Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015 “Don’t Count On It”

“Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”…Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (1 Chronicles 21: 1-2, 8)

Good Morning God-Trusting friends!

Almost daily in my e-mail spam folder (for the uninformed, spam mail is the term given to bogus and deceptive claims, offers and scams that are sent to your e-mail address), I receive notices of benefactors unknown to me, (usually from the country of Nigeria) who desire to share their wealth with me, asking for my personal information and bank account number so the windfall may be sent to me quickly. Sometimes, the claim is that some government official died leaving behind an estate worth millions. Others claim that they were funds seized by someone in the military serving in Afghanistan. Still others are from a person ostensibly succumbing to a terminal illness who wants a “goodhearted charitable individual” to help him or her bless others with the millions they have accumulated in this life. I calculate that were these legitimate claims, by now I would have inherited wealth equal to that of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates combined! Would I, or anyone else for that matter, ever see any of these alleged funds? As the old Magic 8 ball from childhood used to reveal when asked…Don’t count on it!

Though I recognize that none of these claims are legitimate, I did a little imagining and I began to calculate what I could do with such largess. I could pay off bills, bless family and friends, contribute to churches I have served and am serving. I could buy my wife a nice house close to the kids and grand-kids and get her the car she desires. After all that, I would still have hundreds of millions left. I’d be set for life! That’s something of how my thoughts took me. Then I read this passage from 1st Chronicles. David had ordered a census. He wanted to know how many fighting men were at his disposal to do battle with the hated Philistines. Now as reasonable as that sounds, David’s sin was that he wound up putting his trust in numbers rather than in God. In fact, we read that this census taking idea was really concocted by the Father of Lies, Satan himself, and David fell for it. David’s adviser and chief military commander Joab understood this, reminding the king, ‘May the lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord, the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?’  Joab understood that Israel’s success did not depend on the size of the army, but in God’s provision.  David, though he had witnessed God’s provision many times, overruled Joab, putting his trust in numbers rather than in God. Later, realizing his sin (which incidentally even caused Joab to sin by giving David a false census report), he cries out to the Lord,I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” 

   For all I know, You may, in fact, someday come into a great deal of unexpected wealth, and we will all join in the celebration of your good fortune, but remember, our salvation is not in our bank account. It is not found in statistics. Don’t “count on it“, as David did. Our salvation, our protection, our very lives, are in the hand of our gracious Lord. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” Let’s pray!

Generous, gracious God,  Our greatest desire is to put our complete trust in You. You feed the birds of the air. You clothe the lilies of the field. We are worth much more to you than birds and flowers. May we learn to trust in your provision for all of life’s circumstances, for you alone are the giver of every good and perfect gift. We don’t want to be stupid, but wise and turn to you daily for what we need for each new day, as you have instructed us. Thank you for your gracious care. Amen

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