1 Chronicles 21

Talks for Growing Christians

David Numbers Israel; The Future Site of Solomon’s Temple

1 Chronicles 21

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Lesson Number 13

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God disapproved of David’s sinful census.
  2. God approved of David’s substitutionary sacrifice.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s be willing to take the blame rather than shift the blame.


  1. Compare 1 Chronicles 21:1 and 2 Samuel 24:1. Did Satan move David to number the people of Israel, or was it God’s anger that resulted in David numbering the people?
  2. What does James 1:13 teach us about God?
  3. Why was it wrong for David to number the people here?
  4. God gave David a choice on the consequences for his sin. What were the choices and what did David choose?
  5. Why was the threshing floor of Ornan a significant site?
  6. How do we know that God approved of David’s sacrifice?


  1. Both. God allowed Satan to tempt David and he was drawn away by his own pride as king to sin and number the people. But God used this occasion to bring discipline upon the whole nation of Israel, because the Lord was angry, probably because of Israel’s national pride and dishonor of the Lord.
  2. God is not the source of evil. He does not lead people to do evil and He cannot be blamed for evil.
  3. Because of pride. God had given David victories over all his enemies, and there was no need to take a military census. By taking this census, David was turning away from trusting and thanking the Lord, and was relying on his own military strength.
  4. David’s choices were three years of famine, three months of military defeat, or three days of pestilence directly from the sword of the Lord. David chose the three days of pestilence, because he knew God to be a God of mercy (verses 13-15).
  5. David purchased this site as a place of sacrifice. On this site Solomon would build the Temple. Every later Temple in Israel would be built here, including the future Temples.
  6. God sent fire from heaven to consume the burnt offering. He also commanded the angel of the Lord to return his sword to its sheath.


  1. God hates the sin of pride. Can you think of a time when God gave you victory, but rather than acknowledging and thanking Him, you became puffed up in your own pride? How can we safeguard ourselves against this tendency?
  2. Just as the fire of the Lord fell on the sacrifice and not on the people, so the fire of God’s judgment fell on Christ on the cross and not on us. We can be saved from the penalty of sin by simple faith in the Lord as our substitutionary sacrifice. If you have already acknowledged Christ as your substitute, thank Him for it. If you have not, then perhaps today is your day.


  1. Are you prone to shifting the blame? Follow David’s example and be willing to take the blame for your mistakes. Remember God’ great mercy!

Key Verses

  • “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1
  • “And David said to Gad, ‘I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.’” 1 Chronicles 21:13
  • “Then King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.’” 1 Chronicles 21:24

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