He began his career by killing the giant Goliath and while he reigned, Israel fought enemies on all sides. King David knew the color of blood, and the smell of it, and the taste of it. And when he grew old, he tired of it.
By the end of his life, David wanted not to destroy any longer, but to build. First, though, he decided to assess his kingdom. He desired to see the scope of what he had done so far. He had fought so many years; he wanted to find out what he had accomplished, so he commissioned a census. And he counted his people.
He had built an empire, a far reaching one of more than a million and a half fighting men.
But God was not pleased with David.
During his life, David had conquered many lands and killed many men at God's command. And God blessed him for his obedience. But this counting God neither commanded nor sanctioned.
Of all the things David had done, this peaceful, seemingly innocuous action angered God.
And David would spill another kind of blood.
Men would die this time, not because David was obedient, but because he had sinned.
So the Lord sent a pestilence in Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell.--1Chronicles 21:14
This new blood left a mark all the other had not. And David would pay for his disobedience.
Then, only then, after all the love and reverence, after all the songs, after all the years of drawing his sword in God's name, only then did God tell David he had done wrong.
You had shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a Temple in my name for you have shed much blood on the ground before me.--1Chronicles 22:8
This last disobedience, not the years of faithful, if bloody, following, disqualified David from building the Lord's temple.
And so it still does.
The blood of disobedience, of pride, of lust, can never honor God.
But there is a blood of another kind, blood shed by specifically commissioned men according to God's intentional command. That blood leaves another stain, the stain of holy obedience, the stain of sacrifice, the same stain that gathered at the foot of the cross on Calvary.