Why was the Lord angry that David had taken the census? Sometimes, cross-references help us understand, and a parallel passage found in 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that "Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel."
What was wrong with taking a census? The Life Application Bible has some thoughts:
A census was commanded in Numbers to prepare an army for conquering the promised land (Numbers 1:2; 26:2). A census amounted to a draft or conscription for the army. The land was now at peace, so there was no need to enlist troops. Israel had extended its borders and became a recognized power. David's sin was pride and ambition in counting the people so that he could glory in the size of his nation and army, its power and defenses. By doing this, he put his faith in the size of his army rather than in God's ability to protect them regardless of their number. Even Joab knew a census was wrong, but David did not heed his advice. We sin in a similar way when we place our security in money, possessions, or the might of our nation. (p. 538)Thankfully, David realized his sin of pride and self-sufficiency and confessed his foolishness to God, but there was still a consequence for his sin.
The book of 2 Samuel closes with David's purchase of a very rich piece of real estate. He purchased the threshing floor on Mt. Moriah. Where have you heard of this before in the Bible Book Club? This is the place where Abraham offered up Isaac in Genesis 22! It will also become the future home of Solomon's temple. Stay tuned!
REFLECTION/APPLICATION (written in 2008)
Right now, we heard of four more families in our church who have been laid off from the second biggest employer in town. This makes eight families, one of which includes our family! Our money and possessions are all from the Lord, and we rely on Him.
The uncertainty of the US economy is another cause for concern. We can trust Him for that too.
What are you putting your security in right now, other than the Lord? Are you trying to be self-sufficient or is your sufficiency from the Lord?
2011 Update: George has been put in a job that puts him right in the center of the university where we have our ministry! God knew what He was doing once again!
2014 Update: The money for the university job dried up. Once again, God provided a wonderful job to replace that one. I think this makes the fourteenth job change in 24 years of marriage. :) Stay tuned!
Lord, thank You that You are the source of everything we need for life and godliness. Help us all to put our trust in You and not count the size of our "army" and put our security in it. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.