2 Samuel 24:2 (KJV) “For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.”
Initially, I did not understand the sin in this passage of Scripture. A further study explains that the sin was not in knowing how many people there were in Israel and Judah. It was in the underlying motive. The underlying motive is what we must always look for in these instances. It is not to make us live in a constant state of suspicion, but learn how to be able to discern between proper and improper motives that would lead to actions which would cause us to violate our covenant relationship with God.
In this narrative, the underlying motive is not apparent at first; however, it is unveiled in v. 9. The sin is that numbering the people to determine how many age-appropriate young men were available was a step in the direction leading to self-reliance in military issues and national security and away from dependence upon God.
The lesson in all of this is that the seduction of the moment can lead to dire consequences in the future. The enemy is intent on stealing, killing, and destroying when it comes to God’s Kingdom agenda (Jn. 10:10). He will employ every little subtle tactic to gain an advantage over us (2 Cor. 2:11). We must always be watchful and prayerful so as to not fall into his traps (2 Cor. 2:11).