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Bible Insights

Take a Census and Make a List

God Tells Moses to Count the Number of Men for the Army

The book of Numbers opens with God telling Moses to take a census of the people. Numbers also ends with a census.

These two numberings of the people serve as bookends for this section of Scripture, which is why we call it Numbers. It begins and ends with numbers.

Count the Army

This numbering of the people is not a complete census, however. It’s only of men twenty years or older who can fight. It’s like registering for the draft. Moses lists each man. The tally is over 600,000 eligible men.

If you add in boys and elderly men, the number of males surely tops one million. Double this to account for females, and we have a conservative number of two million people. That’s a lot.

But the focus of this effort in the book of Numbers is to assess the size of their potential army. It’s over 600,000, a formable number.

David Does This Too

It seems wise for a leader to know the size of his army. God has Moses do this, but when David does this it doesn’t work out so well.

In case you’re interested he had 1.3 million men to fight in his army. However, David felt guilty for counting the number of men (2 Samuel 24:10).

This signals him putting his trust in the size of his army and not in God. God punishes him for this.

This reminds us that what God says in the Bible may be situational. For Moses it was right to number his troops, while for David it was wrong.

None of These Men Make It to the Promised Land

The book of Numbers tells us what happens next. Twelve men spy out the land. Ten of the spies are scared and tell the people there is no way the army will prevail. (Only Caleb and Joshua have faith that God will give them victory.)

The people believe the negative report and cower in fear. They rebel against God.

But then they change their mind and go forward into battle under their own power. They’re soundly defeated.

As punishment, God says that none of the men included in the count, the men registered on Moses’s list, will enter the promised land. They will die in the desert, never seeing what God wants to give them. Only Caleb and Joshua will make it in.

This list referenced in the book of Numbers is one list to avoid.

Are Our Names Written on God’s List?

However, in the book of Revelation, John writes about the book of life. In this case those whose names written in this book will make it in (Revelation 21:27). The people whose names aren’t on the list are hosed (Revelation 20:15).

There’s a time to count, and a time not to count. There’s a list we want to be on, and a list we don’t. But at the end of time, what matters is that our names are in the Lamb’s book of life. That’s what counts.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Numbers 1-3, and today’s post is on Numbers 1:2.]


Read more in Peter’s devotional Bible study, A New Heaven and a New Earth: 40 Practical Insights from John’s Book of Revelation.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

David’s Last Words

Psalm 168 from Beyond Psalm 150

As the book of 2 Samuel winds down, so does David’s life. In the penultimate chapter, we read David’s final recorded words. In this short psalm of praise, David recites the words God spoke to him, affirming David’s godly character and righteous reign.

“Yahweh’s Spirit spoke by me.
    His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
    the Rock of Israel spoke to me,
    ‘One who rules over men righteously,
    who rules in the fear of God,
shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises,
    a morning without clouds,
    when the tender grass springs out of the earth,
    through clear shining after rain.’
Isn’t my house so with God?
    Yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
    ordered in all things, and sure,
    for it is all my salvation and all my desire,
    although he doesn’t make it grow.
But all the ungodly will be as thorns to be thrust away,
    because they can’t be taken with the hand.
The man who touches them must be armed with iron and the staff of a spear.
They will be utterly burned with fire in their place.”

2 Samuel 23:2–7

Reflection on David’s Last Words

The last words we say in our life here on earth may be recorded for others to read.

In doing so, we can talk about ourselves, or we can talk about God. Or we can do both, reminding others of our relationship with the Almighty and the lifetime of blessings he provided.

What can we do to make sure our final words matter the most for those closest to us? Should we write them down so that future generations can read them and praise God?

May our last words celebrate Yahweh and point others to him.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

David Worships God for Deliverance

Psalm 167 from Beyond Psalm 150

Second Samuel 22 looks back at one of the times when God delivered David from King Saul’s attempt to kill him. If this scenario sounds familiar and this passage from 2 Samuel looks just like a Psalm, you are correct.

