Strength in Numbers??
A Custom or Mannerism in the Bible Times
Read Time: 4 Minutes
Numbering the people in the East is looked down upon. According to Bishop K. C. Pillai regarding Eastern culture, counting the people is considered sinful because it leads one to rely on the strength of the number of people rather than God.
Even though a believer can be convinced of God's strength and His willingness to go to battle for him he can still be led astray. We see that with King David in I Chronicles 21. David knew first-hand the ability that God had to be his shield and buckler. He had seen God go to battle for him numerous times and save him from his enemies. Out of David's own mouth he sang a song to God in II Samuel 22.
II Samuel 22
:29 For thou art my lamp, O LORD:
and the LORD will lighten my darkness.
:30 For by thee I have run through a troop:
by my God have I leaped over a wall.
:31 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
:32 For who is God,
save the LORD?
and who is a rock,
save our God?
:33 God is my strength and power:
and he maketh my way perfect.
:34 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet:
and setteth me upon my high places.
[a very sure footed beast that sets it's hind feet exactly where it's front feet
have tested--let our front feet be on the Word of God]
David knew that it was by God's grace and His strength that David could do what he did. Yet he still got tricked. David wanted to number the people in his kingdom even though he was warned by Joab, King David's nephew, to not do so, it was an abomination. Joab reminded David that it was God that took care of Israel. Since David was king Joab had to do what he was told.
I Chronicles 21
:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
:2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people,
Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan;
and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
:3 And Joab answered,
The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be:
but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants?
why then doth my lord require this thing?
why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?
:4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab.
Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.
:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David.
And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword:
and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.
:6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them:
for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.
:7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. [see Idiom of Permission]
:8 And David said unto God,
I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing:
but now, I beseech thee,
do away the iniquity of thy servant;
for I have done very foolishly.
David recognized his error, he had succumbed to the suggestion of Satan rather than trusting in God. He was looking at the facts, what he could ascertain by his five senses, instead of putting his complete trust in God.
Many in positions of power through the centuries have made decisions influenced by Satan and contrary to God's will which has caused much hardship, death, and destruction. However, the born-again children of God can be victorious in all situations because the one in authority over us is God Almighty. We are able, by God's grace and mercy, to stand and withstand the evil in this day and time. We do not have to succumb to the effects of ungodly rulers and powers. The head of the body is Christ and the head of Christ is God, and it is God in Christ in us, therein lies our authority and power.
King David's mistake was harboring the thought that Satan put in his head to number the people. He should have rested in the knowledge that he could trust in God for everything. Today, it does not matter what our earthly possessions consist of. It doesn't matter what our retirement funds consist of or if we have a job. We can trust in God for all things from now on and forever. God's Word never fails.
:2 My help cometh from the LORD,
which made heaven and earth.
:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
:5 The LORD is thy keeper:
the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
:7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil:
he shall preserve thy soul.
:8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth,
and even for evermore.