repentancePer our discussion at the start of 2 Chronicles – although the accounts described in both 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles appear to be the same… in actuality they are presented from quite different perspectives. While 1-2 Kings gives the rise and fall of Israel from man’s point of view, 1-2 Chronicles gives God’s position on what happened. Nowhere is that more clear then 1 Chronicles 21.

In this chapter we are once again provided with a grave sin of King David – that of numbering the people of Israel. (This was first told to us in 2 Sam 24). In fact – this season of sin for David begins earlier in chapter 20… where David fails to go to war (as Kings should) – but instead remains behind in Jerusalem and gets caught up with the lust for Bathsheba Interestingly – while in 2 Samuel we are provided details regarding David’s sin with Bathsheba – here in Chronicles it isn’t even mentioned. Either the writer failed to see it as pertinent to the message of the book – or God saw this sin as wiped away (in His perspective) because David repented.

From that sin – we move right into David’s next error… numbering his men. But why was this a sin? What seems like a simple act of administration invites a major season of destruction and punishment for David. What was the cause? What was so wrong with this act?

Before we address that – notice what the text says:

Satan [an adversary] stood up against Israel and stirred up David to number Israel.”1 Chr 21:1 AMP

Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.” – 2 Sam 24:1 AMP

Notice in 2 Sam we are told that God is the One who caused David to number the people (and sin in the process) – yet here in Chronicles we are told Satan did it. This again gives credence to the differing perspectives of the books. While man many times blames God for doing something (in His sovereignty) – in actuality is wasn’t God at all, (in this case it was Satan). Obviously God wouldn’t cause David to sin and then turn around and punish him for that sin. In fact – James 1:13 tells us that God does not tempt anyone to sin… so that scripture alone should help correct this bad theology so many carry around regarding the sovereignty of God.

So why was God angry with David for numbering the people – and why did He then send an angel to punish them? This is because of the real root of the matter – which isn’t simply the numbering of the Israelites. (Many before and after have numbered the people… from Moses to Jesus). Obviously there must be a weightier matter in this… and that matter is David’s heart. 1 Sam 16:7 tells us For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”. In this instance – it wasn’t the action of taking a census that was sin… but the motive behind that action. God saw that David was trusting in his own strength of his army instead of the Lord’s strength. This was the sin. Once David realized his error – he confessed his sin to the Lord (“I have acted like a silly fool”vs 8) – and the submitted to the Lord. Although this repentance did not remove the consequences of the sin – it did restore the relationship between David and the Lord – and did stir the Lord to mercy in the end.

The message for you and I in this is quite clear. We all make mistakes and have errors in judgment. But it is the true lover of God who quickly repents once their sin if revealed – and then places themselves under the hand of the Almighty God. He is just and full of compassion… He takes the sin of the repentant heart and places it upon the cross of His Son, Jesus. That is Good News!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,