SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- David takes an unauthorized census so he can take pride in the size of his army. It says that Satan "caused" David to do this. But Satan can't force anyone to sin, he can only tempt. Ultimately, we have the choice of how to respond to temptation.
- When David realized he had done wrong, he took responsibility and asked God to forgive him (see verse 8).
- We may not understand why these particular consequences (verses 14 and following) resulted from David's sin, but what we can understand is that sin always has consequences. And the consequences of sin often negatively impact many people who were not the one's who sinned.
- David seeks to make an offering to God (verses 22-24) and when he has the opportunity for it to not cost him something, he refuses. David believed that we should sacrifice for God. What we give to him should cost us something; if not, we didn't really offer anything of value.
- In the book of Numbers (chapters 1 and 2) God called for a census to be taken. Here, David takes the census to take pride in the strength of his army.
- First, we see that some actions aren't necessarily good or bad in and of themselves. (Taking a census is not good, or bad.) Often, what makes an action good or bad is our motivation for doing it. Here, David's motivation was wrong, and it made his action wrong.
- David was exalting in and trusting in his military strength, instead of exalting in and trusting in the strength of his God. The Bible says that "pride goes before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is dangerous because it leads people to not rely on, and perhaps even to ignore, God.
- When you are tempted, examine the action you're thinking of taking, and your desire for taking it. Is what you're thinking of doing wrong? Or is your motivation for doing it wrong? (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.) If you realize it's not the right choice, don't take it. It will lead to negative consequences, just like it did for David. When you're tempted, talk to God about it, and ask some trusted friends to pray for you and to provide accountability.
- Where are you being tempted recently? Is it a wrong action, or a wrong motivation for taking the action? Have you talked to God about it? Have you confided in a trusted friend who can pray for you and offer you accountability?