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A Bad Census
12/14/2011

A Bad Census
Confidence Improperly Placed

Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, "Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it." And Joab answered, "May the LORD make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?" 1 Chronicles 21:1-3 (NKJV)

In the Book of Chronicles we are told a story of how King David was moved by Satan to have the commander of his army take a census of how many men were in Israel.  David wanted to know how many men he had so he could evaluate the strength of his army.  Joab, his commander, was shocked by David's request and asks him, "Why then does my lord require this thing?"

Q:    Was it wrong for David to count his people so he could know how many there were?

Census taking was not sinful in and of itself.  In fact, God had instituted it previously.  This census however was done wrongly as David was doing it with improper motives.  David appeared to be taking a census to increase his confidence in his own troop strength should he have to go into battle.  He was no longer trusting in God's provision or protection but relying on his own resources.  

Q:    What can we learn from this story?

I believe we can learn a lot.  We too, can take a census of what we have in our life and we can see the blessings and be tempted to find safety in them rather than God.  We can become prideful and even arrogant and find ourselves becoming independent from the Lord.  Or perhaps we could find ourselves taking a census of what we have and find ourselves lacking what we feel we need.  We might even become anxious or depressed because we are focusing on what we don't have.  

Both of these situations have the same problem at the root; it's taking an improper census of our resources with hopes of finding our security in them rather than completely trusting in God.  I want to clarify it is not wrong to take an inventory of your finances or to save and plan for the future.  It's wrong when we put our faith in them instead of our Lord.  

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Psalms 91:2 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you today to meditate upon these things.  Let's choose to put our confidence only in God for every need and choose to never put our confidence in any possession.

STUDY QUESTION: According to Psalms 91:2 where did the writer declare he placed his trust?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you found yourself placing your confidence, or lacking confidence in what you have?

APPLICATION: Let's trust only in the Lord for our future.  Let's resist the temptation to trust in wealth, power, individual talent, or anything else we may feel tempted to place our trust in.

Let's pray-

Father, thank You for Your abundant provision and protection.  Forgive me for the times where I have felt more secure because of my possessions.  Forgive me for the times where I have become anxious because I did not have what I felt I needed to be secure.  Help me to remember this truth when the enemy tempts me to doubt or to be overconfident.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000