In 2nd Samuel 24, verse 2, David finds time on his hands again, “So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army, who was with him, ‘Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.'”

This is a fascinating order considering that throughout David’s life, from the battle with Goliath to the victory over the Philistines,  God had clearly demonstrated that the victory was not by might nor by power, but by His own hand.  Since the census is obvious interpreted as God as being wrong (not all census’ are), most commentators feel that the wrong was the trust in military power that the census could have implied.

The Bible has numerous passages instructing all of us not to trust in man, wealth, riches, or numbers, but to but our faith in God. The Prophet Isaiah writes, “Woe to those who …depend on horses!  They trust in the number of chariots and in the great strength of charioteers.  They do not look to the Holy One of Israel and they do not seek the Lord’s help.” At the birth of the Prophet that anointed David, his mother sang about God, “He keeps the feet of His godly ones. But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.”

I like the phrase “the wicked ones are silenced in darkness.” In 1715 King Louis XIV of France died after a reign of 72 years. He had called himself “the Great,” and was the monarch who made the famous statement, “I am the state!” His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was equally spectacular. As his body lay in state in a golden coffin, orders were given that the cathedral should be very dimly lit with only a special candle set above his coffin, to dramatize his greatness. At the memorial, thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massilon began to speak; slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, “Only God is great.”

David forgot! God moved to teach him again. He’ll do that for us also.