Friday, August 16, 2019

The Great Promoter of Sin: Satan

"Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel" (1 Chronicles 21:1).

The Bible teaches that Satan is an angel, a creature of God, and that he led part of the angelic host in rebellion against God. In his hatred of God he has enlisted the human race, as we see in Genesis 3, where in the guise of a serpent he enticed Adam and Eve to sin and lose their fellowship with God.
Satan’s goal is the destruction of everything that shows forth the presence and glory of God. Since human beings are the crown of creation, the very image of God Himself, Satan is determined to destroy humanity. He uses human beings to strike at God, and then destroys them.

How does Satan entice us to sin? He causes us to question the goodness of God and suggests that there is a better way than God’s way. He undermines our confidence in what God says, written in His Word. As Jesus said, he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

Satan does not very often appear in person to people. Usually he promotes his lies through the mouths of people who have taken his side throughout history, people who share his belief that God is unfair. Often these people are found right in the church herself. That is how it was in Jesus’ day, when Satan’s agents were active members of the most conservative of the Jewish groups—the Pharisees. As a creature, Satan can never act without at least the implicit permission of God. He uses Satan as a rod to chastise wayward believers and to teach them important lessons about the kingdom. In Job 1–2 we read that Satan wanted to harm Job, but he could go no more than God allowed.

In 2 Samuel 24:1 we read that “the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He incited David against them, saying, ‘Go and count Israel and Judah.’ ” Yet in 1 Chronicles 21:1 we read that it was Satan who incited David to number the people. Both are true. God was angry with the people so He permitted David to stumble and bring the nation into judgment. The means by which God scourged Israel was permitting Satan to tempt David to sin.

Satan wants us to treat this world as our own, instead of as God’s. David treated Israel as his own people—that was the meaning of his unlawful census. When David repented, he bought the site for the temple, the place where Israel, as God’s people, would be numbered around Him (1 Chronicles 21:17–30, and chapters 22–29). Give back to God those areas of your life Satan has deceived you into treating as your own possession.