1 Chronicles 20-22
(David Forgets What Counts)
May 2nd


Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

A satan rose up against Israel, and he incited David to take a census of Israel.

- 1 Chronicles 21:1 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

This set of chapters depicts the build-up of Davidís pride that leads him to ignore Godís word and listen to Satan instead. For example, chapter 20 summarizes a couple of big victories for Israel. Meanwhile, Davidís enhanced view of himself is evident by the observation that he did not go to battle with his men, as was his custom, but remained behind in his palace.

In chapter 21, the author of Chronicles, Ezra, records that Satan tempted David to conduct a census for his army. Joab advises him not to do it, but David overruled him. It turns out that Joab was right and the entire nation bore the brunt of Davidís transgression as God unleashes a plague. God eventually calls a halt to the pain after David pleads with him on behalf of the nation:

    David said to God, ďWas it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? LORD my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.Ē

    - 1 Chronicles 21:17 (NIV)

David then decided to build an altar on the threshing floor where the plague ended. The owner of the threshing floor offered to donate the property but David insisted on paying for it. This threshing floor would become the site of the temple that Solomon will build.

In chapter 22, Ezra writes that David made arrangements for building the temple by acquiring the raw material and assigning the task to his son Solomon. This account is different than the one in 2 Samuel, in which Solomon was responsible for all the tasks.

Reflection and Application

We understand that the purpose of Chronicles is to provide a summary of the history of Israel to encourage, teach, and prepare the exiles returning from Babylon. As such, some stories are left out and others are told from a different perspective. It was worthwhile to include the story of Davidís failure to resist the temptation to conduct the census so that the people can understand that grace and forgiveness is available and that there are opportunities for second chances Ė for example, as the opportunity for the exiled people of Judah return from Babylon. The reason the census was a sin is that David was conducting it for his own glory, not for Godís purposes. On this occasion, he was so blinded by ambition that he ignored sound advice from one of his trusted advisors.

I have to confess that I donít understand why Ezra, the author of Chronicles, does not also include the transgression by David that led to adultery with Bathsheeba and murder of her husband Uriah, a brave warrior who served David. The inclusion of this sin would have provided a more accurate portrait of David and would have further encouraged the people with regard to opportunities for forgiveness, for those who sincerely repent.

Nevertheless, note the sincerity of Davidís repentance for the census and his insistence of paying for the threshing floor. He knew that a sacrifice is meaningless if it costs us nothing.

    But King David replied to Araunah, ďNo, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.Ē

    - 1 Chronicles 22:24 (NIV)



This scenario can be a good reminder to us to never be afraid to go to God to request foregiveness and to offer sacrifices only if they cost us something dear.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What situations come to mind where you offered someone sound advice but the recipient decided to go his or her own way?
    2. Is there any sound advice that you have received which you are trying to overrule?
    3. What is the sacrifice that God is looking for from you today?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we acknowledge that you are the source of wisdom. We confess that we sometimes have our priorities wrong as we spend time counting our possessions instead of our blessings. Help us to listen to sound advice that reflects your wisdom.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Census workers

    Looking Ahead

    Bible 365 agenda for tomorrow: 1 Chronicles 23-26 (Different Gifts Ė One Body of Service)

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