Readings for the Day
2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21, Psalm 30, 1 Thessalonians 2
Verses for the Day
10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”
Some might read this passage and say, "What harm is there in David taking a census of the number of fighting men in Israel and Judah?" After all, isn't it good for a commander to know his manpower and count his sheep. The problem was that God had always promised that it was not the number of the men or the size of horses, but that His hand was with them as he delivered them from their enemies. It was not by earthly power that David would have victory over their enemies, but upon trust in The Lord and the power of the Spirit.
And as we read the story, we see that even his top commander Joab had urged him not to do it. He had seen God's hand in all the victories, and didn't want to see David stray from God's direction. But David overruled Joab because his mind was already made up. As we often see in our own sin, when we rush into sin, there is not much that can stop us. After they had left Israel and Judah, and stayed out in the land for a little less than 10 months, David realized the error of his ways and his foolish pride. He realized he had sinned greatly against God, and appealed for mercy. God mercifully granted him pardon, though there were still consequences for his sin.
Although our sin of pride might be different than David's shown here, how do we not trust in God by taking matters into our own hands? In the church too often we rely on numbers as a predictor of God's hand in our work. Of course numbers have importance, because they represent real people, whose lives matter to God. But it is all too easy to think we are the reason for the increase OR decrease in the censuses we take.
How is God calling you to rely on His power to increase what you have on your life? Are you able to completely let go of the results into His hands? It is God who provides the increase, as we offer what we have little or small, to and for His glory.