February 25, 2024 – 2 Samuel 23 – 24

Lesson Date: February 25, 2024

Focal Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 23:1-5; 24:1-4, 10-25

AIM: To lead students to discover both the bad costs of David’s sin and the good costs he was willing to pay to worship God, and to encourage them to give their very best to the Lord.


Before class: Read the notes on 2 Samuel 23 – 24 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Get enough copies of the handout containing the words of the hymn, “Give of Your Best to the Master  for your anticipated attendance.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the following story:

Bud called his pastor at home one evening.  “Preacher,” he said, “what time will you be down at the church tomorrow morning?  I’ve got a couple of things to bring you.”  The pastor agreed to meet Bud at 8:30 the next morning.

At 8:30 sharp Bud backed his truck up to the church office door.  As the pastor walked out to greet Bud, he noticed some large items covered with a tarp in the bed of the truck.  “Preacher, we were cleaning out the basement and found a couple of things that might be useful here at church.  Help me unload ‘em.”  The pastor was speechless as he helped Bud unload an old console TV with rabbit ears and an ancient upright piano that was missing several keys.  “I thought maybe you could use ‘em in the children’s department,” Bud said.

The pastor was wondering how soon he could graciously get rid of the useless items when Bud asked one more question: “Oh, by the way, Preacher, could you give me a receipt so I can claim this as a charitable donation on my taxes?

Tell the class it is not uncommon for people to donate their unwanted junk to the church.  State that in the same way, some people feel they have done God a big favor if they drop a $10 bill in the offering plate.

Tell the students the title of today’s lesson is Bad Costs and Good Costs.  Tell them we will learn about some bad costs and some good costs that King David paid, and we will also examine our hearts to see if we are giving our best to the Lord.



