1 Chronicles 21:1 — “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”
Distractions are a part of life. Sometimes distractions can be pleasant; and other times, annoying. But every once in a while distractions are devastating.
First Chronicles tells of a famous king of Israel. God chose David, a shepherd boy, to lead His people. David wasn’t perfect, but sought to do what God asked. His love for the Almighty gained him the title A man after God’s own heart. God blessed this king, gave him special promises, and spread his fame throughout the land.
The Chronicler chose to overlook some sordid details of David’s life, and yet did record a certain unplanned distraction that overtook the king. Two little words – “Then Satan” – precipitated the turning point for a scenario change. Satan distracted David from his God-focus by planting the idea to number the people in his mind. We don’t know exactly why this census was a bad idea, but likely David had turned his eyes away from God’s power and become focused on his own might.
Joab, the army captain, tried to dissuade the king from this mistake, but David was determined and went ahead with his plan. This distraction displeased God who stepped in to shift David’s focus back to where it belonged. He gave the king three choices: three years of famine; three months of warfare; or three days of pestilence. David chose the pestilence because he trusted God’s mercy over men’s.
Seventy thousand fell as a result, but when the angel of the Lord reached the city of Jerusalem, God showed mercy. At the Lord’s command David purchased a threshing floor and built an altar. God accepted David’s sacrifices and removed the plague.
David’s distraction in falling to Satan’s ploy caused 70,000 men of Israel to die. Yet the very place where David repented and God demonstrated mercy ultimately became the building site for the temple, the center of national worship.
Today distractions are still a problem. Many things can tap us on the shoulder and shift our focus away from the Lord. We may be seeking to follow God but “Then Satan” tempts us to rely on our personal strengths or character traits. Believing our ticket to success depends more on our talents than on God’s power, we strive to improve ourselves and calculate our net worth based on human standards.
All of us will experience a periodic distraction from time to time. But make sure you don’t lose your focus.
Don’t celebrate personal victories forgetting how the battles were won. They weren’t by your talents, strengths, or numbers, but only through the power of God.
Keep your focus on the Lord. This is the path to avoiding devastating distractions.
Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her messages to her children with Farm World. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com