This song of praise from 2 Samuel 22 is quite similar to Psalm 18. Many verses are an exact match, while others contain parallel thoughts. It’s as if one passage is a first draft and the other, a final version. But if so, we can only speculate which one came first.

Here is the version of David’s psalm of praise as recorded in 2 Samuel 22.

“Yahweh is my rock,
    my fortress,
    and my deliverer, even mine;
God is my rock in whom I take refuge;
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
    my high tower, and my refuge.
    My savior, you save me from violence.
I call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised;
    So shall I be saved from my enemies.
For the waves of death surrounded me.
    The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The cords of Sheol were around me.
    The snares of death caught me.
In my distress, I called on Yahweh.
    Yes, I called to my God.
He heard my voice out of his temple.
    My cry came into his ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled.
    The foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken,
    because he was angry.
Smoke went up out of his nostrils.
    Consuming fire came out of his mouth.
    Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down.
    Thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew.
    Yes, he was seen on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness a shelter around himself:
    gathering of waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
At the brightness before him,
    coals of fire were kindled.
Yahweh thundered from heaven.
    The Most High uttered his voice.
He sent out arrows and scattered them,
    lightning and confused them.
Then the channels of the sea appeared.
    The foundations of the world were laid bare by Yahweh’s rebuke,
    at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
He sent from on high and he took me.
    He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
    from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
They came on me in the day of my calamity,
    but Yahweh was my support.
He also brought me out into a large place.
    He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
Yahweh rewarded me according to my righteousness.
    He rewarded me according to the cleanness of my hands.
For I have kept Yahweh’s ways,
    and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his ordinances were before me.
    As for his statutes, I didn’t depart from them.
I was also perfect toward him.
    I kept myself from my iniquity.
Therefore Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    According to my cleanness in his eyesight.
With the merciful you will show yourself merciful.
    With the perfect man you will show yourself perfect.
    With the pure you will show yourself pure.
    With the crooked you will show yourself shrewd.
You will save the afflicted people,
    But your eyes are on the arrogant, that you may bring them down.
For you are my lamp, Yahweh.
    Yahweh will light up my darkness.
For by you, I run against a troop.
    By my God, I leap over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect.
    Yahweh’s word is tested.
    He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, besides Yahweh?
    Who is a rock, besides our God?
God is my strong fortress.
    He makes my way perfect.
He makes his feet like hinds’ feet,
    and sets me on my high places.
He teaches my hands to war,
    so that my arms bend a bow of bronze.
You have also given me the shield of your salvation.
    Your gentleness has made me great.
You have enlarged my steps under me.
    My feet have not slipped.
I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them.
    I didn’t turn again until they were consumed.
I have consumed them,
    and struck them through,
    so that they can’t arise.
    Yes, they have fallen under my feet.
For you have armed me with strength for the battle.
    You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
    that I might cut off those who hate me.
They looked, but there was no one to save;
    even to Yahweh, but he didn’t answer them.
Then I beat them as small as the dust of the earth.
    I crushed them as the mire of the streets, and spread them abroad.
You also have delivered me from the strivings of my people.
    You have kept me to be the head of the nations.
    A people whom I have not known will serve me.
The foreigners will submit themselves to me.
    As soon as they hear of me, they will obey me.
The foreigners will fade away,
    and will come trembling out of their close places.
Yahweh lives!
    Blessed be my rock!
Exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,
    even the God who executes vengeance for me,
    who brings down peoples under me,
    who brings me away from my enemies.
Yes, you lift me up above those who rise up against me.
    You deliver me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks to you, Yahweh, among the nations,
    and will sing praises to your name.
He gives great deliverance to his king,
    and shows loving kindness to his anointed,
    to David and to his offspring, forever more.”

2 Samuel 22:2–51 (WEB)

Reflection on David Worships God for Deliverance

The placement of this psalm in 2 Samuel seems out of chronological order.