  1. Review.
    • Tell the class this is our last lesson from the book of 2 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Costs of a Broken Promise; we discovered some terrible costs of a single broken promise).
    • Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the Spring quarter.
    • Tell them next week we begin a study of the Old Testament books of Jonah and Proverbs.
  2. David’s Last Official Words.
    • Explain the following:
      • King David was nearing the end of his life.
      • Chapter 23 records his last official words as king.
      • These were David’s last official words, but he spoke again in chapter 24 and his death is not recorded until the second chapter of 1 Kings.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Samuel 23:1-3.
    • Ask: “What four things does verse 1 say about David?” (he was the son of Jesse, he was raised up on high by God, he was anointed by God, and he was the “sweet psalmist of Israel”).
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what two things did David say were necessary to rule over men?” (justice and the fear of God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Samuel 23:4-5.
    • Tell the class in verse 4, David said that a godly leader is a blessing to his people.
    • Stress the fact that we must pray that our elected leaders will be godly and just, because such leaders will bless us and our nation.
    • Ask: “According to verse 5, what did David realize about himself and his house?” (neither he nor his family was worthy to lead God’s people).
    • Explain the following:
      • David knew he was a sinner.
      • In spite of his sins, however, God chose to make “an everlasting covenant” with David because of His grace.
      • The same thing happens when we come to Christ: we are sinners, but God graciously saves us and makes an everlasting covenant with us.
      • Salvation is something we cannot earn and don’t deserve.
      • The rest of chapter 23 includes a list of David’s “mighty men” and their military exploits.
    • Summarize: Through his years as king, David learned the importance of fearing God and leading justly. He knew he was unworthy of God’s gracious covenant.
  3. Bad Costs of Sin.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Samuel 24:1.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Lord was angry with Israel, probably because of their sin (perhaps conceit and pride over their military victories).
      • God allowed Satan (see 1 Chron. 21:1) to provoke David to count the fighting men (see v. 9) in Israel (the 10 northern tribes) and Judah (the 2 southern tribes).
    • Read 2 Samuel 24:2-4.
    • Explain the following:
      • David ordered Joab to take the census.
      • Joab tried to convince David not to number the fighting men, but David did it anyway.
      • Verses 5-9 tell us that Joab traveled the length and breadth of Israel for more than 9 months, after which he returned to Jerusalem with the census results.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Samuel 24:10.
    • Ask: “What did David realize?” (that he had sinned).
    • Ask: “What did he ask God?” (to forgive his sin).
    • Read 2 Samuel 24:11-14.
    • Tell the class God gave David a unique opportunity: he could choose the cost of his sin.
    • Ask: “What three choices did God give David?” (seven years of famine, three months of fleeing from his enemies, or three days of disease and plague in the land).
    • Ask: “Which option did David choose?” (David knew from experience that God would be far more merciful to him than any man, so he threw himself upon the Lord’s mercy).
    • Read 2 Samuel 24:15-16.
    • Tell the students the Lord sent a terrible pestilence upon Israel.
    • Ask: “According to verse 15, what was the bad cost of David’s sin?” (70,000 of Israel’s fighting men died from the plague).
    • Explain the following:
      • The Lord stopped the destroying angel at the threshing floor of Araunah (written Ornan in the books of Chronicles) on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
      • A threshing floor was a large, flat area near the top of a hill, where freshly harvested grain was winnowed to separate the usable grain from the useless chaff.
      • Araunah was not an Israelite; he was a Jebusite who had been allowed to remain in the area after David captured Jerusalem years earlier.
      • His threshing floor was located just north of the city on Mount Moriah, the future site of Israel’s Temple (and the present site of the Muslim Dome of the Rock).
      • Point out the location of Araunah’s threshing floor on the Map of Jerusalem.
      • This was the same site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac before God stopped him and provided a ram for their offering.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Samuel 24:17.
    • Tell the class that David had sinned, but his people were paying the price.
    • Ask: “What did he ask the Lord to do?” (spare his people but punish him).
    • Summarize: David sinned by taking a census of his fighting men. The bad cost of David’s sin was the lives of 70,000 of his men.
  4. Good Costs of Worship and Obedience.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Samuel 24:18-19.
    • Ask: “What did the prophet Gad tell David to do?” (build an altar to the Lord in the threshing floor of Araunah).
    • Tell the students that David immediately went to the threshing floor.
    • Read 2 Samuel 24:20-23.
    • Ask: “According to verse 21, what did David tell Araunah he had come to do?” (buy the threshing floor and build an altar to the Lord on it, so the terrible plague would end).
    • Ask: “According to verse 22, what did Araunah offer?” (to give David the threshing floor, the oxen to offer as sacrificial animals, and all the wooden tools to fuel the fire).
    • Read 2 Samuel 24:24-25.
    • Ask: “How did David respond to Araunah’s generous offer?” (he refused it).
    • Ask: “What did David say he would not offer to God” (anything that cost him nothing).
    • Explain the following:
      • David purchased the threshing floor, built an altar, and made offerings to the Lord.
      • 1 Chronicles 21:26 says God answered by sending fire from heaven upon the altar.
      • The Lord was satisfied with David’s offering, so He stopped the plague.
    • Summarize: David paid a good cost to be able to worship the Lord in obedience to His instructions. He refused to offer to God something that cost him nothing.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students the title of today’s lesson is Bad Costs and Good Costs.  Tell them this lesson vividly shows that there are two kinds of costs for our actions:

  • First, when we sin there are always bad costs to pay. Just as with David’s foolish census, the bad costs of our sins usually hurt other people, too.  To avoid the bad costs of sin, we must resist and avoid sin at all costs.
  • Secondly, there are also good costs involved in obeying and worshiping Him. Just as David willingly paid that price, the Lord calls us to give some of our valuable time, energy, and income to obey and worship Him.

Tell the students that David understood that offerings always involve sacrifice.  Explain that giving the Lord things that don’t cost us anything is not really giving at all.  Tell them God doesn’t want our leftovers, He wants our very best.  Explain that in the Bible He told His people to bring the first fruits to Him, and He gave us His very best: His one and only Son.  Ask: “Are you giving your first and best to God?  Are you giving the first fruits of your income – your tithes and offerings – to the Lord through His church?”

Give everyone a copy of the handout containing the words of the hymn, “Give of Your Best to the Master.”  Read those words to the class.

Tell the students God is far more interested in them than He is in their money.  Say: “The best and most valuable thing God wants is you.”  Explain that we give ourselves to the Lord by repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Urge everyone to give their best to the Lord: the first fruits of their increase, the best of their service, and most importantly, themselves.  Ask: “Have you ever given yourself to God?  If not, please confess your sin and give yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord, trusting Christ as your Savior.”

Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 2 Samuel 24:24.  Encourage them to give their best to the Lord this week and to watch out for unwise choices, which are always costly.  Tell everyone to begin the Daily Bible Reading Guide in their Sunday School Member Quarterly tomorrow.

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