I wonder how many times I zip through passages in my bible reading without digging out the true meaning of a passage. I hope I'm not the only one who does this! :) How many times do you have questions about what you've just read, only to put the question out of your mind and go on to the next familiar passage?
These days I'm trying to dig deeper into what I'm reading during my daily quiet time with God. Consequently, I've had to get up a little earlier to accomodate my new quest. However it has been rewarding. Last night's reading was interesting. As I finished up 2 Samuel I came to the following passage:
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Samuel 24:1
I had lots of questions here. First, why was God's anger kindled again against Israel? Hard telling. I supposed that Israel might have been up to no good again. Next, I was confused about it appearing that God caused David to sin by causing him to go number Israel and Judah?'. I knew that God doesn't tempt people to sin (James 1:5) so there must have been another answer. The answer here can't be found unless we go digging, which for once, I decided to do. In the cross-reference of my bible, I checked out the following passage in 1 Chronicles 21:1 which further elaborated on my passage in question:
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
Interesting, huh? Satan is everywhere in the bible. While God is in control of everything, God still allowed Satan to tempt David, just as He allowed Satan to harass Job (Job 1:6-9). Unfortunately, David succombed to the temptation, probably due to pride and counted the people. God's judgment on the people ensued, and David was in a way God's instrument of punishment on a nation He was angry against anyway. Why didn't God just punish Israel instead of getting poor old David involved? Maybe God wanted to humble David just a wee bit more. Who knows. But the story is interesting nonetheless.
So what lessons can we learn here in the midst of all my fun and babbling about this?
1) Sometimes bible study involves not being lazy.
2) Satan was present in Job's day. Satan was present in David's day. And Satan is present in our day. Be on the lookout for his wiley ways.
3) While the bible may have apparent contradictions, there are no real contradictions. Dig a little deeper to find the truth.
4) God is still in control.
Until next time...