My friend and I like to share interesting passages of Scripture which we find in our regular reading, and this morning he sent me two seemingly conflicting passages of Scripture which cause one to think about a very serious issue: does God cause man to sin? The Scriptures in question are:
Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
2 Samuel 24:1
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.
1 Chronicles 21:1
What I do want to bring to light, however, is that God is sovereign in all matters. The opening chapters of Job (Job 1-2) reflect that Satan’s efforts are subject to God. Does this mean God is evil? Not at all. However, in a world that has been corrupted by sin, He allows the cause of sin to run it’s course until His appointed time. Rather, God is good and though evil is permitted a time, it will all come to an end at His word.
Let me illustrate from the above events in David’s sin. As a result of David’s sin, God gave David a choice in the punishment to be received (read 2 Samuel 24:10-25; 1 Chronicles 21:9-30). David chose that the people of Israel would be taken by plague and 70,000 men died because of David’s sin (2 Samuel 24:15; 1 Chronicles 21:14).
In order to bring an end to the plague, God commanded David, through the prophet Gad, to go and build an altar at the place where the angel of destruction had stopped (2 Samuel 24:18; 1 Chronicles 21:18). David did all this and it is here that we discover the future location of the Temple which David desired to be built (1 Chronicles 22:1).
I hope that you get a glimpse that God allows evil but He is, by no means, frustrated by it. Through David’s sin, God turned the situation around to build a place, by which His people could come into His Presence and restore them. A place of worship, prayer, and atonement.
In the same way, generations later, Jesus would be taken to a place named Golgotha, which means “Place of a Skull” (see Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17). In this place of death, Jesus was crucified and died. Yet, it is in this event that the doors into the Presence of God was open and all were invited into the House of God, because Jesus had paid a ransom and freed us from the bonds of sin. Three days later, Jesus would rise again and Golgotha, a place of death, would be forgotten.
God is sovereign. God is good. While evil may have a season upon this earth, it does not and cannot frustrate the plans of God.
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
I pray that whatever circumstances you find yourself in this season of life, for a time, there is hardship, pain, and suffering—but God is there and He will work all this together for good, because He loves you and He is sovereign.