So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. – 2 Samuel 24:8-9
Here we find King David having concluded a census. His heart was stirred to find out exactly how many men he had in his country who could fight. God did not authorize this census. Because He did not authorize it, here is what happened next:
So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. – 2 Samuel 24:15
I don’t know about you, but that punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. Ok, so David basically wasted nine months figuring out how many fighting men he had. Yet, 70,000 of them got wiped out by this plague sent from the Lord. Why so harsh?
The more I think about this, the more I realize I’ve done exactly what David did. I have put my trust in my resources. If I have plenty of dollars in the bank, then I have all the food I need, all the medical care that I need, and all the entertainment and comfort that I could ever want provided within the four walls of my comfortable home. Why do I really need God? If I have a headache, I have three types of medicine in my cabinet to take care of it. When is the last time I asked Him or even gave Him a chance to take care of such a thing for me? Honestly, I can’t remember.
I imagine the same thing happened to David that happened to me. He got a great job. Whereas he once had so little out in the field taking care of those sheep, now he lived in a palace with all the money, sex, and provisions a guy could ever want. Even when it came to war, he had plenty of fighting men. There was no real need to ask the God of the Universe for help. David had it covered all by himself.
Here is what David needed to do, and what I feel like I need to do right now. David needed to remember his giant slaying days. He needed to think back years ago to what it was like to stand before the giant with just a sling and five stones. He needs to remember what it was like when everyone else in the country’s heart was just melted with fear. They had fighting men back then, too, but none of them wanted to fight. The giant was too big, too strong, and nobody wanted a piece of him. David knew that God had given him everything he needed to win this battle. He didn’t go around asking, “Who is with me?” He said this instead:
“You come against me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come against you in the Name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those who are gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47
That’s quite different than counting your 1.3 million men and thinking you are going to be okay.
Do you remember what it was like when you first believed in God? Do you remember the first time you read the Bible stories? Was there anything that God could not do? Was there any reason to worry at all? I want to get back to that. If you and I can live like this, how many people will see the true Light of the world that offers so great a salvation? How many people just might want what we have? David produced so many future mighty warriors that day he slew the giant. All they needed to do was see the mighty hand of God on a human. So many thought to themselves, “If what I just saw is possible for David, then it just might be possible for me.”
Does anybody watch me live my life and think that?
Lord, I want you to be the first resource I turn to. I’m sorry that as I’ve gotten older and attained more resources that I’ve put more and more trust in them. I want to follow You with the same passion I had when I was younger and just figuring out how great, mighty, and powerful You are. There is no one like You. I love You! Thank you for speaking to me this morning.