Often the consequences of our sins and mistakes will be felt by those people who are closest to us.
So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. Seventy thousand people died throughout the nation.
2 Samuel 24:15
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King David decides to count the people of the nation of Israel. That does not seem like that big of a deal, except for the fact that God had forbidden it because it would be a source of pride for the king. Joab even tried to dissuade David from taking the census, but he insisted. Joab obeyed his king and counted the people as he was told. David then felt the conviction of the LORD in his heart and he went to God and confessed his sin before Him. God sends the prophet Gad to David to give him a choice of three punishments. David selects the third option which is a three-day plague. In the three days that follow seventy thousand people die. David’s punishment was that seventy thousand of his people died.
When a leader makes a mistake, it is often the people who are following him who pay the greatest price. In my own heart this truth is constantly before me. If I make a mistake or if I sin, I have no problem experiencing the consequences of that. That is easy for me to accept. But the thought that my sin or my mistake might cause others suffering and consequences is very painful to me. It helps to keep me from sinning, and it keeps me dependent upon God.
Our sins and poor decisions seldom affect only us. And often the consequences of our sins and mistakes will be felt by those people who are closest to us. The very ones who we are called to protect and to keep safe are the ones who will suffer because of our failures. Few things should hurt our hearts like the thought of this happening in our lives.
No matter where you find yourself leading, your home, your workplace, your ministry, or your church you have the potential to bring a plague upon those around you. A leader like David would be greatly grieved by the thought of people suffering because of his failure. It will not absolutely guarantee that we won’t sin, but it should deter us most of the time from being willfully disobedient to God.
David deliberately sinned against God and God punished him by sending a plague that killed seventy thousand people. We don’t need to be concerned that every little sin or mistake is going to cost someone their life. God is gracious and merciful, and His punishment fits the sin. But if we get to the place where we are doing what we want rather than what God wants, He will deal with us and we will probably not like the way He does it. Jesus, help us to care so much about the people around us that we don’t expose them to risk of punishment because of our sin.