, shortly before His crucifixion (Mt. 21:1-11).

Third, to the people in the last days who will receive Christ as King when He returns to earth in power and glory (Re. 1:7; 19:11-21).

a. The need: To open up the gates and doors to the King of glory (v. 7).

b. The reason: The King of glory is the Lord who is strong and mighty (v. 8).

c. The need and reason reemphasized (v. 9-10).

 (*Notes provided by the Preachers Outline and Sermon Bible.)

My Shepherd: Psalm 23

My Shepherd: Psalm 23


1. The Provision of the Shepherd

1  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 (ESV)

70  He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; 71  from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. Psalm 78:70-71 (ESV)

19  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

 2. The Restoration of the Shepherd
2  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2

 3. The Guidance of the Shepherd
3  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3 (ESV)

 4. The Protection of the Shepherd
4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

 5. The Victory of the Shepherd
5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 (ESV)

11  I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 8:11 (ESV)

 6. The Assurance of the Shepherd
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

The Mercy Seat

The Mercy Seat:

17  “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18  And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19  Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends.
20  The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21  And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22  There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. Exodus 25:17-22 (ESV)

 God was above the ark of the covenant. The ten commandments in the ark could not save but only condemn the people. The lid of the ark or atonement cover was called the mercy seat.

The mercy seat was only put into use once a year on the Day of Atonement.

11  “Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself.
12  And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13  and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. 14  And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. 15  “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16  Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. Leviticus 16:11-16 (ESV)

The Bible often describes the work of Christ on the cross in terms of the mercy seat or propitiation.

17  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 (ESV)

23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25  whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. Romans 3:23-25 (ESV)

 2  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2 (ESV)

 In these verses, the atoning sacrifice or propitiation (hilasterion) refers directly to the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat.

The Psalm Of The Cross (Psalm 22)

Jesus’ cry to the Father

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Psalm 22:1-2 (ESV); Matthew 27:46

 Jesus’ trust in the Father

3  Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4  In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. Psalm 22:3-5 (ESV)

6  But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. Psalm 22:6 (ESV); Matthew 27:39-44

 Jesus’ experience of being mocked
7  All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8  “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Psalm 22:7-8 (ESV); Mark 15:29; Matthew 27:43

 Jesus’ appeal to the Father
12  Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13  they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. Psalm 22:12-13 (ESV)

14  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15  my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. Psalm 22:14-15 (ESV); John 19:28; Isaiah 53:10

16  For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—
17  I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
18  they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:16-18 (ESV); John 20:25; Matthew 27:35

19  But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20  Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Psalm 22:19-20 (ESV)

 Jesus’ song of praise
21 Save me from the lion's mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me. Psalm 22:21 (NASB)

Jesus preaching as the risen Christ.
22  I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23  You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24  For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. Psalm 22:22-24 (ESV); Hebrews 2:10-12 (ESV)

 Jesus’ Mission as the Risen Christ
27  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28  For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. 29  All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Psalm 22:27-29 (ESV)

30  Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Psalm 22:30-31 (ESV)

Psalm 2: Why DO the Nations Rage?

Psalm 2: Why DO the Nations Rage?

Psalm 2 gives us two options, we can either refuse Christ or we can take refuge in Christ.

 1. David’s perspective of God’s plan for the nations.
1  Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3  “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (ESV)

2  but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2 (ESV)

Those of the world see God’s commands as enslaving, but is that idea truth or that which conforms to reality?

2. The Father’s perspective of God’s plan for the nations.
4  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5  Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6  “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Psalm 2:4-6 (ESV)

15  Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Isaiah 40:15 (ESV)

 Ultimately, these verses anticipate the coming and physical reign of Christ on this earth during the Millennium.

 3. The Son’s perspective of God’s plan for the nations.
7  I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9  You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:7-9 (ESV)

The New Testament alludes to Jesus’ being “begotten” to describe the Incarnation and its significance as well as Christ’s resurrection.

5  So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; Hebrews 5:5 (ESV)

32  And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33  this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ Acts 13:32-33 (ESV)

4. The Spirit’s perspective of God’s plan for the nations. 10  Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:10-12 (ESV)

These verses seem to be an appeal for the nations to “consider” God’s power, wrath, and mercy toward a lost and unyielding world, and their need to repent and submit.

To kiss the Son is both an expression of affection and submission.

Wrath Wrapped in Mercy

Wrath Wrapped in Mercy

1. The wrath of God in His judgment
11  And when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12  “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the LORD, Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” 13  So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 14  Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” 15  So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men. 2 Samuel 24:10-15 (ESV)

 Even after repentance, the consequences of sin remain.

Psalm 89:31-33:  Romans 9:20

 Perhaps David’s choice to fall on God’s mercy indicates he had repented of His failure to trust in God’s all-wise plan rather than in the strength of man.

2. The wrath of God and His mercy

16 And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father’s house.” 18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, as the LORD commanded. 2 Samuel 24:16-19 (ESV) Psalm 103:8

 It is no coincidence that the angel ceased expressing God’s wrath on the very site that David built an altar and Solomon the temple, a place where God’s mercy and grace would be continuously displayed toward His people. Hebrews 9:22

3. The wrath of God and atonement
20  And when Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground.
21  And Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be averted from the people.” 22  Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23  All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” 24  But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25  And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel. 2 Samuel 24:20-25 (ESV); 1 Chronicles 22:1

The land that David purchased was no ordinary piece of property for it was also the place where Abraham had put his son Isaac on the altar yet God provided a substitution sacrifice in a ram (Gen 22). 2 Chronicles 3:1; Romans 5:20

The Senseless Census

The Senseless Census

 1. The Sovereignty of God in the Census
1 Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2 Samuel 24:1 (ESV)

1  Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:1 (ESV)

 Though God is sovereign over all circumstances, the Bible affirms that He is never the author of sin. James 1:13

Walter Kaiser put it this way:

It is also true, according to the Hebrew thinking, that whatever God permits he commits. By allowing this census-taking, God is viewed as having brought about the act. The Hebrews were not very concerned with determining secondary causes and properly attributing them to the exact cause. Under the divine providence everything ultimately was attributed to him; why not say he did it in the first place?

 11  so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV); Romans 12:2

 2. The Sin of David in the Census
2  So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army, who was with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.” 3  But Joab said to the king, “May the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see it, but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?” 4  But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to number the people of Israel. 5  They crossed the Jordan and began from Aroer, and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and on to Jazer. 6  Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went around to Sidon, 7  and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beersheba. 8  So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9  And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: in Israel there were 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000. 2 Samuel 24:2-9 (ESV)

9  "The abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice. Job 32:9 (NASB); Exodus 30:12

 I believe that the best explanation for the sin of numbering Israel probably relates to a nationalistic pride, also seen within the heart of David, that robbed the Lord of His glory. In this regard, God ordained Satan to bring out what was already in the heart of His people. Hosea 7:10

 David’s sin was aggravated because he refused to listen to counsel.

 3. The Conviction of David in the Census
10  But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” 2 Samuel 24:10 (ESV)

A million plus men are of no benefit if God is your enemy.

 To David’s credit, when he was assaulted or convicted of his sin, he responded with confession and repentance.

 18  If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18 (ESV)