Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat, and from every other illness. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.
We might think that King David was acting as a prudent ruler by taking a census of the people – but he wasn’t. Counting God’s chosen people was a deeply meaningful act, because their very identity was at stake. Were the Israelites God’s people, or did they, like their neighbours, belong to their earthly rulers?
A head count gave the king power over his subjects, a little bit like the power that tax records and drivers’ licenses give modern governments. Census results could be milked for information about levying taxes, conscripting an army, or even finding able-bodied workers for forced-labour projects.
David’s census represented an effort to increase his control over the people. The anointed king, handpicked by God, was acting less like an agent of God and more like an independent owner who could do whatever he wanted with his possessions. But was taking a census really the key issue? No, the real issue was one of trust. Could David believe that God would take care of him and his people, however weak or strong they were?
David’s repentance won God’s heart and restored his relationship with God. And our repentance will achieve much more than just make us right with God. It will also unleash divine grace to help us overcome our weaknesses and our tendencies to sin.
God wants us to trust him today and every day, in good times and in bad, when we feel weak and when we feel strong. King David was typical of many people of faith: he was forgiven much because he loved much. His desire to repent and be reconciled to God is an example of faith that can teach us how to trust in God, even when faced with the enormity of our sins.