Today's devotion from 1 Chronicles 21-22.
Why is it now, in this moment, that Satan stands against Israel? Why is it now that David fails in such a, seemingly, trivial matter considering the fact that he had just come off wins against three major adversaries (Ammonites, Syrians, and Philistines)? I believe that part of the answer becomes visible when we search through the ripples created by this event.
First, if we are right in our understanding of the roles of Satan and God in the taking of the census, then we are to understand that Satan has been in the presence of God. We will see in Job that Satan apparently has permission to enter into God's presence on occasion of summons. We have a couple of different examples of this in Job 1 and 2, 2 Chronicles 18, and, depending on your own personal eschatological bent, Revelation 12. So, could it be that God, as attributed in 2 Samuel 24, summoned Satan in order to allow him to sift Israel?
If this is so, then it could be possible that God also let Satan in on something He was about to do? Something that would surely stir His Adversary to some diabolical action. What event could I be referencing? How is God's wrath appeased? How is the pestilence is finally averted? It has something to do with the threshing floor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite.
It is this event that introduces us to the place upon which the temple will be built. This sequence of events points us squarely at the place where we will soon see sacrifices offered time and again; sacrifices that could not really wash away the sin of the people, but with every drop of blood the people were declaring their desperate need for salvation. Here, in this place, the pestilence ceased and the angel sheathed his sword. Here, David would pronounce, shall be the house of the LORD God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel. This account of arrogant and prideful sin drips with hope and redemption.
Maybe today you find yourself in a difficult place? Maybe sin has crept into your life, or the wake of another's sin is causing turmoil? If that is the case, do not despair. God has a way of redeeming even the worst situation, coving fear with hope and failure with grace.