8 Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”
9 The Lord said to Gad, David’s seer, 10 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”
11 So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 12 three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”
13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”
14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
When David realized his sin, he took full responsibility. He admitted he was wrong. He asked God to forgive him. Confession and repentance must come before receiving forgiveness. The committed sin still had a domino effect of consequences. God will forgive sin if asked, but consequences of the committed sin usually play out. God spared David’s life, and he put a stop to the plague so that most of the people of Jerusalem were spared. Whether we think it is fair or not, the group usually suffers because of the sins of the leaders. Actions always affect other people, whether we want them to or not. To allow anything to take God’s place is sinful, and it may cause disastrous consequences.