And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” (2 Samuel 24:10)
The Heart Of David
Character comes from the heart and the Holy Spirit described the heart of David as one that was like the heart of God. Jesus taught His disciples that what comes out of a man is what dwells in the heart. If the heart is evil the spirit of the man will be evil and when a man has a good heart his character will show goodness. David, son of Jesse, was a man after God’s own heart and this is found repeatedly in his life. He had a heart of courage to face the giant, Goliath. His heart of humility recognized the rebuke of the Lord when Nathan came to him after the sin with Bathsheba. David did not argue about his sin but admitted that he had sinned against God and begged for mercy. Near the closing years of his life, it came to the heart of David to count the people to know the number of the nation. Joab, commander of the army, tried to dissuade the king from asking this thing but the king insisted. When the final count was made 800,000 valiant men drew the sword and the men of Judah were 500,000.
The numbering of Israel was a plan devised in a heart of pride and mistrust for the power of God. David was a righteous man plagued by the nature of sin. He knew that with little or many God would be able to win the victory. It did not matter how many men were ready to fight. The king had defeated the bear and the lion that came against his sheep when he was a young man. Goliath was killed because of one boy who stood in the Valley of Elah with the Lord God on his side. David had gained victory over his enemies through the will of the Father. The grace of God had forgiven David and Bathsheba of their grievous sins. Satan had succeeded in tempting the man of God to do something he knew was wrong.
After the census was completed, David had a change of heart. His conscience began to bother him. The heart tendered by the mercy of God acknowledged what he had done was sinful and David asked for forgiveness. He admitted what he did was a foolish thing. Repentance demands recognizing that sin is an affront against God and that only with a contrite heart will forgiveness be granted. Pride hardens the heart to believe that nothing was done that was wrong. The Lord did not come to David nor did Nathan the prophet. David was convicted by his own heart. He responded to the Lord in the spirit of humility seeking the favor of God because his heart was moved to please God.
Godly men make mistakes and righteous men have a heart willing to admit sin and seek the favor of God. Refusing to repent will not bring forgiveness. A heart like David will condemn actions against the will of the Lord. It seemed like a good idea at the time to number the people but after consideration within his heart, David realized his mistake. It is not easy for the human spirit to admit wrong. The true character of a Christian is to stand before the Lord and bare the soul with the honesty of sin’s influence and consequence. David’s heart condemned him. May more hearts be condemned.