Summary: From this story I believe we can learn how to avoid prideful rebellion against God and His Word.
David’s Great Sin
1. What if I were to ask you, “What was David’s great sin”, what would you say? Your answer would probably have something to do with his adultery with Bathsheba or his murder of Urriah. Actually it was neither one. It is found here in our text.
2. David numbered the children of Israel. He basically conducted a census. You are thinking, “What is so bad about that?” Two things we need to understand:
• First, God had instructed Israel under the law that when they took a census, every man was to give “the redemption money” as an offering to the Lord. This was not done. God’s Word was completely ignored. Exodus 30:11-16
• Second, David’s pride was what led him to number the people. David had won a number of great victories and he wanted to bask in the glory of his successes. This national census was for his glory, not God’s glory. Vs. 2 – “That I may know…”
3. David’s heart was full of prideful rebellion. Do you remember what God told Saul when he was full of pride and rebelled against God? 1 Samuel 15:23
4. After David’s sin of adultery and murder he said, “I have sinned.” These were sins of the flesh. But after David’s prideful rebellion in numbering the people, he said, “I have sinned greatly.” These were wicked, premeditated sins of the heart.
5. Truly this was David’s greatest sin. His sin with Bathsheba was a family matter with only a few involved. In this sin here in our text, 70,000 people died because of David’s prideful rebellion against God.
6. From this story I believe we can learn how to avoid prideful rebellion against God and His Word.
First, by understanding that we never outgrow temptation
1. We may outgrow diapers, a pacifier, a little red wagon, and a tricycle, but we never outgrow temptation.
2. 1 Chronicles 21 gives to us a parallel account of this story. Notice vs. 1-2. Satan provoked David and David fell prey to Satan’s deceptions.
3. David was not an inexperienced youth when this happened. He was a seasoned soldier of the Lord that had walked many miles with the Lord and won great victories for God.
4. If we’re not careful, we can get kind of cocky and start thinking that we are good Christians and how lucky God and the church is to have us. That can change quickly. David found this out, didn’t he?
5. Think about these verses – 1 Corinthians 10:12, Proverbs 16:18, 28:26 (If Satan can’t get you with outward fleshly temptations, he’ll try and wiggle his way into your heart – your thinking processes). Peter later wrote to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Second, by listening to the wise counsel of others
1. Joab and the captains in David’s army tried to warn David and advised him against this. Vs. 3-4, 1 Chronicles 21:3-4
• Joab, himself, was a very self-willed, rebellious sort of guy, but yet he knew that this would only lead to problems and tried to dissuade David from doing it.
2. Bottom line - David was too prideful and stubborn to listen to anybody.
4. Sometimes we are convinced that we are doing the right thing, but it is not right, and we need to listen to others. Proverbs 12:15, 9:8
Third, by reminding ourselves of sin’s consequences (vs. 10-15)
1. Sin brings misery, pain, corruption, and death. This is an eternal principle that will never be proven wrong.
• Romans 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death…”
• Romans 8:6 – “For to be carnally mind is death…”
• Romans 8:13 – “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die…”
• Galatians 6:8 – “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption…”
• James 1:15 – “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”
2. We know that sin carries serious eternal consequences for the lost person who is without Christ. They will suffer the consequence of eternal death and damnation from the presence of the Lord.
3. But sin also carries consequences for the saved person as well (most of the verses we read were written to saved people). David knew the Lord, yet his sin brought tragic consequences.
4. Oh the pain, guilt, and excruciating burden David must have felt as 70,000 men lost their lives and David knew that his rebellion and disobedience to God had caused it. David should have contemplated sin’s consequences before he rebelled.