David's Heart Struck Him

Today's devotion from 2 Samuel 23 & 24.

2 Samuel 23-24 ends this book, but the ending is a bit awkward. Chapter 23 communicates David's last words, but chapter 24 continues the story arc. What's even more odd is the content of chapter 24. God became angry with Israel, so, "The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again, and he stirred up David against them.'" (vs 1) Would God, could God, cause David to sin?

What does the author mean here when he apparently implies that it is God who incited David to sin? We must interpret Scripture in light of Scripture. Therefore, we must wrestle with what appears to be a discrepancy.  1 Chronicles 21:1 offers a different perspective in that it is Satan that causes David to sin. Which is it? Can God cause people to sin?

What is the author of 2 Samuel saying? Some point to passive and active acts of the Lord that could speak to this issue. However, I believe he is telling us that God has judged the sin in the hearts of David and the people. As an active form of judgment, God then removed the hedge of protection that had so benefited David and all of Israel. God then invited Satan, as with Job, to test the people, only this time God knew the outcome would be chastisement that would bring David and the people to their senses.

In other words, God will allow sinners to act sinfully in order to teach them a valuable lesson on the consequences of sin. This is, in fact, the main point. The culprit is neither God nor Satan, but sinful man who is wicked even in the midst of bountiful blessing.

As we ponder this, perhaps our hearts might strike us? Have there been times in your life when you blamed God for an outcome that was merely the logical result of your own choices? I can think of one or two times when, maybe I didn't blame God, but I didn't exactly own up to the part I played in creating a difficult situation.

Today, I pray for strength to own my faults. I'm embracing the truth that seeing my weakness will drive me closer to my Father. Will you join me in choosing God over sin?