Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel
1 Chronicles 21:1
One of King David’s main fallings as leader and king are highlighted in this chapter. Here he takes a census of his army to which God is really displeased.
It’s less about the act as much as it is about the spirit of the actions. Ultimately, the sin was because David was operating in the spirit of self-reliance.
At the pinnacle of his career, he decides that he wants to measure the strength of his arm and to count his army which has played a large part in the independence and protection of Israel. The only problem is that in doing so, he forgot the great Commander of the army–God himself.
Isn’t it interesting how the author of this text already gives clarity as to where such motivation comes from? It came from Satan.
He was the culprit in instigating the pride of David so that he would operate in a self-reliant spirit, forgetting the God who delivered him in all his battles.
Yet now our attention turns forward to a place much similar to David–the American church.
I cannot and must not “bash” the church, so to speak, but I must comment that the circumstances regarding David’s failure are swamping us today as the American church.
Crowned as one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world, failure to recognize the fact that we operate within this context can lead us astray, and I might add, has already led us astray.
We have manifold temptations of continuing the work of the church by remarking our edifices, our finances, our manpower. The greatest evidence of our leaning on such fickle sources of power rest in our lack of need and desperation for the actual power of God.
The people I have run to which can honestly and whole-heartedly say as Paul said, “Far be it from to boast in anything but in the cross of Jesus.. (Gal 6:14)” whose prayer lives demonstrate so are far and few between. And where do such motivations come from?
Not from God. Let’s take a hint…