David instructed Joab to number the people. He tried to talk him out of it, but David insisted. God’s judgment came against Israel because of the numbering. David confessed that he sinned by taking the census. God offered David three options as judgement on his sin: seven years of famine, three months of his enemies winning in battle, or three days’ plague. David did not want to fall into the hands of other men. God sent the plague and about seventy thousand men died. The angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, and the Lord relented from His destruction. David was by the threshing floor of Araunah. David asked God to judge him and his house instead of the people of Israel.
David had been told by God years before not to count the people, for God knew that it could make David proud or depend on the shear numbers of the people for safety. God wanted him to trust in God only. David took the census anyway, and God judged the nation with a plague. Although we live in an age of grace today, and not many people choose to believe in the judgement of God, it is important to know that what you sow will come back to you. Don’t willingly disobey God. Listen to Him and avoid judgement, whether here or in eternity!