When Counting is Wrong

Chapter 21 of 1 Chronicles is chock-full of spiritual lessons. This is how it begins:


21 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.

But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him.This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.


Why was this a sin? It was a sin because it moved David to thinking that his strength and security lay in numbers rather than in the Lord. The problem then is that his trust would become static, resting in the facts of his superior military advantage, rather than active, vibrantly trusting in the Lord.

How is our trust, our view of our life? Is it static, based on numbers – our salary, our bank accounts, our retirement accounts? Or is it active, understanding that in the final analysis our wellbeing, our safety and security are with God?

This morning I received by email called “Soul Food.” My mentor, Chip Kirk sends these out occasionally, and today’s was a poignant reminder of how important it is to trust in God and not worry. Here’s the excerpt:

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.–Jesus (Matthew 6:31-33 NLT)

Matthew 6 is either true or it isn’t.  If it isn’t, then we can’t trust any other part of the Bible either and we might as well throw it away and forget Christianity.  If it is true, and we seek and submit to God’s rule, reign, authority, and power in our lives, then we can quit worrying about money because God has promised to take care of us.–Chip Kirk

It’s funny to me that American currency has “In God We Trust” written right there on the bank notes and coins. As you handle either today, let that little phrase be a reminder of where our trust is best placed.

In what will you trust today? Spreadsheets or spirituality? The ledger or the Lord?


If you want to sign up for Chip’s occasional emails, you can do so at his website here: http://www.chipkirk.com/    Scroll down to the Soul Food Signup box and enter your email.

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