We all have the same issue confronting us as confronted David. We feel like we are in control of the results, the forms, of the goodness we feel and the truth we know, when they are brought together in our life. Much of the time we know better. It is easy to spot our blessings as gifts from the Lord. For many it is much harder to spot evil desires and false ideas as the influence of evil spirits. Yet that is possible , too.
The greater challenge is spotting the ongoing, habitual ways of being we all have developed from childhood that constantly interfere with our happiness, peace, and spiritual development.
We all have our own unique set of desires and thought processes. Our desires are our will, subject to the influence of good and evil from heaven and hell. In this case, David desired something. As king he had many responsibilities. He wanted to be a good king. He want to be able to manage the country’s resources. So he need to know to the number of adult males workers. All his advisors knew that, while David was the greatest king ever, and blessed by God, it was a rejection of God’s leading the take a census. God can manage the resources of His kingdom; David should not presume to be in control.
David brought his desire into reality by means of his servants. They were at his beck and call. David thus controlled the event. The results, however, he could not. The country’s resources were badly diminished by a plague clearly caused, and then halted, by Jehovah. Jehovah is not a bad person, but His creation includes natural and logical consequences to all actions. David removed himself and the people from Divine protection enough that seventy thousand of them perished.
The teachings for the New Church give the world a chance to learn a lesson from David’s mistake. The story on its face is not applicable. Many heads of state have sinned and not brought such ruin to their country. The New Church has a detailed, in depth analysis of the application of this story to individual’s eternal lives! We will help anyone who we can give this understanding to.
We all can think of certain ways we are that bother us. Maybe it is at work, or with your spouse, or with a relative, a child, a neighbor. You have done certain things, said certain things you figured were appropriate, you know you were right, and you really want to fix things or make them better. But it isn’t working. Or maybe you made a commitment to the Lord to do something, or not do something anymore. You thought you were setting things up right for this new life; you designed a couple of practices to help you and even enlisted the support of others. But it isn’t working.
Consider for a moment that perhaps you are making David’s mistake. Is it really your job to manage the results of your desires and beliefs? Can you really see all the variables out into the future far enough? Do you realize that your efforts are actually aimed at manipulating others or the situation to change rather than changing yourself?
The Writings for the New Church reveal the practices that actually make a difference. You always have desires from hell in your will. It is not your job to get rid of them. Nowhere in the Word are we told to fix the situation or another person in order for the world or our relationship with them to be made better. We identify those evil desires as such only in the light of truth in our understanding from the Word being held there in honor and authority. The Lord does not ask us to originate and then organize all these truths and forms of love into our world, spiritual and natural. He only asks us to gather them. As scary as it is sometimes, we have to trust that the Lord will be able to reveal to us, at just the right time, the right thing to say or do. He can do that when we have provided Him enough material in our memory and enough living by them that the bad habits no longer impede Him.
Identifying evil desires as belonging to hell and not oneself takes all the power away from them. It allows you to be remorseful, even as David was. And then you are open to the Lord’s leading, which includes all the consequences of your actions. Have we not all missed the point of the lesson by avoiding the punishment? When the evil is identified as from hell, then the consequences are too. Instead of feeling shamed and punished by God, we feel the pain of our mistake and coldly resolve not to make it again. With that attitude, the Lord can stop the pain and heal the wound. Instead of blocking Him out in an attempt to resolve the shame, we welcome Him in to put away the evil which we now know is not ours, but is owned by some poor devil in hell.
The plague stopped at a threshing floor. Think about that. Grain is brought to that hard place and pounded or crushed to either separate the chaff which the wind blew away, or to grind into a flour. That is what we have to go through to have an evil desire we have given form to removed from our normal, habitual way of being.
The resolution is that the Lord controls the whole process whereby a desire from heaven is given reality in life by means of truths in your mind and actions in your body. And there is where you can take a census of your life, counting your blessings and acknowledging the Lord for His gifts!