READ: 1 Chronicles 20-22
THINK: Have you noticed how people tend to look to God when things are tough or troublesome, but they tend to disregard God when things go smoothly and successfully? That's a natural human tendency. God knows it (though He doesn't excuse it), and the devil knows it, too-and he tries to exploit that tendency by turning it into temptation. He waits until people are most vulnerable-often when things seem to be going great. People's defenses drop and spiritual focus fades because they don't sense a big need to depend on God. Instead, they revert to relying on themselves, which leads to excessive worry about their weakness and arrogance about their accomplishments. They take credit that belongs to God. Don't let this happen to you. Never forget your true Source of strength and success.
RESPOND: Why do you think Satan wanted David to count the fighting men? What does this situation reveal about how Satan operates, when he's likely to attack, and temptations he uses? (See 21:1 note.) Why was the census offensive to God, and what did it reveal about attitudes that had started to take hold among the people? (See 21:7 and 21:8 notes.) Though David recognized his sin and repented, why did God still enact punishment? (See 21:14 note.) Why did David prefer to "fall into the hands of the LORD" (21:13) rather than into the hands of men? Why did God stop the angel from doing further destruction? (See 21:15 note.) What does 21:17 reveal about David's character? Why did David refuse Araunh's property at no cost (21:23-24)? What can you learn from David's example in this situation? Though David knew he wouldn't build the temple, why did he make extensive preparations before his death (22:5)? (See 22:11 note.) What did David ask God to give Solomon as he became king (22:12-13)?
PRAY: Pray that you'll resist selfish pride and the temptation to rely on your own abilities and accomplishments. Ask God to help you do your best and depend on Him for success.
ACT: Are you doing anything for selfish or prideful reasons? Are you in any way relying on yourself rather than God? If so, repent and start doing the right thing for the right reason. Give something extra-beyond your original intention-to missions through your church or youth ministry. Give to God some of what you might spend on other things, such as snacks or music downloads.
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