Friday – May 24, 2024

2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4

by Kelli Simpkins

“Then David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.’” 1 Chronicles 21:8

We all have things that just irk us for some reason. Mine is the phrase “Look what you made me do.” Not when it’s a lighthearted response to a small incident, like spilling a drink and accepting help from the person who bumped into you. To me, it becomes problematic when it’s used as an excuse for bad behavior.

You see, someone might make us feel some kind of way, but they can’t make us act on those feelings. The way we behave is a choice and reflects our true nature. In the account found in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21, David was “incited” to take a census. 2 Samuel attributes this to God, but 1 Chronicles attributes it to Satan. This feels contradictory. So, who made David sin? No one made him; he chose to sin.

God will never tempt us to sin (James 1:13), but he will allow the temptation. David chose to give in to the lure of Satan by conducting a census that was more about his own motivations than out of obedience to God. To his credit, David owned up to his sin and didn’t blame anyone but himself. Once again, God gave David a choice: what would his consequence be?

When faced with the consequences of our actions, I hope we can own it as David did here. That we can then humble ourselves before God, repent, and accept his gift of grace. In addition, I pray we can then use that lesson as part of our testimony to show fellow sinners that there is freedom and hope on the other side of guilt and shame.