So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the LORD add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” 1 Chronicles 21:2-3
1 Chronicles 21 begins with David sinning against the LORD by taking a census of Israel. This census stemmed from David’s pride and military ambitions and was not according to God’s command. Jesus dealt with His own disciples’ pride in Luke 9 when an argument arises among them over who is the greatest.
But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” Luke 9: 47-48
Jesus shows the disciples the opposite of pride: childlike humility and servitude. Instead of being prideful, I should instead serve others with humility, thinking of others over myself.
David had to deal with the consequences of his sin, as God sent a terrible pestilence on Israel, killing many Israelites.
And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” 1 Chronicles 21: 15-15b
Even though the Lord punished David and his people, He stops His angel from destroying Jerusalem, mercifully sparing all the people of Jerusalem from His wrath.
God’s mercy shines through again in Jonah, as he sends the prophet to warn the Ninevites of their upcoming destruction if they continued their current path. The Ninevites repented and Jonah was furious at God for not destroying them. God responds, however,
And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah 4:11
God asks Jonah why He should not pity Nineveh and offer mercy and a chance to repent. Jesus found Himself in a similar situation with His own disciples when He was not received in Samaria.
And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he [Jesus] turned and rebuked them. Luke 9: 54-55
Dear God, thank You for Your abundant mercy and grace upon me. Help me to have a heart of humility and servitude instead of pride and to thank You for Your grace. In Your Holy Name, Amen.
From the archives. Originally published November 25, 2017.