The book of Samuel concludes with an episode in which David sins before God. It’s fascinating that David pressed on with the census despite good advice telling him not to do so. It’s just as fascinating that David’s conscience hits when he recognises what he’s done.
There is much to learn from this episode. It’s good to know that no matter how well you know God, you cancan still be susceptible to ignoring good advice and make bad decisions. That’s good to know because it is humbling to never think of ourselves as above sin. We are to be consciously aware of how we can be trapped by it.
It’s good to know that our conscience can convict us so we can acknowledge the wrong that we have done. On a previous occasion, David had to be arrested by a prophet for the wrong he did. On this occasion, he knew it himself and was alert to respond in the light of that. Being convicted of wrong should motivate us to see what we can do right.
It’s good to know that God is sensitive to our remorse and our repentance. David’s anguish over the suffering of his people reflects his desire to do what is right in God’s sight.
It’s good to know that these episodes of wrongdoing can be platform for repentance, worship and monuments to God’s righteousness and mercy. The altar that David built, based on sacrifice and not just accepting a gift, is a monument of devotion to the God who hears and answers prayers. This monument is a significant memory of trusting in God alone and not our own way, and in doing so He responds.
This episode has been written for us to learn from it. To learn so wewe can prevent such things happening to us as well to learn if and when such things happen to us. We can avoid wrongdoing if we remain humble and completely trust in God. Yet even when we don’t, God does not cut us off and as we are sensitive to Him, so He will make a way of restoration for us by His mercy.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden