What Are You 'Counting' On?
by Tom Goodman
November 30, 2011
When you come to your census, I hope you will come to your senses.
Everyone comes to his census eventually. King David did, literally. In 2 Samuel 24, David ordered a count of the fighting men at his disposal. Even Joab thought the plan detestable. Joab was always willing to do the dirty work to keep David in power, but even he said, "David, you don't want to do this." If even
Joab objected, you know this isn't going to end well. But David had his way, and enrolled every man eligible to fight.
What motivated this count? Arrogance, or ambition, or anxiety. That is, David wanted to boast in his strength (arrogance), or he was plotting a military campaign without direction from God (ambition), or he felt his nation was
threatened and wanted reassurance (anxiety). Whatever the motivation, though, it betrayed a loss of faith in God.
Like David, you come to your census when you look to something other than God for your self-worth and security. In his remarkable book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller calls this idolatry. "An idol," he writes, "is whatever you look at and
say, in your heart of hearts, 'If I have that, then I'll feel my life has meaning, then I'll know I have value, then I'll feel significant and secure.'"
But when you come to your census, I hope you come to your senses!
David is our guide here. The moment that Joab reported the number -- that number David hoped would feed his self-worth or relieve his anxiety -- it was upon hearing the report that David was conscience-stricken. "I have sinned greatly," he said. The
consequences were costly: The very thing David had depended on for his worth and security -- the number of his fighters -- was reduced by 70,000 through plague. But David's repentance and God's mercy brought an end to the crisis.
Like David, we come to our senses when we return to full trust in God. In Jeremiah 9:23-24, God says, "The wise must not boast in his wisdom; the mighty must
not boast in his might; the rich must not boast in his riches. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me."
We all need help in coming to our senses. So, join us this Sunday @ 10 as we let this important story develop us.
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