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Why did God allow David to choose the punishment on Israel?

The Lord said to Gad, David’s seer,  “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.’”
So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 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.” 1 Chronicles 21:9-12

            This is kind of like the parental trick of telling the child to go pick out a stick to spank him with or determining which punishment the child would prefer (timeout, take away electronics or no allowance).

            When the child receives the punishment, he realizes he “asked for it.”  David realized the severity of his sin because he had to choose the punishment.   David’s sin, though it seemed personal at the time, really effected thousands of people.  He needed to know that.

            Our sin does not only affects us, but those around us.  The more responsibility we have the more who are hurt by our sin.