“Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.”
1 CHRONICLES 21:1
Read 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21
Whether you are a king in your palace or a pauper on the streets, you will experience temptation to sin. Sin is serving our independent nature and acting in ways against God’s will and Word. Rooted in satisfying our flesh through selfish desires, it certainly doesn’t come without consequence.
Even David, a man after God’s heart, finds himself tempted by pride and self-sufficiency, stumbling into sin. Sin always offers a promising reward yet never delivers. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death” and highlights the real reward of sin - eternal separation from our heavenly father. Sin always has a price, either on earth or in eternity. Thankfully, Romans 6:23 goes on to say, “But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” revealing the gift of salvation found in true repentance.
Even though David owned his sin and repented, he still had to pay a price for his actions. Leaving the decision in the hands of the Lord, 70,000 men died because of David’s sin. This short passage teaches us that those with God-given authority over our lives carry a responsibility to live upright, Godly lives, considering their ways. If you walk in a spiritual leadership role, either in Church, as a husband or as a parent, consider your God-given authority and how the consequences of your sin might affect those you lead.
There are a few incredible lessons when it comes to overcoming sin in today’s story. Firstly, ownership. David was prepared to own the error of his ways. He was noted multiple times saying, “I have done this thing” and did not accuse any other of causing him to sin. Are you fully owning your own sin today? Secondly, we see David was unprepared to offer back to God something without cost. David ensured he paid the full price to make right with God at the threshing floor, and thereby sets us an example to do the same. Is our repentance and worship costly to our flesh or a token gesture of choice words, without intent to follow through? Thirdly, the burnt offering signifies the removal of sin and the peace offering a restoration of fellowship with the Father. Have you repented of your sin and discovered His abounding mercy and forgiveness? Are you living in peaceful fellowship with the Father today? Finally, don’t forget Joab. He challenges the King directly in his desires prior to David falling into sin. If David had listened to Joab, he would have never had to face the consequences of his sin. Are you listening to the Holy Spirit and fellow believers around you when it comes to the way you are living?
Author: Matt Rees - Elder, Living Hope Church, Isle of Man