Discover His Heart: He desires our complete trust in Him
“He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young man on the flying trapeze…” (G. Leybourne) When I was a young child, the Shrine Circus came to the Minneapolis auditorium every year, and it was a really big deal for me. Clowns and jugglers, elephants and tigers filled our eyes with excitement and courageous acts, but none of these were as death-defying as those daring young men and women on the flying trapeze. The flyers that impressed me the most were those few who worked without a net, soaring high above the crowd and trusting only in skill and precision. I’m fairly certain that I held my breath throughout the performance. What trust! In our reading today, David learned a painful lesson about trusting God and flying without a net.
@ 1 Chronicles 21
“Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab…‘Take a census of all the people of Israel…and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.’ But Joab replied…‘Why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?’ But the king insisted that they take the census.” (1-4)
What was so evil about taking a census? After all, Moses numbered the people. The census in Numbers 1 was not offensive to God because its purpose was to inform Moses of the size of his army, but the purpose for the census that David requested was for him to take pride and put trust in the size of his army. It seems to be human nature to trust God when He is all we have; but when His goodness produces armies, wealth and fame or just about anything meaningful to us, they often become the object of our trust. Obviously, this doesn’t please the Lord. “God was very displeased with the census, and He punished Israel for it.” (7)
One of the many problems with trusting in our nets is that when the net is taken away – the job is lost, the relationship ends or the home is gone – where, then, do we place our trust? The army was not David’s assurance of victory, God was His victory. For someone who took down a giant with a stone and a slingshot, this was definitely a detour. David was a great warrior, but he was human just like us, always looking for that safety net. Fortunately, David knew how to respond to God’s displeasure.
“Then David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing…I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong!’” (8,17) It was a repentant heart that took David from his numerous failures and sins to soar as the leader that God loved most. So sincere he was in his remorse that he would not offer his sacrifice of repentance on an altar that did not cost him something.
David replied to a generous offer from Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” (24) When we give to God something that belongs to someone else, it’s really not a gift from us. It’s a gift from someone else. There was a cost involved because of David’s disobedience, but God stopped the punishment from the angel’s sword when David repented. I don’t want anyone to suffer because of my lack of trust in God, but if I fail, I know how to respond.
When Satan comes around and tempts us to place our trust and security in a paycheck or a relationship or anything temporal, our best response is to put our trust in the Source rather than in the provision. In our trusting, like the daring young man with the greatest of ease, we will keep flying without a net.
Moving Forward: Trusting the One who keeps me soaring today.
Tomorrow @ Psalms 105-107