I definitely do not agree with all of the views here, but it’s good to have as many voices as possible who consider that the perception, from non-Christians, of confusion within Christian circles is a huge disservice to Christian witness.
With respect to the Old Testament, it always is principles enunciated that are important. But with all interpretation in context of what we now know in context of Jesus Christ and God’s plan of salvation.
With respect to the first story, suspension or disfellowshipping of believers for obvious, objectively evident moral sin ought to be part of church ordinance. This is clearly articulated in the New Testament. Wonder how many churches still attempt to practice such. The world has become so complicated and complex, the church has transitioned to allowing people with lifestyle issues (adultery inclusive) remain in church with hope they might be changed from participation. Can’t say I disagree. Allowing people who still have some desire for God be alienated from church in this increasingly alienating world may not be the Christlike solution for our specific time.
The appropriate application of truth never is independent of current context.
In so far as the second story is concerned, the principle is that a Christian woman who loses her husband, but who chooses not to remarry should have both the church and her dead husbands’ family look out for her financially and emotionally. But Apostle Paul advises young widows to remarry so as not to fall into temptation. From a financial perspective, this also lessens the burden on the church , so the church can focus on older widows — guess Apostle Paul understood finance and budgetary constraints much more than we probably give him credit for when we read his writings.
Can’t say I disagree.
As to the third story, there are censuses in the Old Testament. The problem with David was he insisted on numbering not the people, but his warriors. God had warned explicitly that warriors were not to be numbered for stoking of a king’s pride. David sinned, acknowledged as much, was punished severely for it by God. By the way, he probably was hoping God would kill Joab his commander, whom he hated, for carrying out his orders. He apparently underestimated God’s wisdom and commitment to justice. Joab on his part was wise enough not to number the Levites and the tribe of Benjamin.
The lesson here is not to give in to pride of life, lust of the eyes, and lust of the flesh in our dealings with others.
In today’s world, people catch communicable diseases, they get quarantined, many die. God gave the tribes exterminated at the very least 500 years to change their ways. They did not. So God placed Israelites in their midst to exterminate the spiritual disease these people represented.
Well consider that one of the kings killed by Israel admitted to cutting off toes of kings he defeated and having them eat crumbs falling from his table. Kings, defeated kings inclusive were never to be treated in this manner. A defeated king either is killed or allowed to continue to rule as proxy for the king by whom he was defeated. This was the honor code.
The lesson? Sometimes justice has to be as draconian as evil being punished.
In this sense, and as you allude, some of the commotion, strife, ethnic war, and listless mindlessness in society is justice for people’s love for objectively bad behavior or treatment of others.