Though the event immortalized by this psalm happened earlier in David’s life, it might not be until much later that he writes his words of appreciation to Yahweh.

But it doesn’t really matter when David wrote his song of praise to God, only that he did.

Thinking back on our lives, when have we forgotten to thank the Almighty for his provisions, for his blessings? It’s not too late.

Praise him now. Do it in prayer, in song, or in a psalm of your own. May we remember to praise Yahweh.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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David Affirms God

Psalm 166  from Beyond Psalm 150

After God tells David—through Nathan—that he is not the one to build God’s temple, David collects materials for its future construction. In addition to his own resources, other leaders also give willingly toward the temple’s construction.

In this the people and David rejoice. Here’s what David says.

“You are blessed, Yahweh, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, Yahweh, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty! For all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, Yahweh, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all! In your hand is power and might! It is in your hand to make great, and to give strength to all! Now therefore, our God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from you, and we have given you of your own. For we are strangers before you, and foreigners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no remaining. Yahweh our God, all this store that we have prepared to build you a house for your holy name comes from your hand, and is all your own. I know also, my God, that you try the heart, and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things. Now I have seen with joy your people, who are present here, offer willingly to you. Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this desire forever in the thoughts of the heart of your people, and prepare their heart for you; and give to Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for which I have made provision.”

1 Chronicles 29:10–19 (WEB)

Reflection on David Affirms God

This example of people who give willingly, generously, and with joy delights David and surely delights Yahweh. Much later, the apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth that God loves those who give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Do we give like the people in David’s day: willingly, generously, and with joy? Do we align with Paul’s encouragement to give cheerfully? May we give to God and his causes with motives that lift our spirits and delight him.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

David’s Song of Praise

Psalm 165 from Beyond Psalm 150

King David secures his throne, and the Almighty blesses him with peace. David desires to build a temple for Yahweh. At first the prophet Nathan agrees, but that night God reveals his perspective to his spokesman.

David is not to build the temple because he is a warrior and has shed blood (1 Chronicles 28:3). Instead, the task will fall to one of David’s descendants.

Nathan reveals God’s instructions to David, and the king accepts the prophet’s disappointing words. David sits before God and prays this psalm to the Almighty.

This psalm (similar to 1 Chronicles 17:16–27) appears in paragraph form and lacks the stanza formatting we’re used to seeing in the book of Psalms.

Nevertheless, the text still sounds like a psalm.

“Who am I, Lord Yahweh, and what is my house, that you have brought me this far? This was yet a small thing in your eyes, Lord Yahweh; but you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come; and this among men, Lord Yahweh! What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Lord Yahweh. For your word’s sake, and according to your own heart, you have worked all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, Yahweh God. For there is no one like you, neither is there any God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. What one nation in the earth is like your people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem to himself for a people, and to make himself a name, and to do great things for you, and awesome things for your land, before your people, whom you redeemed to yourself out of Egypt, from the nations and their gods? You established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever; and you, Yahweh, became their God. Now, Yahweh God, the word that you have spoken concerning your servant, and concerning his house, confirm it forever, and do as you have spoken. Let your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies is God over Israel; and the house of your servant David will be established before you.’ For you, Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, have revealed to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found in his heart to pray this prayer to you.

“Now, O Lord Yahweh, you are God, and your words are truth, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore let it please you to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you; for you, Lord Yahweh, have spoken it. Let the house of your servant be blessed forever with your blessing.”

2 Samuel 7:18–29 (WEB)

Reflection on David’s Song of Praise

David was surely disappointed when God prohibited him from building a temple. Yet instead of being upset and responding bitterly, David instead praises Yahweh for his provisions and asks for continued favor.

How do we respond to disappointment? Do we complain to the Almighty or see the good that he has done and praise him for his character? May our character reflect our Creator’s.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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David Praises God

Psalm 164 from Beyond Psalm 150

After a fatal first attempt to move the ark of God (1 Chronicles 13:3–14), David successfully brings the ark of God into Jerusalem and places it inside the tent he has prepared for it. David then gives offerings to God and appoints Levites—including Asaph— to lead worship.

