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Minimum Impact

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 24

Scripture Focus: I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man. (2 Samuel 24.14)

Devotional Thought: Sometimes even godly leaders make mistakes. Against the advice of his military and spiritual leaders, David had decided to conduct a census. In this account, you could come away with the thought that God originated the idea of a census. In reality, God allowed it. You might read verse 1 as “OK. Go ahead and number Israel if you are intent on doing it.” Nowhere, in David’s defense, does he say to God, “You told me to do this!” (Reading the account in 1 Chronicles 21, will help bring understanding to your reading.)

Though censuses had been permitted in the past, for some reason what David did was displeasing to the Lord. We get some indication of why in verse 3: “Joab said to the king, ‘May the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see it, but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?’” It seems as though David was feeding his pride with this census.

The real lesson from this chapter, is David’s confession that it is better to fall into the hands of a merciful God than it is to trust your future destiny into the hands of chance or other people. David had come to know the mercies of God. He knew that what he had done was wrong, but he also knew the best way to right the wrong was to go directly to God in trust and confession. Yes, there would be consequences to his actions, as there are with all actions, but David knew that by going to God now he would minimize the negative impact of the consequences.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have the wisdom and humility to minimize the impact of my mistakes, by quickly confessing them and turning to you. Thank you for your great mercy! Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 106.13-18

13 But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel. 14 But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert; 15 he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.

16 When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord, 17 the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. 18 Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

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