Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dealing with Discrepancy

"Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census." 2 Samuel 24:1

"Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel." 1 Chronicles 21:1

Do you see my problem here? As far as I can tell, this is the first time I've noticed conflicting explainations in scripture. The Samuel passage refers to "the Lord" causing the census and the Chronicles writting gives credit to Satan. Is your mind like mine? Does it question and wonder which one is correct?

At a young age my Mom taught me the following verse from God's Word, "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain" Titus 3:9. I like the way The Message puts it, "...concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone. Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere."

We could spend hours debating over the source of David's prompting, but we need to hold onto truth. What do we KNOW from God's Word?

James 1:13 tells us that God does not tempt anyone. God cannot, nor can He, be tempted. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, our own nature makes us vulnerable to temptation. We can be tempted, but God will always provide an alternate way.

So, God does not tempt us, but He may allow us to be tempted in order to test, prove or help us grow. We certainly saw this earlier as we studied the life of Job. God must have seen something in David's heart that needed to be exposed.

God also did provide a "way out". Joab pleaded with David not to take a census. He knew that a military census was contrary to faith in God. The size of the army meant nothing. Victory would only come through God. David desired to know the strength of his army. His motive was pride.

God gives us freedom. We can't be free to choose unless we have a choice. David chose to disregard Joab's warning and Israel met God's judgement.

I don't want to end there though.

"Now David's heart troubled him after he had numbered the people" 2 Samuel 24:10.

David's conscience bothered him after he had taken the census. Again we see why David is a man after God's own heart. He was far from perfect, but his heart was sensitive to God. Deep inside David's inner man he felt God's displeasure at what he had done.

Have you ever been troubled by something in your spiritual walk? If so, what have you done about it? Have you ignored it and just continued in the same direction? Or, did you stop, admit your error, confess and repent and allow God to deal with you concerning this matter?

David's compromise with pride caused many lives to be taken. We may question, how can God do such things? A more honest question may be, how can God stop when He does, fully knowing what we deserve? He owes us nothing. We don't deserve any of His benefits. It is only and always because of His grace that we don't receive what we deserve.

If a godly man like David can make mistakes, so can we. We need to be accountable; we need to heed sins consequences and we need to take His Word seriously. This will protect us from flirting with danger, rejecting His Word and denying His Lordship.

We will not always understand or be able to explain certain acts of God. His ways are higher than ours and we may not have all the facts or the ability to comprehend His actions. At times like this, we need to hold tightly to what we do know and keep walking by faith.

"Help me to understand. And where I can't understand, help me to trust. And where I can't trust, help me to overcome my unbelief." Ken Gire.

"Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins." Eric Liddell.

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1 comment:

Laura said...

Oh, I needed to read this tonight, Joy. thank you. Especially that last quote by Eric Liddell spoke to me. I am in some wrecked circumstances right now, and surly need reminded that God is not powerless in this...indeed, He will use it for good.