Right now, our country is embroiled in yet another political controversy--that in regards to taking the 2020 census. President Trump wants to include a question regarding citizenship in order to identify how many illegal immigrants are in our population. The Democrats resist such efforts, just like they resist every thing else this President tries to do.
In the Bible, there are several references to taking a government mandated census of the people. Today we will look at one of these in the Old Testament, and one in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, we are all aware of King David's sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and the price he paid for such a transgression. But there was another mistake David made that is often overlooked. This error is recorded in chapter 24—his sin of numbering the people in order to ascertain the size of his military force. David knew, all through his life, that deliverance does not come by horses or chariots, or by the size of an army, or by man’s strength. In several of his Psalms, David expresses the truth that deliverance comes by the power of God, not the military strength of a nation. He realized immediately his sin of pride, and his heart condemned him. He saw the folly of relying upon the numerical strength of Israel, instead of on the Lord. Many times as Christians, we realize our sin as soon as we commit it, and that is good because it is evidence of the convicting work of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts.
In the New Testament we have the famous census by Caesar Augustus as recorded in Luke 2. This particular census was inconvenient for a young betrothed couple from Galilee (Joseph and Mary), since it involved travel to Bethlehem at a time when Mary was about to deliver a baby. Yet, out of these terribly inconvenient circumstances, at a time when everything seemed to be going wrong, God, through the edict of a political leader, brought the right people to the right place at the right time. Only the sovereignty of God can bring about "good news" amidst a backdrop of "bad news". Imagine the irony of this. A Roman census resulted in the fulfillment of a great prophecy, and the birth of the Savior of the world in the little town of Bethlehem. Take heart, dear Christian. God knows what He is doing, and often those things that appear to be most inconvenient are really designed for the ultimate glory of God.