“Failure Without a Period”
“Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to a take census of the people of Israel…
God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it…
And David said to God, ‘I am the one who called for the census! A am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O LORD my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.’”
1 Chronicles 21:1, 7, 17
Isn’t it strange how often our biggest failures follow our greatest victories? David took a census the year after a great victory over Philistine giants. But I’ve often wondered why God was so displeased with that census. After all, in the wilderness, GOD had directed Moses to number the fighting men.
If taking a census was not a matter of breaking a law, then perhaps it was a matter of breaking God’s heart. David had always trusted GOD to give him power over his enemies, but when he insisted on numbering his vast army, I wonder if that trust had shifted from God’s power to his own military power. Could it be the census simply revealed the focus of David’s trust?
Sadly, when we trust our own power rather than God’s, that failure always comes with a price tag. The plague caused by David’s failure cost the lives of 70,000 innocent people before God mercifully said, “Stop! That is enough!” When David saw the angel with his sword raised over Jerusalem, he humbly repented and interceded for his people. That is exactly when a miracle turned his failure into a new beginning, because GOD never puts a period after failure!
So, why should we put a period where God does not?
Failure can be the step to a new beginning!