There have been a couple times in my life where I remember a census being taken. I paid little attention to it and it never seemed like a big deal. I understand the proposed reasons for a census but never saw it as inherently wrong or evil. For David, however, it was a different story.  In 2 Samuel 24 we read that David had a census taken. What is interesting is how negatively God viewed the taking of the census. Truth be told, we don’t know exactly why it was so wrong in God’s eyes. The Bible does not spell that out for us so we are left to do a little speculation on our part.
One of the most common lines of thinking, and the one to which I subscribe, is that the census was largely a military measure. The reason that David took the census was because he had some aspiration of achieving the top-billing among all the other nations. It was a pride issue and pride like that will always be a sin in God’s eyes.
You see, Israel was never called to political or military leadership among the other nations. They were called to be a witness to the redeeming activity of God. They were the recipient of God’s redeeming works and, ultimately, they would be the ones to share it with the rest of the world. God wanted Israel to have a missionary outlook but David seemed to be looking at his political aspirations instead. In short, David was not leading how God wanted him to lead.
Sometimes, I am tempted to be like David. We have thousands of people who call 2|42 home and it is really easy to get swept up in chasing numbers and to get consumed by the stats. But God did not call us to be a church where a lot of people walk through our doors. He called us to be a church where people have real encounters with the living God.
But it is not just pastors. We all do this at times. We all have moments in our lives where we begin to look toward worldly success and achievement rather than Kingdom impact. We are all tempted to give into the allure of pride and miss what God is really trying to do.
There are many things about David that we can aspire to but I don’t think story is one of them. David got caught up in things that actually took him away from God’s desires. It seemed innocent on the surface, but it was not what God wanted.
In what ways are you tempted to do what David did? In what ways to you let your pride get in the way of what God wants to do in your life?

Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you!
You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season.

About the Author: Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson is the lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church where he is helping people take next steps with God. Prior to his time at 2|42, Tony served for 15 years in various capacities within the Methodist denomination. He has degrees in broadcasting and marketing from Vincennes University and Ball State University, and he’s also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. Tony is passionate about helping people discover and embrace their God-given purpose and potential. In his spare time, you can find Tony cheering on the Miami Dolphins or camping and fishing with his family.

Subscribe to get the latest messages

Leave A Comment