Summary: Pride is the greatest sin and contributor to sin. We see this in David and in our own lives.

Introductory Considerations

1. Today we look at a very interesting passage. On the surface may seem a just a historical event that has little to teach us today. It is the story of what may well be David’s greatest sin, at least in regards to the consequences.

2. Last week considered David’s sin of committing adultery with Bathsheba and then killing Uriah. As a result the child Bathsheba bore died and God said that there would be calamity in David’s house forever, including the rebellion of his son Absalom.

3. But the sin that David commits in this passage led to the death of 70,000 Israelites and would have been greater had it not been for David’s penitence.


1. First verse may seem strange to us. God was angry at Israel - why?

a. Not told but perhaps because they were not appreciative to what God had given them through David.

b. Some had joined Absalom and later Sheba in rebelling against David.

c. Probably because they lived in peace and plenty, this made them secure and sensual and this displeased God.

d. Good incited David against them - KJV - He moved D. against them

e. To number the fighting men would be an indication that perhaps David was going to conscript them all to fight and thereby upset their peace and security

2. If what David was doing was wrong, a sin, why did God move him to sin? Is God the cause of sin?

a. God moved David to do what was already in his heart. The sin is there already and God is not the author of sin - God does not cause sin to happen.

b. Nor would it seem right to punish David for sin that God Himself caused him to commit.

c. By moving the sin of heart to be acted upon God makes the sinner see his sin and how bad the sin is and thereby lead him to repentance. We see this in verse 10 - David was conscience-stricken after the count had been taken and reported to him.

3. David seems not to realize how great a sin this really is.

a. Joab does and so Joab urges him to not take the census. In his objection we can see what the sin is.

b. "Don’t count the size of your army" "May God increase it 100 times over but don’t count it"

c. The sin was the sin of pride.

4. This pride would have affected Him in two ways.

a. It was a proud conceit of his own greatness in having the command of so numerous a people, as if their increase, which was to be ascribed purely to the blessing of God, as Joab suggested, had been his own accomplishment

b. It was a proud confidence in his own strength. By letting other nations know the number of the people, he would appear stronger and they would be less apt to want to fight him.

5. David was relying on human power and might rather than on God Himself.

6. Sin was not apparent to David until the count was finished after 9 months and 20 days and the results were reported - 800K in Israel and 500K in Judah - total of 1.3 million able-bodied fighting men.

7. David knew his sin - his pride. He was grief-stricken and asked God to take away this great sin from him.

8. Despite repentance, God still punished David and the people for their sin as well.

a. Even when truly sorry for our sins there are still consequences.

b. Consequences that God brought served to lead David to even greater repentance and sorrow for his sins.

9. God gave him 3 choices - 3 years of famine or 3 months of fleeing from his enemies or 3 days of plague.

a. David chose last - perhaps because it was the shortest or perhaps as some suggest that he would rather be subject to God rather than his enemies.

b. When David saw how 70,00 people were struck down and how the angel was about to strike those in Jerusalem - were many lived, he asked God to punish him and his house rather than the people.

c. He knew that he had to take personal responsibility for his sin.

d. Instead of simply stopping, God told David to build an altar and make sacrifice at that place were the angel stopped the bringing the plague.

e. Notice how David would not receive the threshing floor as a gift but insisted on paying for it. (v. 24). A sign again of him taking personal responsibility.

f. Also a sign of brokenness that would remove his pride from him.

10. Perhaps the greatest sin that we can commit against God is the sin of pride -for it is nothing that stops us from knowing Him and having fellowship with Him more than.

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