ADMITTING our mistakes before God brings DELIVERANCE: And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly." (2 Sam 24:10) Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, "Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father's house." (2 Sam 24:17)
The act of numbering the people was not in itself sinful; for Moses had done it earlier under God’s command and direction not once but twice that we read in Numbers chapters 1 and 26. However, King David ordered a census without God’s express permission. His motives for this might have been pride, self-confidence and distrust of God. He may have wanted to confirm whether he had a sufficiently strong army for further military conquest. The act of taking a census of the Israelites was a breach of God’s law which required that Israel should continue a separate people different from other people.
On the other hand, we read that it was God Himself who instigated David to number the Israelites because He was angry with the people of Israel. Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah." (2 Sam 24:1) For the sin of the Israelites David was prompted to act wrongly for which the Israelites were punished. This incident shows us how God governs the world, and brings out a useful lesson as well. The pride of David's heart was his sin in numbering the people. He was trusting in an arm of flesh more than he should have done in trusting God alone. God looks at sin differently than us. What appears to us harmless, or, a small offence may be a great sin in the eye of God, who discerns the very thoughts and intents of the heart. David’s eyes were not opened to the gravity of his sin till God had spoken unto him by His commissioned prophet Gad.
From this incident we can note that admitting our mistakes before God brings deliverance to us. When we humble ourselves and admit to God that we were wrong, we are shifting from pride (that God hates) to humility (that God desires from His children). Let us acknowledge our sins before God and allow God to bring a healing and deliverance in our lives. Let us join with King David as he acknowledged his sins before God: "For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight-- that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge." (Psalms 51:3-4)