Ellen G. White Writings

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Beginning of the End, Page 377

A Man After God’s Own Heart

This chapter is based on 2 Samuel 24; 1 Kings 1; 1 Chronicles 21; 28; 29.

Absalom’s overthrow did not bring peace at once. So much of the nation had joined in revolt that David would not return to his capital and take up the kingship again without an invitation from the people. There was no prompt, firm action to return the king, and when the tribe of Judah finally set about to bring David back, the action stirred up the jealousy of the other tribes. A counterrevolution followed, but it was quickly put down, and peace returned to Israel.

Dangers from power, riches, and worldly honor threaten the soul. God had designed that David’s early life—with a shepherd’s lessons of humility, patient toil, and tender care for his flocks; with the scenes of nature in the solitude of the hills directing his thoughts to the Creator; with the long discipline of his wilderness life—would prepare him for the throne of Israel. And yet worldly success and honor weakened the character of David so much that he was overcome by the tempter.

David Falls Again to the Sin of Pride

Dealings with heathen peoples led to a desire to follow their national customs and awakened ambition for worldly greatness. To extend his conquests, David determined to increase his army by requiring military service from all who were of proper age. To make this happen, he needed to take a census of the population. Pride and ambition prompted this action. The numbers would show the contrast between the weakness of the kingdom when David came to the throne and its strength and prosperity under his rule. The Scripture says, “Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” The prosperity of Israel under David had been due to the blessing of God, but increasing the kingdom’s military resources would give surrounding nations the impression that Israel’s trust was in her armies, not in Jehovah.

The people of Israel did not approve of David’s plan for greatly extending military service. The proposed census caused a lot of dissatisfaction, so military officers were used in place of the priests and magistrates who had formerly taken the census. The purpose was

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