[SW186] 05/15/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015
“Count On the Lord”
Text: 1Chronicles 17:25-27, 1Chronicles 21
In every trial, count on the Lord, on His promises, on His faithfulness. But watch out! Satan will tempt you to do otherwise.
King David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
In 1Chronicles 17:25-27, David recounted the promise the Lord had just made to him. He would build a house for David, one that would continue forever!
David continued to win many battles. In 1Chronicles 20, his army defeated the sons of Ammon, then the Philistines, and then the descendants of the giants of Gath.
But then Satan stood up against Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1). He got a foothold by putting a thought into David’s mind, that he should count his men, that he should do a census.
All Satan needs is a toe in the door. His goal is to steal, kill and destroy. He tries to steal our faith, just as he tried to steal that of Jesus Christ in Matthew 4, in the desert temptation!
A census! Good idea! Wise! Lots of battles, some losses, let’s find out who’s left so we can see if we’re strong enough to continue.
But God didn’t call this census. Satan tempted David, giving him this “wise” idea.
Joab objected (v. 3). If it wasn’t the Lord’s command, they shouldn’t number Israel.
But King David’s word prevailed. It seemed so right to him, so he enforced it. Joab counted all but Levi and Benjamin. There were 1.6 million men.
But God was displeased — in the original Hebrew, “it was evil in the sight of God.” Why?
First, He didn’t call it. He calls for a census for His purposes, for the accomplishment of His plan. So, it was wrong for David to count just because it seemed wise to David.
Now look at 1 Chronicles 27:23. It was another counting, done in David’s old age (23:1). This counting was according to God’s purposes — to establish a written record for the divisions of Levites for service to the Temple that Solomon would build, for Israel’s army, and for other overseers.
1Chronicles 27:23 But David did not count those twenty years of age and under, because the LORD had said He would multiply Israel as the stars of heaven.
That’s the other reason it was evil in the sight of God for David to call for a census in Chapter 21. God promised that Israel would be as numerous as the stars in the universe. By counting his men, David unwittingly questioned God’s promise.
That’s the same as saying, “Lord, I know you are faithful, but I’m just going to be sure.” That’s unbelief.
For David’s doubting, the consequences were dire. When he realized that he had sinned greatly by doubting God’s promise (v. 8), he immediately repented, from the heart. That’s why God said he was a man after God’s own heart. He didn’t intentionally disobey, but when he saw what he had done, he immediately sought the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy, not only for him, but for Israel.
But there was a price: (1) three years of famine, (2) three months to be swept away by the enemy, or (3) three days of pestilence. David didn’t want to fall into the hands of his enemies. Three years of famine would have killed many more in Israel than three days of pestilence. So he chose three days of pestilence.
That sounds harsh, but David knew God’s mercy. And God is faithful to His own character.
As the destroying angel set out to destroy Jerusalem, David cried out again for mercy, and the Lord stopped him before he destroyed every man in Israel, so that the death toll was 70,000 rather than nearly two million (see v. 5).
So what is the Lord saying to you and me and the church at large?
Be careful what you count on. Ask the Lord to purify your heart by baptizing you in the Holy Ghost, and you will rely on Him and Him alone. You’ll also be able to detect Satan’s attempts to gain a foothold!
Church, Satan has tempted you to look at your circumstances, instead of God’s faithfulness to His promises.
And it seems so logical and wise to you, to count your congregation numbers, and if they’re down, it seems good to use man’s methods, even business methods, to increase them. Satan, Ole Slewfoot, has gained a great foothold in the church.
What the Lord say? Stop regarding man (Isaiah 2:22)! Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation (Psalm 146:3).
But you’re under a lot of pressure to do it. Besides, a bigger church will make you famous!
Wrong motive! Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Ask the Lord to give you a new heart, one with no pride in it and a single motive — glorifying God the Father and God the Son through God the Holy Spirit!
Repent! Turn from man’s methods for church growth, and seek to be filled with the Holy Ghost, so that the world around you cries out, “The Lord, He is God!”
Get real with the Lord. You need something from Him, O church. Seek to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, each one of you, and ask Him to show attesting signs to accompany the words that you speak, words delivered in His power. People will repent.
And what lesson is there for a believer who loves and obeys God and does not willfully disobey Him, but is in the battle of a lifetime, a night season.
You are like David. The Lord has given you a heart after His own heart. But you have fought many battles, and you just want to check to see if you have enough natural strength to weather another one.
Beware! Satan is tempting you to seek strength from a natural source, rather than from the Lord. It seems wise. Everyone else is doing it. But do not doubt God!
If you are in right standing with God, if you love God, does He not say that He will cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28)?
Does He not say that He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus? (Philippians 4:6)
Does He not say that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can think or imagine, according to His power that works in you? (Ephesians 3:20)
Does He not say that the battle belongs to Him? (2Chronicles 20:15)
Does He not say that you will be kept by His power, His fort and troops around you to protect you? (1Peter 1:5)
I tell you, it is not enough to be able to recite these scriptures word-for-word. You must believe them in your heart. But praise God! He is a Faith-Giver! Seek Him! He will give you faith to believe Him.
Seek to be baptized in and filled with the Holy Spirit — He is the source of that keeping power!
NOTE: The Lord delivered me from the situation I mentioned in last week’s message, all praise to His name! Five polyps were found and removed. Two were precancerous, but there was NO CANCER. Thank You, my Healer and Deliverer, my Strength and my Shield!
After the procedure, the doctor said I was at very high risk for colon cancer. Satan was about to try to get a foothold.
But all praise to God, Psalm 103 immediately came into my spirit, and I said, Lord, I believe it! I asked my praying friends and relatives to pray in agreement with Jeff and me.
Nevertheless, when I spoke with one friend, she detected worry in my voice. Ah! Satan’s foothold! We rebuked it together. Thank You, Lord!
Then Satan said I was all washed up. “You gonna die,” he cried. But God kept me by His power. I said, “Hallelujah! That means I’m going to live, and God still has work for me to do!”
Whatever Satan says, the opposite is true, because he’s a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him (John 8:44)!
Even if the diagnosis had cancer, I already had written statements in my will and medical records that I would rely on God alone to heal me. Praise God!
Even if God did not heal me, it surely would be better to be with Him, but I will be here as long as He wants me here (Philippians 1:23-24).
It is the work of the Lord, nothing I could do on my own, just as with my friend and mentor, Donald Demaray, who had joy in the midst of a great trial and sorrow. It was Father God. It was Jesus Christ. It was the Holy Spirit. It was all God.
God will do the same for you. Ask the Lord to make you as sure of Him as the Apostle Paul, who wrote —
2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason (his appointment as a preacher and apostle and teacher of the gospel of Christ), I also suffer these things (cruel and unjust imprisonment, for he had not disobeyed the law) . . . but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
I know whom I have believed! You do likewise!