What’s Wrong With A Census?

What’s Wrong With A Census?

1 Chronicles 21:1-7

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 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?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.  But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel.

When I first read these verses I didn’t understand why God would be displeased with King David taking a census.  I thought, what is wrong with knowing how many citizens you have to rule.  Countries, including our country, take a census every so many years to determine population growth, changes in demographics, etc.  Where is the sin it this?

Then, as I read it again, I realized David was getting the number of soldiers he had under his command.  Okay, again what’s wrong with that?  Eisenhower needed to know troop strength for both the Allies and the Axis.  What commander wouldn’t want to know this?  That is vital information for strategic and logistical planning.

I also wondered why David’s top commander bulked at this request.  What did he know that David didn’t know?  How did Joab know David was committing a sin? Continue reading

One Astray

One Astray

Matthew 18:12-14

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Chapter 18 begins with the Disciples asking Jesus a rather odd question, or at least it seems odd to me.  They ask, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  I’m not sure what they are asking.  Are they wondering if Moses, Elijah, or Isaiah holds the most power?  I don’t know, but it demonstrates that the Disciples, like all of us, couldn’t truly forsake worldly thoughts and ideas.  It shows a thinking of class warfare.  The poor versus, the middle, versus the upper class, versus the royalty.  And it reveals a concern about what other individuals think. Continue reading

Eating The Sour Grapes

Eating The Sour Grapes

Jeremiah 31:29-30

In those days they shall no longer say:

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

When I read these verses two words came into my head.  We’ll talk about that a little later in this piece.

In ancient times it was thought that the sins of the father, or the “eating of the sour grapes” as referred to in these verses, were paid for by their children and their succeeding generations.  When the Israelites we’re conquered and carried off to Babylon the children were paying for the sins of their fathers.  But many of those children were also eating the sour grapes.  Much like their fathers, the children continued the idolatry and worshiping of false gods.  They continued the abominations practiced by their parents. Continue reading

Personal Responsibility

Personal Responsibility

James 1:13-15

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

What is James talking about in these verses?  He is talking about personal responsibility.

He is telling us that temptation and sin are of our own doing.  We are not puppets and God is pulling the strings.  We are all free individuals able to make our own decisions and choices.  And with freedom comes responsibility, personal responsibility. Continue reading

Power, Corruption, Sin, Truth

Power, Corruption, Sin, Truth

Jeremiah 26:10-11

When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”

What has Jeremiah said or done to make the officials of Judah want to have him perish?  Well, let’s look back at Jeremiah 26:4-6: Continue reading

Hard Headed

Hard Headed

Isaiah 48:4

Because I know that you are obstinate,
    and your neck is an iron sinew
    and your forehead brass,

This is Isaiah summing up man.

In Isaiah 48, Isaiah is telling the Israelites how God has shown them miracles, brought them out of bondage, and informed them of the consequences of their actions.  God reminds them that all the things told to them and shown to them have come to pass.  The Israelites knew of the consequences of their actions and chose to ignore them, they turned to man-made idols for their salvation. Continue reading

What Does The Lord Require?

What Does The Lord Require?

Micah 6:6-8

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

I made a note about these three verses but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write.  Now, as I read them and begin to write this piece, I realize just how simple a message it is, yet so eloquently stated.

In the English Standard Version of the Bible, these verses are titled, “What Does the Lord Require?” Continue reading