Day 134: Devastating Effects of Sin

1 Chronicles 21:1-30 It is not entirely clear why David’s decision to take the census was considered a sin, but the problem may be in its intent (cf. 2 Sam 24:1-25). Whatever the reason, this passage differs from the account in 2 Samuel mainly in its emphasis on the depth and gravity of David’s repentance. Like most of the stories of the Books of Chronicles, this serves as a hagiography (biography that idealizes its subject) of David, whose virtues are stressed and whose failings are downplayed and even omitted entirely.


Ch 21:1 Satan: The Hebrew satan means “adversary” and had already been used in a generic context in 1 Kings. Here, however, it is presented as a proper name akin to “the Devil” or “the tempter.” This marks the only case of the use of “Satan” as a proper name not preceded by the article “the.” In the Book of Job, it appears as a particular being; and, although it has the article (“the adversary”), it is usually translated in English as Satan (see Job 1:6-9, 12; 2:1-4, 6-7). In Christian theology, Satan refers to the fallen angel through whom sin and death entered the world; he seeks to oppose Christ and all that is good by leading people into sin through his deception and lies. (CCC 2852)


Ch 21:12 The angel: Angels are spirits created by God prior to the creation of the first man and woman. Endowed with INTELLECT and FREE WILL, many angels freely chose to serve God. Satan, however, chose to reject God and become his adversary (cf 21:1). In Scripture, angels act on behalf of God as his messengers. They have been present throughout history and have intervened at special episodes throughout salvation history. (CCC 333-334)


Psalm 15 The psalmist lists eleven criteria by which a person is allowed to participate in the liturgy, each of which points to the Commandments in either a general or specific way. This psalm in a Christian context is essentially a call to examine our consciences before receiving the Eucharist, and, if we are guilty of serious or mortal sin, we must receive the Sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion. It is also best to seek forgiveness of lesser or venial sins-although they do not bar us from the Eucharistic table-as a way of overcoming anger, pride, and resentment that create small barriers to receiving the fullness of grace offered in the Holy Eucharist. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, February 4, 2004)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)



  • Absalom, guided by Ahithophel’s counsel, sleeps with David’s concubines on the palace roof to make public and permanent his break from his father and to proclaim his taking of the throne.

  • Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)



  • So remember 2 Samuel is the story in “real time” as in we are reading what’s happening “now

  • So David is fleeing Absalom

  • 1 Chronicles is told from the future looking back

  • 1 Chronicles 21 jumped over all of the story we are reading now in 2 Samuel

  • 1 Chronicles doesn’t really talk about David’s sins, or even the births of all his children

  • It doesn’t even talk about how one of his children, Absalom, is leading a REBELLION

  • Remember, The Chronicler (Ezra the Scribe) is not trying to hide David’s sins or wounds or weaknesses

  • The Chronicler is telling a DIFFERENT STORY

  • The Chronicler is telling the story of the future MESSIAH, the future ancestor of David, the one who will come AFTER David

  • The Chronicler is telling the story of WORSHIP

  • So back to 2 Samuel Ch 16

  • We have a couple of DECEPTIONS

  • Mephibosheth (hahaha Fr. Mike says it’s easy for him to say then stumbled on it 🤪) is the son of Jonathan, David’s best friend

  • David is told by Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, that Mephibosheth is waiting in Jerusalem to see who wins between David and Absalom

  • Mephibosheth is planning on cleaning up the pieces after David and Absalom destroy each other

  • We will find out in 2 Samuel Ch 19 that IT IS NOT TRUE

  • Mephibosheth has been lied to

  • Mephibosheth is NOT a traitor to David

  • (Fr. Mike didn’t want to spoil it for us, but he kind of did 😉)

  • Then we have a powerful scene with Shimei, who is of the House of Saul

  • Shimei curses David

  • Shimei is being surrounded by all these people like David’s Mighty Men, his household, and others

  • Shimei is throwing rocks and dust at all the people while cursing David

  • Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, who is one of David’s right hand men

  • He offers to decapitate Shimei for King David

  • King David reveals that he has been humbled

  • David basically says, “My own son is trying to kill me. How can it get any worse?”

