Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. "Go count the people of Israel and Judah," - 2 Samuel 24:1 (NLT)
Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. - 1 Chronicles 21:1 (NLT)
The two scriptures above though describing the same incident appear to contradict.
Was God so angry with Israel that he caused David to take a census, knowing it would bring about punishment OR was David under the influence of Satan who was behind it all?
The answer is both. God cannot tempt us to sin, but God will use Satan to reveal sin hidden in our heart that we could know nothing about, giving us the opportunity for repentance to ultimately bring glory to God and blessings to us.
The more we study the word of God we will become familiar with the ways of God and will less likely panic when seemingly bad things happen at random. Nothing is random.
God deals with leaders more harshly because 1) we have a higher level of responsibility and accountability and 2) because people could literally be harmed and worse killed by our decisions.
When we are in positions of authority and not self-aware of sinful tendencies, God has to reveal them to us and even if He has to use our Adversary, Satan (which he often does) to do it - He will. Why? To accomplish His will, plan and purpose.
God is never without options and He is never doing just one thing. By the time we get to 2 Samuel, Chapter 24 - David has long been king. He and the nation of Israel had grown prosperous and strong and were living in peace.
Why did God then use Satan to prompt David to take a census? After all Israel was at peace, was not under any threat, and a census in those days was only taken for taxation or military draft. Neither were warranted.
Because of God's favor, David had become powerful, popular and prosperous. David had forgotten however, that it was because of the power of God and not his own that he and the nation enjoyed such success. They had become proud.
God hates pride, but He loved David and because David was unaware perhaps that he had grown prideful, God used Satan to reveal his sin of pride. And to get us back on track, He will do the same in our life.
David fell for the temptation by Satan, orchestrated by God, to show off Israel's military so he could glory in its power and might. David's mistake was taking pride in military strength, forgetting that his and Israel's strength and power came from God.
When David realized his sin, He repented and sought forgiveness. God always forgives, but there are always consequences.
God gave David three consequences from which to choose (2 Samuel 24:13) - none good. The consequence he chose was a plague on the land of Israel for three days which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands.
Though it was David's decision to number the people, God dealt with the entire nation because David, as its leader, was the representation of what had become Israel's national sin of pride.
But whenever things go bad, God is always after a better result. On the final day of the plague, God had David to go up to build an altar to the LORD on a threshing floor (a piece of property used for threshing grain) owned by a man named Araunah.
Araunah, bowed before David and offered to give the king the property as well as oxen for sacrificing on the altar.
But David said to him, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. - 2 Samuel 24:24 (NASB)
David could have easily accepted Aranuah's free offer. Many of us likely would have. But David refused to give to God that which cost him nothing. As a result not only was Araunah blessed, but since David purchased the property, it belonged to David and his heirs for generations.
That threshing floor was on Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah would be the place where Solomon, David's son, would build Solomon's Temple from which, centuries later, Jesus would teach and preach.
God is always after a better result.
If you are going through difficult circumstances, first ask God to reveal any hidden sin. When He does, quickly repent and turn away from it. There are always consequences, but just know even when the consequences are bad, we serve a good God and when it is all said and done, God will always bring about a better result.
Published on Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 11:37 AM CDT