Good morning!

Text: 2 Samuel 21-24; Psalm 76.

In 2 Samuel 24, David takes a census of the people, an apparently sinful move that brings serious consequences from the Lord.  The text does not tell us why this was a bad thing, so we have to figure it out.  It is reminiscent of Moses’ sin of striking the rock (Numbers 20:8-12) and thus being denied entry into the promised land.

In David’s case, the issue is that he is trusting something other than the Lord.  A big army means safety, power and prestige.  Of course we can bring to memory all sorts of stories that teach that safety and power come from the Lord rather than a big army (i.e. Gideon), and prestige belongs only to Him.  To seek these things from another source is actually idolatry.  The lesson is harsh, as many, many Israelites die as a consequence of David’s sin.  What irony that David’s opening to his song (2 Samuel 22:2) were ,

““The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.”
I am challenged by this to ask myself where I might be at risk, and the answer is scary.  When pastors meet, a common question is, “How big is your church?”  The answer is usually expressed in numbers rather than in terms of our dependence upon the Lord.  We seek our comfort from so many things other than God.  Our savings account balance, our position, our health, and our skills all give us our sense of strength or weakness.  When the number is too small in whatever category, our worry is just as much a symptom of idolatry as our smug sense of well being when the numbers are big.  May our strength come from our desperate dependence on the Lord.  Amen.

in Him,  Mike