It all started when David took a census. Joab warned David that such a census would be sinful, most likely because it reflected a reliance on human strength in the form of a large standing army. The best explanation for this is that David asked Joab to include Levites in the army even though the law of God expressly ordered Israel to exclude Levites from a military census Num. Given that the devil is involved in at least some temptations to sin for believers 1 Cor. However, the parallel account of the event in 2 Samuel explains that God incited David to take the census.
Passages for Further Study
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Why did God discipline David after telling him to take the census in 2 Samuel 24? This seems wrong. The historical event is recorded in both 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles The 2 Samuel account provides us with the political view and 1 Chronicles provides us with the religious view. The accounts are somewhat different because of the different emphasis. We will visit the first verses of both passages later.
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But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?
Series: Question Box. As soon as David did it he, too, knew it was a sin. But, interestingly, the biblical account never explains why this was a sin. A census was preliminary to a draft of soldiers and a levying of taxes. This sin is repeated today when churches rely on marketing and salesmanship to gain success. There is nothing wrong with prudent surveys about how the church may better serve its people, or how practical matters may be improved. But when the church takes surveys of felt needs and desires so as to identify consumers and convert them into customers—paying customers, of course—by redesigning its worship and message, then, like David in his census, the church repudiates its reliance on God, places its own prowess in the place of his provision, denies the gospel by implication, and angers God so that he judges it and allows it to spiritually wither.