Have you ever heard the call of God on your life? What was your response? In 1 Chronicles 21, Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. As a consequence, 70,000 Israelites fell dead, as God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.
The Book of Exodus shows there were strict laws about doing a census. ‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “When you take the census of the people to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them”’ (Exodus 30:11-12).
In this passage Moses is given the command to number Israel, with the qualification that every man present the ransom tax for his soul. The tax was used to pay the cost of the temple. They were warned that if they were taking a census, and failed to pay the taxes, it would cause a plague to break out among them. In 1 Chronicles 21 that’s exactly what happened.
Joab, the commander of David’s army, was very reluctant to number the men who could draw a sword. What was the purpose of the census? It was provoked by Satan, and God was displeased with David. It was a counting of the military men of Israel and was solely concerned with the size of Israel’s army and military strength, rather than trusting God.
There was a temptation here to be proud, to gloat over, or to glory in the sheer size of the army’s military muscle, past accomplishment, and perhaps spoils from past battles. The sin was King David feeling confident in the number and strength from his army instead of having confidence in God.
How far had he fallen? Do you remember his words to Goliath? “You come against with sword and bow, and I come against you in the name of the living God”. He was probably too young to be called up then, about fifteen years old, and now here he is at the end of his life, having trusted God and having seen God give him all his victories, but trusting in himself and his army.
Are we guilty of taking a personal census of our resources before saying yes to God? The devil will always tempt us with our resources so we can decide whether we can win or not. Of course he can also get us to focus on our weaknesses, if that suits him better.
God may call us to do something, and we look at our bank account or our circumstances before saying yes. If we take our eyes off God, and look at numbers, money, circumstances, or resources to decide the way forward, we’re guilty of sin.
When Ellel Ministries bought Pierrepont school there was absolutely no money. If we’d just looked at the bank account and made a decision on that basis, there would be no Ellel Pierrepont today. God has to be our absolute source of trust and confidence.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please forgive us whenever we’ve counted on our own strength and resources before we’ve stepped out for you. Help us Lord to really believe that You’re ‘Jehovah Jireh, our Provider’ and Your arm’s never too short to save. Help us to totally put our trust in You alone, and not in our circumstances. You’re a God who’s promised to complete that which You’ve begun in us. You’re our source, our supply, our Healer and our Deliverer. Amen.
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