Bible study is something that we should continue to do because we cannot properly understand what we do not study.
Have you ever encountered two Bible passages or verses that you consider impossible to reconcile? How do you view the following Bible verses:
“Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” 2SAMUEL 24:1
,”Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.”- 1CHRONICLES 21:1
The two Bible verses above describe the same event. The first says it was God who incited David while the second says it was Satan who did. Who actually did–God, Satan or both simultaneously?
The Bible is a perfect book without any contradictions. God is not the author of confusion but of peace. However, contradictions generate confusion. Does this now mean that the Bible contain contradictions and, therefore, God is the author of confusion? Certainly not!
It was Satan who first incited David after which God also incited him. What? Does this statement confuse you? See the analysis and explanation below.
ANALYSIS AND EXPLANATION
This section clarifies what it means that Satan incited David as well as what it means that God incited David.
Also, pay attention to this: It is true that the book of 2Samuel which says that God incited David comes before the book of 1Chronicles which says that Satan incited David. However, this does not mean that it was God who first incited David.
(1) HOW SATAN INCITED DAVID EXPLAINED
Satan incited David by tempting him to take a census of Israel and, instead of resisting Satan, David accepted his suggestion contrary to God’s express will. Following this, David developed a stubborn inclination to do what Satan had suggested.
Before I continue, I would like you to know that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with taking a census of the then Israel. Nevertheless, it must be done at God’s command and according to his specifications. In fact, there was a time when a census was taken but it was preceded by God’s command and specifications.
(2) HOW GOD INCITED DAVID EXPLAINED.
I have already stated that it was Satan who first incited David after which God also incited him
Before I explain how God also incited David after Satan had already done so, I want you to read the full quotations below again:
Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.- 2SAMUEL 24:1
1Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. –1CHRONICLES 21:1
[REMINDER: Also, pay attention to this: It is true that the book of 2Samuel which says that God incited David comes before the book of 1Chronicles which says that Satan incited David. However, this does not mean that it was God who first incited David.]
So, God incited David by angrily challenging him to take a census of Israel since he has already resolved to do so in compliance with Satan’s suggestion and in defiance of God’s obvious will. God can tell someone to do something not because he approves of it but out of annoyance when he notices that such a person is intentionally rejecting his will.
For instance, God asked Balaam not to go to Balak to curse Israel and he obeyed but reluctantly. When God saw this, he was displeased. So, the next time Balak sent his officials to summon Balaam, Balaam displayed his dissatisfaction with God’s earlier command not to go to Balak by seeking God’s consent again.
Following this God asked him to go to Balak but when he did, God became angry and sent an angel to oppose him. —NUMBERS 22:1-22. So, you can now see that God can ask one to do something not because he actually likes or approves of it but in anger due to the person’s unwillingness to obey his express command.
There are also instances of God asking Israel to go and seek help from their idols, in times of trouble, instead of him. —JUDGES 10:13-14 & JEREMIAH 2:27-28. Does this mean that God was advocating such an act? No. God was simply expressing his indignation at their refusal to worship him instead of their idols until whenever they run into trouble and their idols prove their uselessness by disappointing them.
God did not tempt David to number Israel. God did not suggest the census. Remember that this particular census was a sin and, so, attracted God’s judgment. Because of this, to say that God tempted David to take the census or that he suggested it to him is to say that God authored the sin and then unjustly brought judgement, as well.
This clearly contradicts the scripture and God’s sense of justice. The Bible says that God does not tempt anyone and that God does not punish the innocent. –JAMES 1:13, PROVERBS 17:26
God’s incitement of David was not a temptation or suggestion to take the census. Rather, it was an angry reaction to David’s resolution to dishonour him and honour Satan, instead.
Note that the second quotation began by saying that God was already angry with Israel, which includes David himself.
Why was God angry with Israel? Because they were habitually rebellious. Why was God angry with David? Because when Satan incited him to count Israel, he did not resist him but quickly accepted his suggestion in defiance of obvious divine will thereby developing a stubborn inclination to take the census.
- Both God and Satan incited David.
- Satan incited David first before God did.
- The incitement by Satan was a temptation for David to sin.
- The incitement by God was not a temptation but an angry reaction to David’s resolution to willfully despise God’s clear will in preference to Satan’s.
- God can ask someone to do something not necessarily because he likes it or want them to but because the person is defying His revealed will.
No contradiction! Meaning of Mark 9 :1 & Luke 9 :27-And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”