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Bible Contradiction? Was it God or Satan?

I must admit. I'm not the type to read the Bible and never question anything, especially when something makes absolutely no sense to me. I think there's a healthy, respectful way to place questions before God when you don't understand something. I had one of these moments about two weeks ago.

I read 2 Samuel 24 and genuinely side eyed God's actions. Basically, it was about David taking a census on Judah and Israel. This was no easy task, it put undue hardship on David's men. They traveled throughout the country for almost 10 months to complete David's census. Before they began the counting, one of David's chief commanders questioned David's request—asked him to reconsider. But David refused.

After the census was completed, the Bible states David was conscious stricken. He admitted he made a foolish mistake and repented. However, God told David that he had three choices to choose from, and all three options resulted in destruction.

God disciples those He loves. Our sins, no doubt, have consequences. I get that. But what threw me off was how the chapter began. From what I read, God was the one who placed it in David's heart to conduct the census. I doubled back to read it... just to make sure I wasn't mistaking.

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.

(2 Samuel 24:1 NIV)

"Okay, so I'm not crazy. God did incite David... so why is David repenting for doing the very thing God placed in his heart to do? Better yet, did God incite David to sin??? That's impossible though, right? God doesn't provoke us to sin. But He DID incite David to take the census, and here is David repenting for the same thing that God incited him to do... umm... explanation, God? Because this doesn't make sense."

These were my thoughts as I read this scripture. I couldn't just blow that off. So, I did a little research. And honestly, I became a little more confused at what I discovered.

This same account was noted in 1 Chronicles 21. Except for in 1 Chronicles, it doesn't say that God incited David. It says someone else did.

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.

(1 Chronicles 21:1 NIV)

"Now, wait just one doggone minute!" is what I said within myself. Is this a blatant biblical contradiction? Who incited David? Was it God or was it Satan? Because it can't be both, right?

God knew I was closing my Bible confused. God knows His daughter; therefore, He knew this would have disturbed me all day. Peace would have evaded me until I received an answer. And wouldn't you know that right when I stood up from my reading, God dropped the answer in my spirit.

I mean, it became so crystal clear to me. I urge anyone who is confused about scripture to ask God to help you understand because He will do it! God brought two other biblical accounts to my recollection.

  1. Job

  2. Joseph

Remember how Job's plight started? Satan was going back and forth like a lion, seeking who he could destroy. Then God suggested Satan try Job? Now, who caused devastation to come upon Job? Was it God or was it Satan? Couldn't we technically say it was both of them?

And Joseph? We know his brothers threw him in the pit and sold him into slavery. But Joesph himself said it wasn't his brothers who sent him to Egypt, but it was God (Genesis 45:8) But wasn't selling Joesph into slavery an evil act? Was it God or Joesph's brothers?

As I thought a bit more on this subject, I also thought about Pharaoh. In Exodus 9:12, it says God hardened Pharoh's heart to ignore Moses. But Exodus 8:32 states Pharoah hardened his own heart. Was it God or Pharoah?

And the answer ladies and gentlemen, is both. It has to be doesn't it? If I said God alone incited David, that would make 1 Chronicles 21 untrue. If I said Satan alone cited David, that would make 2 Samuel 24 false. And to call the Word of God untrue would be heresy.

So, both God and Satan incited David just as scripture says. God has a magnificent way in taking the evil things of the world and molding it to work in His will. So, in essence, David's desire to conduct the census was based in evil. It was a satanic persuasion. Yet God's wrath was against the children of Israel as 2 Samuel 24 states.

So, God simply used the persuasion of Satan (David's sin) and used it to carry out what God had already purposed in His heart. God works within our wrongs to bring about what's right, which is His perfect will.

Remember this in your daily life. There will be times when Satan devises plans for us. God may even allow Satan's plan to go forward. But God wouldn't allow it if it wasn't in His plans to twist Satan's ugly plan into His beautiful will.

I said this last week and I'll say it again today. All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose, that includes the devil's schemes. So, we can rest assured that be it God who incites us or Satan, as long as we are under the grace of God through Jesus Christ, it'll all work out according to God's will and our good.

And that's a wrap you guys! Be Blessed. Lord's will, I'll see you next week. Take Care.


Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Link to book listed below.

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