The Bible credits Asaph with twelve chapters in the book of Psalms. This may be his thirteenth one, though David could also have penned it.

Regardless of the authorship, here is this psalm of when David praises God to celebrate the arrival of the ark of the covenant.

Oh give thanks to Yahweh.
    Call on his name.
    Make what he has done known among the peoples.
Sing to him.
    Sing praises to him.
    Tell of all his marvelous works.
Glory in his holy name.
    Let the heart of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
Seek Yahweh and his strength.
    Seek his face forever more.
Remember his marvelous works that he has done,
    his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,
you offspring of Israel his servant,
    you children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
He is Yahweh our God.
    His judgments are in all the earth.
Remember his covenant forever,
    the word which he commanded to a thousand generations,
    the covenant which he made with Abraham,
    his oath to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
    and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
saying, “I will give you the land of Canaan,
    The lot of your inheritance,”
    when you were but a few men in number,
    yes, very few, and foreigners in it.
They went about from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another people.
He allowed no man to do them wrong.
    Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes,
“Don’t touch my anointed ones!
    Do my prophets no harm!”
Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!
    Display his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    and his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised.
    He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but Yahweh made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him.
    Strength and gladness are in his place.
Ascribe to Yahweh, you relatives of the peoples,
    ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength!
Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name.
    Bring an offering, and come before him.
    Worship Yahweh in holy array.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
    The world also is established that it can’t be moved.
Let the heavens be glad,
    and let the earth rejoice!
    Let them say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns!”
Let the sea roar, and its fullness!
    Let the field exult, and all that is in it!
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before Yahweh,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
Oh give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good,
    for his loving kindness endures forever.
Say, “Save us, God of our salvation!
    Gather us together and deliver us from the nations,
    to give thanks to your holy name,
    to triumph in your praise.”
Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting even to everlasting.

1 Chronicles 16:8–36 (WEB)

Reflections on David Praises God

It’s human nature to want to receive credit for what we have done. Though we’re not sure who wrote this psalm—David or Asaph—the author is not the issue. The point is worshiping Yahweh, and this psalm does a superb job at it.

When have we strived to receive recognition for our work and in the process distracted others from worshiping God? Are we willing to set aside our pride so that others can best connect with the Almighty?

As John the Baptist said about Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

May we adopt the same humble perspective.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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David Mourns Abner’s Death

Psalm 163 from Beyond Psalm 150

Abner is captain of Saul’s army and initially opposes David.

Later, he switches his allegiance. Nevertheless, Joab, the leader of David’s army, kills Abner to avenge his brother’s death.

David weeps for Abner and sings this lament.

“Should Abner die as a fool dies? Your hands weren’t bound, and your feet weren’t put into fetters. As a man falls before the children of iniquity, so you fell.”

2 Samuel 3:33–34 (WEB)

Reflections on David Mourns Abner’s Death

David viewed Abner’s life as valuable. Joab didn’t. David forgave. Joab held a grudge. David mourns Abner’s death, whereas Joab caused it.

Do we value the lives of others? What can we do to elevate the lives of all people, regardless of their situation?

May we see others as God sees them.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan

Psalm 162 from Beyond Psalm 150

Though Samuel has already anointed David as king, Saul continues to rule. David could move to seize the throne, but instead he patiently waits for God’s timing. As he does, he respects Saul’s authority as the reigning king. David also forms a tight bond with Saul’s son Jonathan.

When Saul and Jonathan die in battle, the path is clear for David to ascend to the throne that God intended for him. David has every right to rejoice in Saul’s death, since Saul tried to kill him multiple times. But David instead mourns Saul and Jonathan’s passing.

