Whom Will You Trust?

     Many stories are told in the Old Testament that lead readers to scratch their heads. One of these confounding tales is recorded in First Chronicles, chapter twenty-one. King David commanded Joab to take a census of Israel. The act was viewed by God as an affront. Ultimately, 70,000 Israelite’s lost their lives because of David’s sin.
      Interestingly, this wasn’t the first instance a census had been taken. More than a dozen censuses were conducted during the days of Joshua leading up to the reign of David without any problems. Then why was this occasion different?
     The answer comes in the first two verses of the chapter. Satan is cited as the one who tempted David to take the census from the outset. But Satan’s motive was revealed when Joab was named as the person who would conduct the census. Joab was the general of the Israelite army. By directing Joab to count the people, David’s true objective came to light. David wanted to know how many young men were eligible for military service.
     David previously had been assured by God that David would receive all the human resources David needed to fend off Israel’s enemies. Yet Satan sowed a seed of distrust in David’s heart. David’s lack of confidence in God’s fidelity prompted David to take a census that might confirm he would have enough manpower to protect the country.
     Distrust is a relationship breaker. David is the person who was described as a man after God’s own heart. Psalm 21:7 quotes David as saying, “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken” (NIV). God and David were tight. Most often, David was supremely confident in God’s promises. Yet in this instance of census taking, David hedged his bet on God. In the words of Ronald Reagan, David trusted, but at the same time he wanted to verify God’s devotion.
     Each of us experiences similar seasons of doubt, particularly when the circumstances appear not to be in our favor. But David’s transgression moved beyond doubt to disobedience. Recall that doubt is not the opposite of faith, disobedience is.
     I admit I have had many doubts about God presence and actions during this recent pandemic. I often have wondered where God is and what God is up to. However, my periods of uncertainty have not compelled me to stop worshiping or praying or searching for a word from God in Scripture. To take any of these actions would be an act of disobedience on my part.
     So, I continue to praise God despite the storm clouds that gather around me. I am keeping the ears of my heart open, so that the moment God speaks, I will be set to listen. And, I am maintaining a watchful eye in Scripture, so that when God sets for me a new course, I will be prepared to follow. I pray you may do the same.