2 Samuel 24:10
“And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’”
King David committed a sin by taking a census of the people, rather than trusting in the arm of God as Israel’s defense. His sin was forgiven, but the consequences were grave.
This passage is a vivid illustration of temptation, failure, repentance and results. In the parallel passage in Chronicles we read,
1 Chronicles 21:1
” Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.”
The initial cause of David’s sin was giving into temptation. Instead of rejecting unbiblical thinking, he chose to entertain his thoughts, and before long found himself giving in. It is not uncommon for us to be bombarded with ungodly thoughts. We harbor bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness toward those we perceive have wronged us, and this often leads to justifying ungodly attitudes and actions. Many relationships have been destroyed because we entertained ungodly thoughts, which we should have used the shield of faith to destroy.
David’s thoughts soon led him to action and he took a census of Israel, rather than trusting the Lord. Almost immediately, he was bombarded with guilt and shame. Guilt can be positive or negative, depending upon how we react ito it. Often, guilt will lead to unhealthy actions like isolation, depression or substance abuse. Instead, David allowed his guilt to drive him to the one place it could be appeased; David sought the Lord. His prayer was simply confession. He did not attempt to justify his actions, but admitted his guilt. Years after this, the apostle John wrote
1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Because of the sufficiency of the cross, we can cry out to God, and all sin will be forgiven and intimacy with the Lord restored. That truth will never change, but there is a parallel truth that this passage illustrates. Although his sin was forgiven, there were still consequences for his actions. While living through these consequences, David learned to rely upon the mercy of God.
Perhaps you have failed in a big way and are living in the realm of the consequences. Your actions may have cost you a lot. Will you allow me to encourage you to trust in the mercy of God, and cling to Him, as He seeks to minister to you and those who you have wronged. You might not see immediate results, but a life of repentance will put you back on the road that ultimately leads to blessings. For David, it was this season in his life where he took the first step toward building the Temple, which in the long run, would serve as a place where many were drawn to God.