Today the emphasis has moved off of God’s laws and onto praise ans worship – a lot like the life of King David (who God called a man after His own heart). David loved God, he loved praise and worship, he left the Bible study and the rules to the priests. Not understanding all of God’s law and not properly applying the laws he did understand caused him a lot of grief.
Take the story of David and the census in 2 Samuel 24 and again in 1 Chronicles 21, David is provoked (incited) to take a census of the fighting men in Israel. When the census was completed, God judged Israel and David had to choose the punishment that they would suffer. But what was so wrong about taking a census. The Book of Numbers is all about the census of Israelites at the time, so just taking a census can’t be the issue.
Exodus 30: 11-12 (NIV) says, Then the Lord said to Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them." (See Exodus 30:11-16 for the full regulation.)
If you put the two sections of scripture together, it looks like David hadn’t collected the atonement money from the fighting men. However, online research shows Jewish thought is very different.
The Chabad website1 says,
Some say that King David certainly did not forget the prohibition, and he, . . . counted the Jews indirectly; the problem was that he performed the count simply to satisfy his own curiosity, and not for a specific purpose. Counting Jews without a purpose is forbidden even if done indirectly.2
In explanation of why counting is forbidden, the Chabad website says,
. . . when the Jews are in a state of unity, they are connected to their Source and do not need added protection. When they are counted as individuals, they become "separated" and are subject to individual scrutiny.
Tuck this thought away: Are we Christian in America protected by a 'state of unity'?
Another example of acting without understanding God’s regulations regarding how things needed to be done is found in 2 Samuel 6:1-15, which is the story of David’s first attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. But an even better example of acting in error and suffering concequenses is found in 2 Chronicles, when King Hezekiah called all of Israel and Judah to come to Jerusalem to celebrate passover. 2 Chron. 30:18-20 says:
18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
Today we understand that there are universal principles in place. We understand that universal principles exist whether we understand them or not. We are subject to them and when we go against them, we suffer consequences. It’s the same with God’s law as given in the Bible. There are laws that God set in place for our understanding and protection. When we follow them, we’re blessed. When we go against them, even when we are doing what we think will please God, we suffer.
But this is especially relevant to us today, even if we consider ourselves to love God and if we love God’s word and if we are studying to understand God's laws.
In the book, The End of America3, John Price points out:
The final stage of the Church, described as the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3: 14-19) is not a very winsome description of a rich, self-indulgent church, neither hot nor cold for the Lord, which thinks it has no need of anything, but is in reality, “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”
…one of the key problems with the end times Church of Laodicea is that the Church is “blind.” If the American church is part of the church of Laodicea, and there are multiple reasons to conclude that we are, and we are therefore “blind,” it is clear that we won’t even see, let alone understand, our true spiritual condition. How can we see what we have become if we [a]re “blind”?
Do you see the blindness God is talking about? I see it in myself. And I know I’m not alone. Following are a few examples from my own life:
I was raised that the full Old Testament laws don’t apply to us today, and that we have liberty within our obedience of those laws. As I have come to understand the error of this thinking, I changed a few of my habits. My first change was to stop eating pork. I hadn’t even changed my diet, because I almost never eat pork (just on pizza, mainly), yet God broke my addiction to ice cream. The regular craving I had for it just dissappeared. So I have wondered if my recent ability to stop eating sweets might be a ‘reward’ for yeilding another area of my life to God’s laws. I don’t know. I don’t expect things like this when I simply agree to live the way God commands me to live, but in life responsibility usually brings privileges, so why wouldn’t it be that way spiritually too?
Do you remember the old TV show, Scarecrow and Mrs. King? Do you remember how wicked Francine Desmond was when it first came out? Watching it now, I didn’t see the big deal; she seemed okay to me. Wow! A character that was considered a selfish, egotist seems normal by today's standards.
In John Bevere’s latest study on the Holy Spirit, he mentions how offended the Holy Spirit was when he watched a murder scene in a movie, a movie he had already watched and had previously not felt any offense to the Spirit, How many things do we allow in our lives as normal that are really blinding us because they are putting a wedge between us and the Holy Spirit?
Note that these are personal examples that don't touch on God's love for the poor, desire to see the lost saved, or any of the "bigger" concerns of God, that at least I tend to forget in my efforts to get through this life.
So, what can we do? A very familiar verse holds the key: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways . . .” This verse isn’t to the unsaved; it isn’t to whatever church group we like to point at and say they aren’t saved; it isn’t to someone who swears when I don’t. This verse is to God’s people who are called by God’s name, so this verse is to me, and to you.
In Nehemiah 1:5-7, Nehemiah prays:
Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
This godly man identified himself as one of the sinners who disobeyed God’s laws. I have since figured out that there is no level of spirituality where you can’t say this, but that he would humble himself to say it to God and document it for posterity says a lot to me and hopefully to you too.
Please take a moment to consider the following questions, then prayerfully do something about it:
Do you know what God wants?
Have you ever been convicted about something one time, and then not later, or vice versa?
Have you ever honored a conviction in one area and been blessed in another?
2 Nachmanides ibid.
3 The End of America – The Role of Islam In The End Times And Biblical Warnings To Flee America by John Price