Read 1 Chronicles 21
King David, beloved of the Lord, is enticed by Satan and sins; as a result, 70,000 people die (I Chr. 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, census-taking was customary with other kings in order to know what size army they would have in case of war. In spite of all our logical questions, the Bible reveals that this particular 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. Since sin is a choice made by man, a righteous God must administer judgment upon the trespass.
Did David want to ascertain and then boast of his military power? Did he momentarily lose sight of his true Source of strength? Did thoughts of pride as well as praise from others become a means for Satan to entice David to sin by overlooking the requirements of God regarding numbering?
David's sin was that of human nature and appears most natural and innocent. It had the same root of "pride" as that of Nebuchadnezzar whom Jehovah taught by a crushing experience to honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase (Dan. 4:37). Few are aware that Satan is so near or so powerful in prompting sin that appears on the surface to be innocent. Be assured that wherever there is a ministry being done for Christ, Satan's strategy of discrediting the believer and God Himself must be recognized. It is of utmost importance that we read the Lord's directions in the Bible. It alone is our Weapon, the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). This was true when Satan challenged the Lord in the wilderness. Christ withstood him 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 described Satan as a murderer . . . (who) abode not in the Truth . . . a liar. . . . the prince of this world (John 8:44; 12:31; 14:30). This revealed 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:
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, deep distress; 21:15 repented Him of the evil, felt compassion due to man's repentance and intercession; 22:3 without weight, beyond calculation; 23:1 old and full of days, reached old age; 23:6 courses, divisions or groups; 23:11 in one reckoning, counted together; 23:24 by their polls, individually, by census, head counts.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. & Mrs. Walter W. Swanson • Government Official: Sen. Tom Udall (NM) • Country: Grenada (97,000) southernmost of the Windward Islands • Major language: English • Religious freedom • 61% Roman Catholic; 31% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for unity of spirit with other believers (I Pet. 3:8).
Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 5
Memory Verse for the Week: John 15:7