When David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell down with their faces to the ground. David said to God, “Wasn’t I the one who gave the order to count the people? I am the one who has sinned and acted very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? My Lord God, please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s family, but don’t let the plague be against Your people.”
Certainly there is an uncomfortable mystery surrounding this historical recounting of David’s selfish, sinful decision to number God’s people; however, one clear principle emerges that is especially relevant for those who are leaders – the consequences of and punishment for sin often extend far beyond the original sinner. The ungodly decisions of a leader of any people brings untold destruction and pain to those he or she is leading. The consequences of sin is “no respecter of persons”. It affects all who are within its reach. There is also something quite egregious about this particular sin or David’s decision to do it. Joab, David’s military commander, was staunchly opposed to numbering the people and the punishment God inflicts extends even to those who would appear to be innocent. Truly the evil behind this action is something that can only be understood from God’s perspective; however, we can all understand the wrath of God against sin and must always make good and godly decisions in light of that fact. God hates sin and injustice and must address it. He is the God of justice and necessarily so. We must understand both the natural and supernatural consequences of sin and be diligent to avoid evil decisions that can affect others. Every godly leader’s decisions must be founded upon the fear of Father God. It is only from this point of leadership that blessings come to a nation and the consequences and wrath of God are avoided. Father God cares enough to address and punish sin. We should care enough to flee from it.