I Chronicles 21:8
And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
My first thought when I read that prayer of David’s was, “Wow… how many times have I said that?” Only mine was more along the lines of “Oh God, I’m so stupid!” But it was just a little sin, right? All David did was count his people, it really does sound harmless; but the problem with that is, nothing that God tells us “not” to do is harmless and without repercussions. As I type that I think about my life and all the things I know He’s told me not to do and I did them anyway. In the words of that famous comedian “The devil made me do it.” No, he suggested I do it, and I said, “Okay.” Satan made the suggestion to David as well in verse 1 of this chapter when we read “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” And David said, “Okay.”
It was not the numbering that bothered God, it was the pride of David’s heart. David was numbering the people because he wanted to know his assets and just exactly what it was he’d be bragging about around the water cooler on Monday morning. “His” assets, not God’s. He wasn’t viewing the people as a blessing, he was viewing them as his own accomplishment. What exactly is it that causes us to say “okay” when Satan gives us a really bad idea. Pride. When I go off on my own without God’s approval, I’m pretty much telling God that I can do it by myself. That always works so well for me… NOT!
When I think about all the bad decisions I’ve made, they all boil down to pride and my repentance was necessary but it usually didn’t stop the cause and effect. Seventy thousand men died in Israel because of David’s pride. That’s how serious God is about it. So what are we to do when those “Oh God, I’m stupid moments” come upon us? Make yourself an altar and wait for the fire to fall from Heaven.
1 – Get’r done.
David didn’t have the time to go to Gibeon where he generally made an offering, he wanted to get this issue resolved quickly! Don’t hesitate and delay getting it right with God. It only prolongs the inevitable and leaves you out of the will of God that much longer. Scary!
2 – God wants to see sacrifice
He bought an area from Ornan the Jebusite to build the altar. Ornan offered to give it to him, but David refused his philanthropy and paid the price. Ornan offered to give David the meat offering as well and David responded “Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.”
God doesn’t need our sacrifice, be it monetarily or materialistically, but it shows we’re serious. It shows that we’re putting nothing between our relationship with Him.
3 – Get ready to receive His blessing
26 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.
David had messed up, he knew it and he wanted to do everything in his power to make it right, but there came a time when he had to wait again for God to say He was pleased. God answered from heaven by fire. It’s no different today. We know when we’ve finally made it right with God when we feel that fire in our soul.
I pray the “Oh God, I’m stupid” prayer far more often than I should. Once is more often than I should. But I am ever so glad that God takes care of stupid people. Amen!