David’s Foolish Census — David’s pride, God’s judgment, & David’s sacrifice.
Reading 1: 2 Samuel 24
Reading 2: 1 Chronicles 21:1-4
Reading 3: 1 Chronicles 27:23-24
David makes a big mistake today – he listens to satan (1 Chronicles 21:1) and numbers Israel. Don’t misread the first verse of 2 Samuel 24 – most newer translations give the impression that God speaks to David and tells him to count the nation, but that is not what the text says. There is no “The Lord” in the sentence “and he caused David to harm them by taking a census.” The actual text is best translated “There was who moved David against them” – in other words it is satan who causes this. The first part of the verse joins God’s judgment in Chapter 21 (the famine) with the judgment which comes from David’s sin here.
After David listens to the enemy and commands the census, his advisors plead with him not to do this, but he insists, and so God’s judgment is invited. To his credit, David’s conscience convicts him and he admits his sin. Then, when God sends Gad the Seer to challenge David to choose his punishment, David says “let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”
So God’s judgment brings a plague to the people, until David pleads with God for the judgment to fall on his own family. At the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite he builds an altar and pays for the privilege, saying “I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.”
So we learn several lessons from David: don’t take God for granted, listen to your friends, and admit your sins. God is merciful, and whatever we give to God is merely a drop in the bucket!
We all make mistakes, we all sin, the vital question is what will we do when we recognize our fault? Trust God’s mercy!
Have a great day!