1 Chronicles 21:1-3, John 5:17-19

( [email protected] ) Nov 21, 2005 02:46 PM EST

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are." But Joab replied, "May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord's subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?" (1 Chronicles 21:1-3 NIV)

David’s kingdom was established and blessed. His enemies were subdued and paying tribute. When the spiritual enemy could not attack from without, he attacked from within. Satan can inspire men to attack the people of God. When that fails he will try to corrupt the people of God with ungodly ideas.

What was so evil about numbering the people? David had already learned again and again that the victory was not about superior forces but the blessing and leading of God. Numbering the nation was a way to count on his resources in the event that God was not with them. What does it matter how many men you have prepared for battle if God is not with you? This is contrary to lesson upon lesson that God has shown David. Even Joab, the commander of the army knew this was a mistake.

Joab got to the point when he said, “May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over.” It was not just a census on David’s heart, but able bodied men. He pleaded with the king not to go through with this sin, but the king did not listen. Have you experienced a friend or loved one pleading with you not to go through with something because they knew it was not of God, and yet you would not listen? There is always a big price to pay when we do that. Recognize spiritual attacks and consider the well-meaning advice of godly friends. (continued)


Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:17-19 NIV)

There are two main lines of thought in regard to rest and work. Some believe that God’s seventh day of rest is ongoing to the present. They believe God does not actively intervene in the world today but allows the natural laws He established to guide all things. A careful look at Scripture, even the Old Testament alone, shows that this is not true. He sets up kings and removes kings. He comforts the downcast and all who turn to Him. He answers the call of all who cry out to Him, and takes the wicked down a dark path.

Jesus declared the Father is always at work and that He was too. In the original language and setting, this was a clear declaration of His equality with God. He had broken their manmade interpretations of God’s law, and He called God His Father. Those who say that Jesus never claimed to be God have not studied the reaction of the religious establishment in Jesus’ day.

Then Jesus, our example in all things, made a very amazing claim. He said He did nothing by Himself. Incredible! He only did what He saw the Father doing. He listened and watched to see where His Father was at work and did what His Father was doing. That would make His actions entirely faultless. If Jesus had the need to live in this manner, how much more do we, who are not God, need to act only when we see the Father at work? The passage goes on to say that the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He does. Does the Father not love you? If we will watch with discerning eyes, with recognition of how much we need His guidance, will He not also show us what He is doing and invite our participation?

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