David waited for his military leaders to assemble before his throne. He looked at each one as silence filled the air.
“Men, we have enlarged our nation’s borders to an unprecedented place. You have conducted yourselves well. Now that we’ve subdued our enemies I want to take this opportunity to conduct a census of our fighting men. Go from Dan to Beersheba and tally all who can handle a sword.”
The men looked at each other, then, at Joab.
Joab stepped forward. “May our population increase a hundred fold, my lord. But, why do we need this information? As you said we’ve conquered everyone around us. There’s no need for a draft. This will be a travesty to the LORD. I beg you to reconsider. God is the One winning our battles not the number of men we have.”
David stared at Joab. “You have your order.”
Joab paused, then let out a long breath. “Very well, my king.”
Almost ten months later Joab led the military leaders to David’s throne. “There are one million one hundred thousand fighting men in all Israel, of that four hundred seventy thousand are in Judah, my king.”
David smiled. “Very well, you’ve done a good thing today. You’re dismissed.”
The men assembled out.
David felt a heavy pressure push him into his throne. “What am I going to do with this knowledge now that I have it? Oh, my pride–my pride–I have sinned. LORD forgive my iniquity. I am truly sorry for this pride.”
Tears rolled down into David’s beard.
David swallowed hard when he saw Gad approach his throne the following morning.
Gad stared into David’s soul as only he could do. “The LORD has given you a choice for the consequence of your sin, David. Would you prefer seven years of famine over the land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of death from an angel of pestilence? Which option shall I bring to the One who sent me?”
David slid out of his throne and fell to his knees. His face was on the floor as his tears formed a puddle. He lifted his head and looked up at Gad. “The mercies of the LORD are to be chosen over men’s devices. Bring the plague of the LORD over the land.”
I see a vastly different man here than the one who got Uriah’s wife pregnant while Uriah was at war. David must have learned his lesson about trying to hide sin from God.
Sure, it took until the end of the census for David to see the error of his ways with this command to Joab. But, once the full force of this decision hit home David owned up to it immediately. He knew hiding it would only eat away at him until the truth came out.
Do you see your sins so quickly? Are you big enough to own up to them as soon as you recognize them? Or do you still rationalize them away as a culturally acceptable practice?
Sin is still sin in God’s eyes.
I find it interesting that this account in 2 Samuel 24 attributes the instigation of this whole decision on God, while the same action is blamed on Satan in 1 Chronicles 21. So, which one is right?
If the same conversation occurred here that happened near the beginning of the book of Job they’re both right. Satan has limits placed on him that must pass God’s approval before he can carry them out.
God is either sovereign over everything, or, He isn’t sovereign over anything.
Yes, that includes the bad things that happen. No, I don’t like it either. But, I’d be doing a disservice to you by trying to sugar-coat this message into a feel-good platitude.
We’re in a good-verses-evil war here on planet earth. As we near the end of this era the cost will only get higher for everyone involved.
Only those of us who’ve placed our hope in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross will endure to an eternal blessing. Our time on earth isn’t the promised happiness we long for. Heaven is our home and security.
Anyone who follows the trends of society so they fit in will reap their ultimate destination of torture in time. Their decision to live without God will be granted for all eternity. He will remain separated from them after their time on earth is done.
You can continue to tell yourself you have your life under control so you don’t need God. Your pride will be your undoing, too.
You can recognize the battle you’re involved in and who will ultimately win. Your decision to join the winning team is all yours to make now. After you die it’s too late for that choice.
All things will work together for good in this account. We’ll see what the surprising outcome is next time. It has to do with something very near and dear to David’s heart.
Decisions are made all day every day. Big decisions should be made with the counsel of trusted advisers. Joab tried to tell David this action was wrong, but David wouldn’t listen to him.
The soldier carried out his orders anyway, even though it cost him ten months of his life. The repercussions were the responsibility of the king, seventy thousand people lost their lives.
Weigh the price of your life carefully. Do your best to leave a legacy to be proud of. Give your best efforts to building God’s kingdom. That’s the only lasting effort worth giving your life for.
Learn from other’s mistakes so you don’t repeat them. I know, that’s easier said than done. I’m no better than anyone when it comes to not making mistakes. My personnel file at work will attest to that.
All I can do is press on. So, I do.
I keep my hand on the plow and furrow the ground I walk on so others will find their way to God through Jesus Christ.
I’ll see you later. Wade