Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:1
Joab smelled trouble immediately and told his uncle so. In all of Israel there was not enough room for both God’s glory and David’s swelled head. Nevertheless, to keep his own, Joab completed the task in roughly nine months. It was a proper gestation period to bring forth the monstrous consequence – 70,000 innocent men dead of disease and Jerusalem on the verge of catastrophic judgment. “It is I who have sinned,” a horror-struck David cried out and built an altar on the threshing floor of Ornan, because there he was fully convicted and utterly pardoned. Israel’s official place of worship in those days was at Gibeon, but his sin had so alienated him from God that in cowering fear the king avoided it.
The devil made me do it? Must we remove the weighty crown of shiny self-delusion and confess with David, “It is I who have sinned!”? Satan’s role as scapegoat is not worth beans if a ruffian like Joab can plainly see what is cooking. There is one good thing to be said for the Adversary. His sudden interest in us can tip us off to imminent spiritual danger. When we develop a certain itch and Satan offers his soothing scratch, we had better flee at once to God at Gibeon, lest we be made to report to Ornan’s place for a thrashing. He offered it to David for his altar, but the king insisted on paying the full price. So does the most humble of kings who arranged for the most stunning plot twist of all. By His stripes, He insists, we get healed of our follies and failures. (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: Today’s western culture dismisses mankind’s’ sinfulness and a holy God’s wrath as an oddity of anachronistic religion. Multitudes of false shepherds have jumped on its bandwagon and foolish churchgoers flock to them more itchy to feel good than to live right. Their forked tongues are wagged by Satan who promotes the perks of successful living in terms of readily identifiable prosperity, satisfying self-rule, and anything-goes sexuality. Two university professors in the 70s made it their goal to rationalize immorality until it would become normalized enough so that opponents could be demonized. No celebrity preacher will bother to expound Genesis 19, Leviticus 19 and 20, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy, the so-called “clobber passages.” Thus, Sodom was destroyed because of their “lack of hospitality.” Only a homophobic minority has not yet evolved enough to appreciate the beauty of today’s rainbow-colored diversity. The Apostle Paul threw gossips, kidnappers, swindlers, drunkards and the greedy into the mix as the unfazed conciliator who wrote to the Corinthian church, “And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…” Notice the threefold “but,” meaning that Satan has to butt out when grace kicks in. But why, some might ask, did I start with David’s sin and end with bashing false teachers? Thousands of men lost their lives then; millions of the misled today face a Christless eternity. My life verse borrowed from Paul compels me, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain…” Satan butts out when Jesus says, “It is written…” 1 Chronicles 21