"The believer is essentially one who remembers…"
What's the big deal? Why get all bothered for David wanting to do a census in order to get a head count? Does the punishment fit the crime?
These are few of the questions that come to mind as we continue to follow in the footsteps of David.
Once again, David's audacity seems to get him in trouble. He demands a head count, "tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba and register the people, that I may know their number."
At first glance perhaps we think, so what, a census. Every nation does a census. We do one every ten years.
It seems the issue may not be the census as much as it is David's intention behind the census. It is often said one of the great temptations is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.
Motivation and intention are important. We are reminded by this story that our own inner motivations and intentions are always beneath the scrutiny and judgment of God.
Think about how many times we may have done a good with the wrong intention or motivation. There is something lacking in that endeavor.
What about the punishment? Was it fair? I think fair maybe the wrong question to ask. In reality, we are invited to realize that individual decisions are never carried out in a vacuum. Individual decisions always have an impact on society at large.
The pestilence that effects the 70,000 people remind us that we are our brother's keeper. We have a responsibility not just to look out for ourselves but we must consider all in the decisions we make.
No man is an island. This is true for the time of David but also for our time as well. As we continue to read form 2 samuel we discover one of the last official acts David does as King before he dies.
In 2 samuel 24:25 we read the following account, "David built an altar to the Lord there, and sacrificed burnt offerings and communion offerings. The LORD granted relief to the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel."
How does David save face? By bowing his face to the ground and returning his heart to God. The census was David's way of being puffed up, boasting about all that he has done. The altar was his way of remembering it was grace that has carried him every step of the way.
This is what we remember.
as Pope Francis reminds us, "The believer is one who remembers."