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1 Chronicles Chapter 21 (ESV)


1 Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” 3 But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” 4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. 5 And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. 6 But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.


7 But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. 8 And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 9 And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’”



  1. David brought major disaster as he numbered Israel because the numbering this time was different from the one recorded in Numbers (cf Num 1-2). At that time God told Moses to do a population census while at this time David’s motive was to boast about his strong military power. When David wanted to clearly master his military power, he started to rely on his own military strength rather than relying on God. It was not unlawful for David to number Israel but his motive was wrong. He was proud of his military power but forgot that the real power is from God. As from David’s example, an action itself may not be wrong but it is a great sin if the motive is out of greed, arrogance, and selfishness. Today we should learn from David’s mistake and reflect on our motive when we are serving in the church.
  2. When David knew about his sin, he confessed it and asked for God’s forgiveness. Many people only want to receive God’s blessing but refuse to confess their sins before God. We should be like David, bearing responsibility for our mistakes and repenting of our sin. Only that will bring God’s forgiveness and allow God to continue to work in us. Reflect whether you have some obvious sin that you refuse to confess? How should you learn from David to humbly confess your sin and bear the responsibility?



With courage and humbleness, come before God and confess a sin that you refuse to confess. Ask God to continue to work in you and mold your life, so that you will become more submissive and obedient to God’s will.