Is It Hidden Pride?

Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He incited David against them, saying, ‘’Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.’’
So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, ‘’Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.’’
But Joab replied to the king, ‘’May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my LORD the king see it. But why does my LORD the king want to do such a thing?’’
The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel . . . 
After they had gone through the entire land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of  nine months and twenty days.  . . . In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand. 
David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, ‘’I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.’’

2 Samuel 24:1-10

This is the second time in David’s life and kingship that we see him publicly sinning against the LORD. David had become a very successful king. The kingdom was at peace. The rebellion of Absalom had been quenched and the enemies of Israel had all been subdued. The fighting soldiers were all in place around various parts of the nation and they could be called into battle at any time. God had blessed David and Israel. What else could David ask for?

David asked Joab and the army commanders to go around the entire nation and number the fighting men of the country. This order from the commander in chief, David, seemed rather uncharacteristic so Joab pushed back against the order but David did not relent. His instructions were carried out. After nine months, he received the report that there were a total of one million and three hundred thousand soldiers ready to fight at the king’s command.

David was immediately conscience-stricken because he knew he had sinned against God. He realized he had done a very foolish thing and asked God for forgiveness. Again we see how close David’s relationship to God was, and how much he sought to keep it pure.

So what was the nature of the sin? I believe it was hidden pride! David had always depended on God to fight his battles. But now, David felt successful and accomplished. He wanted to know the strength of his army. He must have delighted in the vastness of his army. The little shepherd boy was now king and commander in chief. It was a moment of pride! 

Strange stirrings can take place in the human heart when we feel successful, affluent and accomplished! We must never lose our guard and delight in the vastness of our resources.

Prayer: Father, may I never take pride in anything other than in you alone. Amen.