Scripture: 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?” 2 Samuel 24:1-3 NIV
Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.” But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?” The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 21:1-4 NIV
Observation: Two separate entries in the Old Testament that details David’s sin of taking a census.
Application: There are many things in the bible that confuse me, this happens to be one. I believe that the taking of a census, especially of the soldiers was an act of unfaithfulness. It was viewed as mistrust of the Lord to give and protect. I believe that is why David and Israel were punished. My confusion is that in 2 Samuel 24:1 it says, “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.’ ” The way I read that, God told David to “go and take a census…” In 1 Chronicles 21:1, “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” I definitely see something confusing in these two passages. I believe that the 2 Samuel passage may be that God allowed David to be driven to sin because clearly, “again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel…” David had apparently done something prior to this that offended the Lord. That’s how I choose to understand this and I assume that it explains the confusion.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the bible and it’s ability to make us look deeply to understand at times. Some passages are clear and understandable, others are not. I appreciate you giving me a guide that I have to spend more time studying occasionally in order to understand. Thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen