King David, beloved of the Lord, is enticed by Satan and sins; as a result 70,000 people die (21:14). What does the king do to stop the plague (21:26)? David continues gathering material for Solomon to build the Temple.
We could reason, why was it a sin to number the people? Did not the Lord command that a census be taken in the wilderness (Num. 1:1-3; 26:2)? Then too, wasn't census-taking customary with other kings in order to know the size of their army in case of war? In spite of all our questions, the Bible reveals that this decision was instigated by a supernatural enemy of all mankind: Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it (I Chr. 21:1). Satan, the adversary, was permitted to influence David to authorize the census. Sin is man's own choice to act, and a righteous God judges every sin.
Did David want to know and boast of his army's power? Did he momentarily lose sight of his true Source of strength? Did thoughts of pride or praise from others entice David to overlook the requirements of God for a census?
David's sin was that of human nature and appears most natural, but David failed to pray as he often did before making a decision. Few are conscious that Satan is so powerful in prompting sin which appears on the surface to be human nature. Be assured that wherever there is a ministry being done for Christ, Satan will tempt us to "humbly" brag what God could do through us. But it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23). It is of utmost importance that we never forget that Jesus said: Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). We also are assured: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13) as we read all the Lord's directions in the Bible. It alone is the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). This was true when Satan, the tempter (Matt. 4:3), challenged the Lord in the wilderness temptation. Christ withstood him without wavering by quoting Scripture. Then, the devil leaveth Him (4:3-11). We are assured the devil . . . will flee from you. . . . (If you) draw nigh to God (James 4:7-8).
Our Lord said Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth . . . a liar. . . . the prince of this world (John 8:44; 12:31; 14:30), revealing our adversary as possessing the skill of a mastermind, directing, with executive ability, his work in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2).
Thought for Today:
Knowing the Word of God keeps us from falling for Satan's deceptions.
Through the altar David built to sacrifice unto the Lord so that Israel might be restored to a right relationship with God (I Chr. 21:18,26). Only through Christ can we be restored to a right relationship with God. We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24).
21:13 a great strait =b> deep distress; 21:15 repented Him of the evil =b> felt compassion due to man's repentance and intercession; 22:3 without weight =b> beyond calculation; 23:1 old and full of days =b> reached old age; 23:6 courses =b> divisions or groups; 23:11 in one reckoning =b> counted together; 23:24 by their polls =b> individually, by census, head counts.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Iva Jo Swinsburg • Staff: Benjamin Wallace • Government Official: Sen. Tom Udall (NM) • Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Swahili • Religious freedom • 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray to be content with and thankful for the things you have (Heb. 13:5).
Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 5
Memory Verse for the Week: John 1:5