1 Chronicles 21:1 “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
There is not a man that walks the face of this earth who will do so without sinning. If that were possible, the Word of God would be of none effect.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
There are the sins of our choosing. There are sins we commit inadvertently. Then there are the sins we commit after giving in to a great temptation; an oppression of the enemy. Our flesh rises up. Our minds are ill-affected. We give in to our anger. We tire of fighting in the flesh. We are holding to the wrong perspective and not seeking God.
Whatever the circumstances may be, our enemy knows after millennia of studying his prey, just what presses us out of measure and brings us to a place where we are most vulnerable to sin. It may be that we are continually tired, depressed, overworked, bullied, separated in our relationships, and find ourselves in dire straits. He has watched us and studied us.
What catches our eye. What causes us to linger. What pulls us from seeking God and prayer. He uses our own weaknesses against us.
John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
There is a propensity in us to want sin; to look at it, touch it, handle it, smell it, drink it in.
Hebrews 11:25 “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”
Moses was presented with an opportunity. At that time, he had a choice to go back to the life of luxury or choose God’s way which was in total opposition to everything he knew. In our text, we learn where the motivation David received in numbering the people.
One of the principles we use in our RU Recovery addictions program is this:
“You cannot fight a fleshly temptation by indulging in it.”
Often, the temptation is strong. We may have been caught off guard. We may have been pressed for a long time and become so wore down, we just give in. Whatever the case, our mind begins to justify the sin. ‘I’m going to sin. Why am I fighting this? Why don’t I just give in and get clean later?’ Whatever the reasoning, we are flawed.
Paul was very transparent with us in this very thing. He shares that there was a messenger of Satan sent to buffet, or beat on him. He was so pressed out of his spirit, he sought God to remove it. He thought; “I could do so much more if I didn’t have to deal with this _______.” We are not given what it is exactly.
Some conjecture it was his eyesight. Others think him crippled from the stonings he received. In any case, it was enough for him to go to God three times to have Him remove it. God reveals to him – and to us – the reason for leaving the temptation, the trial, the wound, cancer, the opposition: that He would receive the glory through it.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
So, there are two things at work here. I must know myself; what are my weaknesses? If I were the devil, where would I attack me? Then, realizing I have areas where I am vulnerable, I need to go to God to be my strength; to fight my battles for me. I must not allow my pride to keep me from relying wholly and totally on God to sustain me in my weakest of moments.
Secondly, when I fall – not if, but when; I must keep short accounts with God and go to Him directly. I must not wait. linger or dawdle. The time between my sin and my confession and repentance should be so very short. God is like the prodigal’s father who stood to wait for his son to come back. He has forgiveness in ready – all saved children of God are already forgiven – we just need to restore the relationship again.
When Peter was told he was going to deny Christ, Jesus could have scolded him for his weakness or told him He would give him the strength to not sin as he would. Jesus saw past what was inevitable and helped Peter to see what to do afterward.
You and I have a choice. We always have a choice. But do we take the time to think it through? Do we apply the law of sowing and reaping? Do we choose to stay a while longer in our sin, or come to God and get clean?
Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. I am one and so are you. It is what we choose to do after we sin that truly matters. God made the way; I must humbly and willingly follow.