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Several years ago I was leading a ladies bible study and one of our lessons dealt with motives. It hit me hard and I still ponder the message of that particular lesson. It caused me to look deeply at the motives of my heart. In what I post on social media and many other areas of my life. Who or what is being magnified in my life? Am I making much of myself, my stuff and my achievements? Where am I seeking validation? Am I walking humbly with God- content with His provision? Are my motives pure?

I often question my motives and ask God to search my heart. I know that our hearts can deceive us.

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King David was told not to conduct a census in his kingdom. A census in itself, it not evil. Still, God told him no because it had to do more with why King David wanted the census. It had to do with the motives of his heart. God knew his heart and that pride was the motivation. The kingdom was large and successful. To see the numbers would only make King David’s pride in himself swell. God is the only reason he had the success he had and he needed to remember to trust in God, not in numbers or his flesh.

What’s more alarming about this event in David’s life, is that his sin not only hurt him, many people were affected. Thousands of people died as a result of David’s sin. That spoke severely to my heart. Other people suffer as a result of my sin.

Below is the scripture that tells the story. Read for yourself about how serious God is about our our why’s…our motives for our behavior. God is a good Father, and that means He is serious about sin, especially pride. Oh how easily it creeps into our hearts and lives. Lord, Search our hearts and minds….reveal the hidden sins. Make us aware and lead us to repentance.

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The following passage from 1 Chronicles is long, but the story it tells is important. God takes our sin seriously. Yet when we repent His grace abounds and we are restored to right standing in our relationship with God. When we turn to Him, He will always meet us and welcome us back. I pray these words help express the gravity of sin. The consequences of disobedience. The joy of repenting and restoration. Why the motives of our heart matter…

Satan decided to cause trouble for Israel by making David think it was a good idea to find out how many people there were in Israel and Judah. David told Joab and the army commanders, “Count everyone in Israel, from the town of Beersheba in the south all the way north to Dan. Then I will know how many people can serve in my army.” Joab answered, “Your Majesty, even if the Lord made your kingdom a hundred times larger, you would still rule everyone in it. Why do you need to know how many soldiers there are? Don’t you think that would make the whole nation angry?” But David would not change his mind. And so Joab went everywhere in Israel and Judah and counted the people…….

David’s order to count the people made God angry, and he punished Israel. David prayed, “I am your servant. But what I did was stupid and terribly wrong. Please forgive me.” The Lord said to Gad, one of David’s prophets, “Tell David that I will punish him in one of three ways. But he will have to choose which one it will be.” Gad went to David and told him: You must choose how the Lord will punish you:  Will there be three years when the land won’t grow enough food for its people? Or will your enemies constantly defeat you for three months? Or will the Lord send a horrible disease to strike your land for three days? Think about it and decide, because I have to give your answer to God who sent me. David was miserable and said, “It’s a terrible choice to make! But the Lord is kind, and I’d rather be punished by him than by anyone else.”…….

David saw the Lord’s angel in the air, holding a sword over Jerusalem. He and the leaders of Israel, who were all wearing sackcloth, bowed with their faces to the ground, and David prayed, “It’s my fault! I sinned by ordering the people to be counted. They have done nothing wrong—they are innocent sheep. Lord God, please punish me and my family. Don’t let the disease wipe out your people.” 1 Chronicles 21: 1-17 CEV

The Lord heard David’s confession and saw that he was repentant. So God relented and no others had to die from that point on. David was restored and Jerusalem saved. But all that could have been avoided if David had just obeyed God and died to his selfish ambition. I pray we all learn from this hard lesson in the Bible. Sin hurts more than just ourselves. Often many suffer at the sin of one. Yet, God restores with confession, repentance and obedience to God’s word.

Are there areas of your life that need to be brought into obedience? Sometimes it won’t make sense from a human perspective. Other times it’s a matter of just doing what His word commands us to do. Listening to the Holy Spirit is where we can find trustworthy guidance when things seem unclear, when fear invades our hearts, or we struggle to lay down our flesh and submit to God.

With Faithful Endurance,


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