  • Here is Shimei who is cursing David and now David has no pride left

  • David has no sense of self left

  • David thinks he is not above this person cursing him

  • David thinks that maybe God has told Shimei to curse him

  • David has lived in such a way that he is not immune to curses, is not above curses, and is not so good or innocent that Shimei isn’t speaking the truth

  • This is a GREAT SIGN OF REPENTANCE for ALL OF US

  • When we have someone who is CURSING US

  • When we have someone who is CRITICISING US

  • When we have someone who is saying something NEGATIVE ABOUT US

  • We realize that whether all that is true or not, that ain’t even the half of it

  • If you knew the state of my heart at times

  • If you knew how much in rebellion I can be to the Lord at times

  • Then your criticism means nothing

  • And that’s what David is saying

  • It gets even worse

  • David, remembering his sin and the ensuing prophecy that he will experience incredible disgrace in sight of all the people

  • He sinned in the dark

  • He will be disgraced in the light

  • The horrible thing happens where Ahithophel, the counselor of Absalom now, tells Absalom to have intimate relations with David’s concubines

  • He tells Absalom to do this in sight of ALL THE PEOPLE

  • NOT IN PRIVATE

  • This is Absalom’s way of establishing dominance over David

  • It’s also Absalom’s way of SHAMING HIS FATHER

  • Absalom aims to make David a disgrace in the eyes of the people of Israel

  • That was his intent

  • We recognize that crucifixion is awful on its own

  • The point of crucifixion is to kill someone, but that’s not the ENTIRE point

  • The point of crucifixion is to kill someone in a SHAMEFUL WAY

  • So the point of Absalom doing all these things is to SHAME David

  • The ugliness of war

  • The ugliness of sin

  • The ugliness of violence

  • Think of the people who get caught in the crossfire of all these things

  • 1 Chronicles Ch 21 we have a story we will eventually get to in 2 Samuel

  • David is taking a census

  • Joab tells David this isn’t a good idea

  • David insists and wants to number the people of Israel

  • Why is it wrong for David to do the census?

  • Remember the Book of Numbers is all about numbering the people

  • So how is this different?

  • In Numbers, we are talking about all the people that God saved in the beginning of the book

  • In Numbers, we are also talking about all the people that God preserved in the wilderness at the end of the book

  • What David is doing, however, is saying, “Who are MY people?”

  • In some way, David is taking OWNERSHIP or POSSESSION of the people

  • He is not numbering them as GOD’S PEOPLE

  • David is more or less saying, “Who am I in charge of?”

  • That is really about MOTIVATION

  • He is taking OWNERSHIP of God’s People

  • That is the WRONG thing to do

  • David can take RESPONSIBILITY for God’s people

  • David can be a STEWARD of God’s people

  • But when David takes a census, that is EVIL in the sight of the Lord because he is establishing HIMSELF rather than GOD

  • Hopefully that makes sense to you

  • Here we are journeying through civil war

  • Today we have this moment of David being HUMBLED and HUMILIATED

  • We have Absalom revealing how DEVASTATING sin is and how DEVASTATING war is

  • Absalom uses and abuses the concubines and shows us the evil that can proliferate in our world when we refuse to ask the Lord, “What is the next step?”

  • The evil that can proliferate in our world when we say, “I want what I want and I don’t care what GOD wants.”

  • Since that exists in EVERY ONE OF US, in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR HEARTS, WE NEED PRAYER

  • WE NEED GOD’S GRACE

  • BECAUSE THAT COULD BE YOU

  • BECAUSE THAT COULD BE ME

  • We could be doing the thing that for ages ends up devastating people

  • So ask God to help you not to be an agent of DEVASTATION

  • Ask God to help you to be an agent FOR GOOD, to belong to God FULLY

  • Fr. Mike is praying for you

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you. We honor you and give you glory, the glory you deserve. We give you the praise and honor and worship and thanksgiving of this day. Gosh, Lord, as we follow the story of David we ask that you please help us to discern in our own hearts where we need to be convicted of sin. Help us to see in our own hearts where we are called to be innocent, where we are called to be humbled, where we are called to be lifted up, where we are called to be strengthened, where we are called to receive encouragement, and where we are called to be open to criticism. Lord God, help us to be wise in the voices that we listen to and the voices that we pay attention to. And of all the voices that we hear in the course of the day, let yours be the one that is the loudest, that is the clearest, and is the one that goes directly to our hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”