When God Contradicts Himself?


What do you do when the Bible seems to contradict itself?

1 Chronicles 21:1 “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel”

2 Samuel 24:1 “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”

Notice how in one account it says that God incited David to takes a census, but in another it says Satan incited David. Now I’m no expert on scripture, but what I would have thought to be important is always distinguish between God and Satan!

The probable reality of the story is that God used Satan to incite David, to teach both him and all Israel an important lesson. A very similar thing happened with Job; God allowed Satan to rampage through Job’s life in order to magnify Job’s righteous character. Therefore it stands to reason that God may do a similar thing with us today; to allow death and evil to affect our lives for a greater purpose.

I wonder then if we can sometimes come to an all too simplistic view of spiritual battles. Often we adopt the complex of it being God vs Satan, as if Satan is an equal and opposite force to God. This is not the truth. Satan is one of God’s created beings and God is sovereign over all.

When encountering spiritual battles and tough situations, we always want God to fight for us and resolve the situation, when the reality may be that God is the one letting it all happen. Perhaps those times are more about relationship with God rather than God bringing the answer. Perhaps God is always sovereign and in control over every situation. Perhaps there is a greater purpose to be found in our spiritual battles and tough situations.


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