In my personal devotional time and sermon preparation time, I have been studying the life of David for the summer months. While I have loved preaching through a series on David, there has been so much more in the Bible that we didn’t get to regarding his life.
When we first meet David, he is a nobody. He is disregarded by his family and overlooked by others (1 Sam. 16:11).
David was regarded as a nobody which made him a prime candidate to be used by God.
Men saw his external, yet God saw his internal (1 Sam. 16:7). God anointed him for an incredible work and no one else saw it coming.
Fast forward many years, and David is nearing the end of his journey. With a track record full of successes and failures, he has reached a different place in life.
Instead of being a nobody, he is most definitely a somebody, and that puts him in a dangerous position.
After his mighty men rack up some great victories in his honor (1 Ch. 20:4-9), David decides to take a census to see how many people are in his kingdom. While God had commanded his people to take a census before (Ex. 30:11-16; Num. 1:1-3), that was about God’s kingdom. The census taken by David seems to be driven by an obsession with David’s kingdom.
Sin originates from our meager attempts to build our kingdom rather than God’s Kingdom.
While David started out as a nobody, he now thought he had arrived. God’s blessing created a sinful sense of entitlement in his life. He could do what he wanted. Who would call him out? Who could dare stop him?
God. God could. And God did.
Pride goes before the fall (Prov. 16:18), and David’s pride not only affected him but the entire nation had to suffer the consequences of his mistake (1 Ch. 21:7).
Humble Yourself or God Will Do It for You
When David was humbled, God exalted him. When David was exalted, God humbled him.
You must humble yourself or God will do it for you.
Those are your two options.
It is more dangerous to believe you are a somebody than accept you are a nobody. It is helpful to remember how fleeting you are (Ps. 39:4). It is important to fight against the assumption you are superior (1 Cor. 4:7).
Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
If you think you are somebody deserving something, you really aren’t and don’t. If you understand that God is everything and deserves your everything, you begin to reorient your life in the grand scheme of things.
If you think you are somebody, be careful.
[Find out more on this topic in the sermon, “Mercy Is Free But Never Cheap.”]
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.