” Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:1, NASB95)
Everything was going beautifully for King David. God’s hand was upon him, blessing everything he did.
Never think that God’s blessings remove you from Satan’s schemes! Even the one who is walking in the will of God can become a target of the Devil’s fiery darts. In fact, those walking in God’s will are especially the targets of those darts. As Satan prowls about seeking whom he may devour, he would especially like a meal that would provide him evil nourishment for some time to come. The man or woman of God who is walking in God’s will becomes a major target.
So David, under the hand of God, had a confrontation with the Devil. Likely David did not recognize Satan. David possibly even thought the stirring in his heart to number Israel was a stirring from God. David succumbed. In the following verses, Joab receives the instruction to count Israel and, as a trusted advisor, tries to get David to change his mind, “but the King’s word prevailed” even though “the King’s command was abhorrent to Joab” (1 Chron. 21:4, 6).
In the New Testament we are told to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). Because of the depravity of man, we cannot trust ourselves! When your heart is stirred, is it from God or from Satan?
There are two measures to protect you. First, “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18). This armor includes the “belt of truth” and the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”. Test the spirits using truth that comes from God’s Word. David’s numbering of the people was a sign of putting his faith in his own strength rather than the might of God. Second, gather around the people of God and see what they have to say. If trusted Christian advisors have a word of caution, be very careful. Had David listened to his advisor, he would have saved himself and Israel much harm.
Lord, “deliver us from evil!”
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White