“Your glory, Israel, was slain on your high places!
    How the mighty have fallen!
Don’t tell it in Gath.
    Don’t publish it in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
You mountains of Gilboa,
    let there be no dew or rain on you, and no fields of offerings;
    For there the shield of the mighty was defiled and cast away,
    The shield of Saul was not anointed with oil.
From the blood of the slain,
    from the fat of the mighty,
    Jonathan’s bow didn’t turn back.
    Saul’s sword didn’t return empty.
Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives.
    In their death, they were not divided.
They were swifter than eagles.
    They were stronger than lions.
You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
    who clothed you delicately in scarlet,
    who put ornaments of gold on your clothing.
How the mighty have fallen in the middle of the battle!
    Jonathan was slain on your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan.
    You have been very pleasant to me.
    Your love to me was wonderful,
    passing the love of women.
How the mighty have fallen,
    and the weapons of war have perished!”

2 Samuel 1:19–27 (WEB)

Reflections on David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan

Like David when hearing of King Saul’s death, we often have two ways to respond to the misfortunes of those who oppose us. We can be happy or sad. We can celebrate or grieve.

How do we respond when something good happens to us at the expense of another, such as the suffering of an enemy? How content are we to wait for God’s perfect timing?

May we react to all situations in a God-honoring way.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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God’s Provision

Psalm 160 from Beyond Psalm 150

Poor, widowed, and struggling to survive, Ruth lives with her destitute mother-in-law, Naomi. Yet God provides for Ruth (and her mother-in-law too) when Boaz marries Ruth as her kinsman-redeemer. Ruth and Boaz have a son—Ruth’s first child and Naomi’s first grandchild. (This boy, Obed, is the grandfather of the shepherd boy, David, who will one day become king over the nation of Israel.)

The women of the village share this psalm of praise with Ruth for God’s marvelous provision.

“Blessed be Yahweh, who has not left you today without a near kinsman. Let his name be famous in Israel. He shall be to you a restorer of life and sustain you in your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”

Ruth 4:14–15 (WEB)

Reflections on God’s Provision

The women praised Yahweh for providing Ruth with a husband and a son. Though most had families of their own, some of these women may have been waiting for a husband or longing for a child of their own, yet they celebrated with Ruth and Naomi anyway.

It’s one thing to remember to praise God for his blessings to us, but do we think to praise him for his blessings to others? May we thank God for the goodness other people receive from the Almighty.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Satan Entices King David to Sin

The King Confesses His Mistake and Asks God to Take Away the Guilt

In 1 Chronicles 21 we read the account of David telling Joab to take a census of the people to determine how many fighting men are in the nation. This was Satan’s doing who tempted David into numbering his military. This could cause him to put his trust in the size of his armies and not God to give him victory, as he had always done.

Joab completed the momentous task and reported the numbers back to David. The king was immediately grieved for what he had done and confessed his sin to God. He implored the Lord to take away the guilt for his foolish act.

Today we know that Jesus has died to take away our guilt and absolve us from our sins. But this had not yet taken place in David’s time, and he had no such assurance. His guilt weighed him down. He confessed his sin and asked God to take away the guilt.

God gave him three sentence options and allowed David to select his punishment. David made his decision, opting for the one that was the shortest in duration and that came from God’s hand and not from human hands. It was a three-day-long plague over the nation.

It was David—and David alone—who sinned, but the whole nation received the penalty for David’s mistake. This doesn’t seem fair, and during the plague, David realized this.

He rightly confessed he was the one who sinned, and it was wrong for the people to suffer for his shortcoming. Yet instead of asking God to punish only him, David asks the Lord to punish him and his family.

Why didn’t David ask God to punish him alone?

Yet another question is why didn’t David—the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22)—ask for mercy instead of judgment?

There are three lessons we can learn from this story:

  1. A leader’s shortcomings affect those who follow.
  2. Though we deserve punishment for the wrong things we do, we can ask God for mercy to take away the guilt.
  3. Through Jesus, Father God forgives and forgets our sins.

May we hold onto this.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Chronicles 21-23 and today’s post is on 1 Chronicles 21:8. We can also read this account in 2 Samuel 24.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.