1 Chronicles 21 King David decides he wants to know how big his army was, but we aren’t told why. The backdrop note is that God allowed the adversary to slip in unnoticed. To alert David to the sin he was about to commit, God sent wise a counselor through Joab, His General. Joab pleaded with David to not do a census, but his words fell on deaf ears. David insists, and so finally, Joab follows through. God, in His patience, allowed this sin to fester for over a year and a half. Not always does God allow us to see the fruit of our sin.
We all need a Joab in our life to challenge us as to our motives in decision making. God uses them to discern where our hearts lay. For David, his heart was in his pride of the army he had amassed. What he had not counted on was the price that would he would have to pay for his sin. David was “like someone who gazes at his face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was.” [James 1] It is because of his filtered view that God sent Joab into his life.
David didn’t back down, but somewhere along the path of foolish decisions; the Spirit came to him to prick his heart. Although God forgave David, the price for his sin was grievous. The same goes for us when we sin. There is always a price to be paid. God set the price for our sin with the body and blood of His Son.