“David was conscience-stricken after he
had counted the fighting men…”
2 Sam 24:10
It been several months since David ordered Joab to carry out what he intended to do. The
Lord must have spoken to him through his conscience and the king was convicted.
“What have I done?” he asked himself.
The Lord had been with him every step of the way in his journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem
and from being a lowly shepherd to a king over a nation, yet at the end of the
long and treacherous journey, the man was making an attempt to take
credit for all things the Lord had done in his life. By counting his fighting
men the king was obviously focusing on what his men could do for him, not on
how the Lord could perform his mighty acts in his life, as he had done before.
“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you
now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” Paul exhorted the Galatian
I was beginning to feel a little more comfortable about my
preaching before the Lord convicted me that I still had a long way to go as far
as proclaiming the word of God was concerned. Natural talent will always fall
short in the area of preaching. It was about thirty seven years ago when I
delivered my first sermon to a handful of people in a fishing village. I think
I did a pretty good job, even though I had no idea what I was doing. It was
about a year removed since I had become a true believer and my zeal for the
Lord was leaps and bound over my Biblical knowledge. Yet it didn’t seem to make
a lot of difference.
I will become a much better preacher if I learn to rely on the
Lord more. “It’s more like catching a wave when we learn to surf,” I told
Kathy. “The wave of the Holy Spirit,” I added. Of course I was speaking about
preaching. Beware if you start counting how many people you have saved through
All the sins David had committed in his life, including his
adultery and murder, paled compared to the sin of numbering his fighting men.
How so? You may ask.
The sins of adultery and murder were indeed very heinous, but
they were still carnal in nature. By numbering his fighting men David appeared
to have committed a spiritual sin, in which a human was competing against the Divine
for dominance. There was no need for David to continue to rely on the Lord if
he could depend on himself, therefore rendering the Lord superfluous and
expendable in his life.
Indeed that was a great affront to the Lord.
We ought to be more careful not to feel too comfortable about
ourselves. We may have built up some human strength after years of
laboring, or have accumulated some wealth through our ingenuity, which may give
us a false sense of security, but we should never ever consider our strength or
wealth adequate for anything unless the Lord lends us his helping hand.
Instead of numbering his
fighting men, David should have spent his old age counting God’s gracious acts
one by one, which is something we ought to do every day.