“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.” (2 Samuel 24:10)
What’s the deal with this? We do a national census every 10 years in our country, sometimes more often. We do surveys and polls all the time, and all of it for gathering information for decisional purposes. What was so wrong with David doing a national census of Israel to determine the size of a potential army? By the way, the census revealed a potential army of 1.3 million men.
The problem with this is two-fold: 1) God did not tell David to do a military census but a general census, and 2) David’s actions moved him away from rather than toward God. His actions moved him away from God at three levels: 1) he moved away from God and toward self, 2) he moved away from dependence on God and toward a greater self-dependence, and 3) he moved away from faith and toward knowledge as the basis for his decisions. The point: David moved away from God, not toward Him.
Whether a census or some other event, any move away from God is detrimental to our well being. It’s like moving away from the fire in freezing weather, or away from an oasis and toward the desert. Moving away from God makes no sense.
As we come to the close of another year and prepare to move into the new year, may this be a year in which we all continually move toward God as we follow the leading of His Spirit. That is what will make it a great year.
Lord, Point us in the right direction, the one that leads always toward You, today and throughout the next year. Amen.