1 Chron 18:1 – 22:1
Have you ever been shown the extent of your own pride and sin? The account of David’s pride in “his” army and the consequence seems strange for a man who a few chapters earlier was humbly praising God, acknowledging he wasn’t worthy of God’s blessing and favour.
When the details of David’s victory are given, it ends with “it is the Lord who gives victory…” but this seemed to be something that David forgot… He forgot that it was God who went before the army and won the battles for them. David forgot this and decided to take a census to see how big and powerful his army was (see the note below…). Even his military dude, Joab, advised him against this as it was elevating the army and forgetting the Lord of the army. Pretty strong words are used to describe how Joab felt – he found the king’s command “repulsive”.
Note: something complicated – In 1 Chronicles 21:1, it says “Satan incited David to take a census…” and in 2 Samuel 24:1 it says “…he (God) incited David against them (Israel)…” Both are true as God is Sovereign and He is in control of everything, including Satan inciting David to take the census. Satan seemed to be involved by tempting David to think of his own military pride, instead of God’s glory, and David acted out his rebellion against God by taking a census, forgetting that it was God who won the battles for Israel.
What was the consequence?
God’s wrath being poured out on Israel… 3 days of a plague being poured out on the nation – 70,000 people died.
What is amazing about this story is God’s reaction to the events of his wrath – vs 15
“…the Lord saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough!…”
Rebellion against God needs to be atoned for; a penalty needs to be paid, not because God is harsh God but because He is a just, holy, righteous God. He can’t ignore the sins of the people and there needed to be an atonement, a consequence for their rebellion. BUT He was grieved at the death of his people and had mercy and compassion on them. How much more is this true of God sending his one and only begotten son, Jesus, to pay our penalty for OUR rebellion against Him. God is grieved by our sin and knew there was no other way for our sin to be atoned for, other than atoning for it Himself, through coming to earth as man – JESUS.