“I have sinned greatly in what I have done … I have done very foolishly” (v10). While the text says that the Lord “incited” David to take a census of the people, the implication is that God was already angry because Israel was not trusting in Him (v1). David’s general, Joab, warned against the census, because it reflected a desire to control and calculate the people, rather than trust in God’s favor on Israel (v3). Despite the warning, David commanded the census and immediately felt guilty.
“For His mercy is great” (v14). Putting our hope in anything but God – our money, our accomplishments, or ourselves – is idolatry. Yet He is merciful and teaches us to trust Him (16-25).