“Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.” (1 Chronicles 27:24)
A fine line divides counting blessings from stacking trophies, and apparently David crossed it. Surely his normal habit was to excitedly number the good things God had done for him! We have many records of those joyful praises in the books of Samuel, Chronicles, and Psalms. But one particular day a dart dipped in pride pierced his thoughts and he began to consider his greatness apart from the Lord. His orders to Joab were laced with this poison and resulted in the unsheathing of a heavenly sword that killed 70,000 men.
The full record of this infamous census is in 2 Samuel 24, where we are forced to focus on the grave danger that lies in the shadow of success.
Whether it be in the ministry, in business, in studies, or even in family accomplishments, we are never far from displaying the blessings of God on shelves of personal merit. Tragically, the subtle shift in emphasis, the crossing of that line, can take place in very pious settings. We can share prayer requests in such a way that the good we have done is highlighted. We can write a letter containing gratitude to God but typed by a heart that is a bit too smug. Others may not detect the pride, but the LORD sees it immediately, and He will resist us.
Let’s guard our hearts with a suspicious eye so we do not fall into this trophy trap. When we count our blessings, let’s do so with motives as pure as a glass of spring water from the Pyrenees mountains. May our desire be to lift high the wonderful Name of Him Who is the Rewarder of the faithful.
Yes, it is good to count the blessings of our gracious God, but let’s not stack them up in a way that puts our name in line for glory.