Several scholars believe Psalm 30 concerns the time David numbered the people of Israel and God punished them with a pestilence. Before we get any further, let me caution you to read this in the 1 Chronicles 21 account and not just 2 Samuel 24. You will get a much better portrait of David in Chronicles, one much more fitting a “man after God’s own heart.”
But no matter when in David’s life this psalm was written, he tells us in verse 6 exactly what caused his problem. In his prosperity he relied too much on himself. Oh, he recognizes that his wealth and security came from God, v 7a, but he was so smug about it that God “hid His face.” It was “my mountain,” not God’s, and if this is the time of the numbering, he was so full of himself that he sent Joab around not to take a full census, but to count “those who can wield a sword.” He wanted to know how strong he was now that his foes were destroyed and his land was at peace, even though God told the people not to worry about such things, but to trust Him. Even a man such as Joab knew that this numbering was not a good idea.
Here is what we as Americans steadfastly refuse to see, even Christians: there is no temptation so great as prosperity. Not just wealth, but security and peace along with it. The scriptures are full of the warnings, but we heed them not. What do we all want? To get ahead. What do we spend our lives doing? Making money. What do we dream about? Being rich.
But hear this: the New Testament does not speak of wealth in any way but as dangerous to our spiritual health.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19,21.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful, Matt 13:22.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God, Matt 19:24.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, Luke 12:15.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs, 1 Tim 6:9,10.
Why do we insist on standing in the rattlesnake’s nest? I understand wanting your children to have more and better than you did, but I do not want their souls at risk, and from everything I see and read in the Book that really matters, that is what wealth will do to them. If David can fall because of it, so can you and so can I and so can they. Any time you feel secure in your wealth, in your preparations for the future or for “unforeseen circumstances,” be careful. God may very well send you a reminder that you cannot count on anyone but Him, just as He did to David. It may be the most painful reminder you ever get.
Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven, Prov 23:4,5.