READING: 2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21-22, Psalm 30
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: These chapters tell the story of David’s taking a census, followed by God’s judgment and David’s repentance. The truths of these chapters really challenge me as an educator.
1. It’s easy to depend on self. David’s taking a census of his military warriors indicated his desire to know how strong his forces were — and consequently, how strong he was. In general, this act might not seem wrong, but David knew that God was to be his warrior, and any battle was to be God’s battle (1 Samuel 17:47). David temporarily placed his dependence on his military might.
1 Chron. 21:2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan and bring a report to me so I can know their number.”
What strikes me is that David knew better, because he had been the shepherd boy who defeated the giant. He knew then that God was his warrior, but now he was not the shepherd boy; he was the king with power . . . and experience . . . and training . . . and troops. My fear as an educator is that we will somehow transform trusting, risking shepherd boys into self-dependent leaders who rely on their training more than their God.
2. We do not sin in isolation. Because of David’s sin, 70,000 people died of a plague. David, in fact, pleaded with God to judge him and his family alone rather than his people.
2 Sam. 24:17 When David saw the angel striking the people, he said to the Lord, “Look, I am the one who has sinned; I am the one who has done wrong. But these sheep, what have they done? Please, let Your hand be against me and my father’s family.”
While the consequences of our sin are seldom so dire, our sin still affects others. Even the way we relate to others is affected when we are living with recurrent, unconfessed sin.
3. People after God’s heart recognize their sin. David knew soon after his act that he had sinned against God. God’s people still commit wrong, but they cannot avoid the conviction that comes with wrongdoing.
2 Sam. 24:10 David’s conscience troubled him after he had taken a census of the troops. He said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I’ve done. Now, Lord, because I’ve been very foolish, please take away Your servant’s guilt.”
4. Confession is right. It is right to admit our foolishness when we lean on self rather than on God. Often, though, God must bring us to the end of ourselves to remind us how much we need Him. The psalmist learned this truth when God hid Himself from him.
Psalm 30:7b-8 when You hid Your face, I was terrified. Lord, I called to You . . .
PRAYER: Pray that leaders, beginning with us, would depend on God’s strength rather than our own. Ask God to bring us to the end of ourselves.
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalm 108-110