Bible Study 36 David Counts the Fighting Men

Step 1:  Opening and Introduction to the lesson – Personal Testimonies from last week’s study and Reflection:  When you were first learning math, what did you use:  Computers?  Calculators?  Adding machines?  Slide rules?  Abacus?  Fingers?  Did your parents ever make you choose your consequences?  What difficult choices do you remember making?  

Step 2:  Hear – Read:  David Counts the Fighting Men:  2 Samuel 24:1-17.

Step 3:  Explore – Discover the Passage

  1. This story presents many theological and ethical problems, as we seek insights into David’s dilemma.  What prompted David’s request to take a census (vv. 1-2):  God’s anger?  Satan’s ruse (see 1 Ch 21:1?  David’s pride?  David’s insecurity?  Some external threat? 
  • What does your answer above say about who lies behind evil acts (see Jas 1:13-15)?  How could a man after God’s own heart be duped by Satan?  As for the census itself (vv. 5-9); what’s involved in terms of time, money and manpower? 
  •   Why is David so conscience-stricken (v. 10)?  Is taking a census always wrong, sinful or a foolish waste of human resources (see Nu 1:2-3; 26:2-4)?  Didn’t the Lord ultimately direct him to do so (v. 1)?
  • If the Lord did ask David to take the census, then why the subsequent punishment (vv. 11-17)?  Why three options?  And why punish the people for something David ordered?
  • Is God working at cross-purposes when he grieves over the punishment inflicted on Israel by his own angel (v. 16)?  

Step 4:  Connect – Apply the Passage:

  1. In what ways are you proud of your accomplishments, acquisitions or responsibilities?  Behind the proud image you show the world, are you also insecure?
  • Where are you tempted to lean upon the strength of your superior assets rather than in weakness depend on God?
  • Though you may have prayed for strength in order to achieve great things for God, where has God made you weak, that you might learn to humbly obey him?

Step 5:  Reflect:  I have sinned greatly in what I have done.  Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant.  I have done a very foolish thing.