Summary: David, Pt. 14
LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR OF REALITY (2 SAMUEL 24
Domino’s founder Tom Monaghan is a colorful and controversial character. He made his fortune after eight years of hard work in pizza delivery but squandered it all on an expensive lifestyle. At the height of his success, he bought the Detroit Tigers baseball team, collected pricey Bugatti autos, Frank Lloyd drawings and artifacts, and purchased a dream ranch in Ann Arbor, where herds of buffalos roamed. He struggled for years to rebuild his lost empire and sold his family’s 90% stake in the business after he finally turned it around.
Monaghan then decided to spend his money on charity instead of on himself. A devout Catholic, he opened a mission in Honduras and supervised the construction of a cathedral in Nicaragua. On the local front, he bankrolled Catholic elementary schools in Ann Armor, Michigan, and a Catholic liberal arts college in nearby Ypsilanti.
The pizza mogul attributed his spending spree to compensation for his mother abandoning him at the age of four to foster homes and an orphanage, but his extravagances and toys did not make him happy. Monaghan confessed, “Most of the time I was buying things to get attention, to have people notice me. That’s the sin of pride, the worst sin of all, and I’m the guiltiest person.” (“A tale of pizza, pride and piety,” Time 10/26/98)
The last thing David did in 2 Samuel was to number the army. Readers are not told why he did so but pride seems to be the major reason. Also, no one has figured out the discrepancy between the record in the parallel passages of 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 – whether God or Satan incited David to call the census.
What is antidote or answer to pride? Why does pride make a man do foolish things? What can we do to prevent the sin of pride?
Be Realistic – You Cannot Fool People
1 Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” 2 So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.” 3 But Joab replied to the king, “May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?” 4 The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel. (2 Sam 24:1-4)
A stockbroker was cold calling about a penny stock and found a taker. “I think this one will really move,” said the broker, “it’s only $1 a share.” “Buy me 1000 shares.” said the client.
The next day the stock was at $2. The client called the broker and said, “You were right, give me 5,000 more shares.” The next day the client looked in the paper and the stock was at $4.
The client ran to the phone and called the broker, “Get me 10,000 more shares.” “Great!” said the broker.
The next day the client looked in the paper and the stock was at $9. Seeing what a great profit he had in just a few days, the client ran to the phone and told the broker, “Sell all my shares!” The broker said, “To whom? You were the only one buying that stock.
Tony Campolo says, “Pride is arrogant self-worship.” (Tony Campolo, 7 Deadly Sins 74).
David lived in his own world. His head was in the clouds and he was building his own ivory towers. He did not listen to anyone, discuss with anyone or seek for advice. Words fell on deaf ears. In fact, he was preoccupied with trivial pursuit, stroking his ego and feeding his pride. He couldn’t get unstuck.
Bible scholars were befuddled by what David did what he did. Was it for taxation or military purpose? Was he counting heads to see how much income he can add to the king’s coffers? Was he preparing for a huge military exercise? Or was it because he had nothing to do that he resorted to counting numbers? David had no reason to spend so much time, energy, money and resources, mainly because no enemies or nations were threatening him.
Joab, David’s general, and the generals (v 2) tried to talk him out of numbering the troops, shaking their heads in utter disbelief and detestation (1 Chron 21:6). David did more than overruled Joab and the army commanders’ protest (v 4). The word used is “prevailed” in Hebrew, or strengthening and fortifying his stand - the same word for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart against Moses (Ex 7:13, 22, 8:19, 9:12, 9:35, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:8). David didn’t care even if could not answer the general’s question (v 3): Why is it so important to the king? What was eating the king? The commanders of the army, too, weighed in on the problem and cautioned David in vain. Nobody knew what pushed his buttons. Even the priestly Levitical tribe was not spared the draft (1 Chron 21:6). The logistics of the job were mind-boggling. Along with Joab, the commanders were the highest ranking officers in David’s army. In other armies, they would have sole charge of the army (1 Sam 12:9, 17:55). They couldn’t stand by and say nothing, but their words, too, fell on deaf ears. David went solo. He was adamant on doing things his way. He was too big to agree on anything, accept any advice or allow for differences.