Doing Battle With Satan
Scripture reading for April 20th: 1st Chronicles 17-20
God’s people and their leaders are always in a spiritual battle. Even when things seem to be going well and there is a time of peace, Satan never sleeps or slacks off. In fact, it is often during the good times that we let down our guard and relax our watchfulness and Satan takes advantage!
David went through a time like this. Even though his fighting men were out fighting the Lord’s battles, David stayed home. It appears that David was motivated by pride to conduct a census of all the fighting men in Israel and David told Joab and his army commanders to do the counting. Joab wisely tried to stop David, but David did not listen. Scripture says that Satan incited David to do this and bring judgment on Israel. (1st Chronicles 21:1-6)
Joab did not like this command, but he did it anyway. God did not like it either and He punished Israel. David then came to his senses, admitted guilt, and asked God to take away his guilt. Sin has consequences and though God is merciful, He must also be just. God gave David three choices: “Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord–days of plague in the land with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.” (1st Chronicles 21:11-12)
David chose to fall into the hands of God rather than the hands of men, for he knew God’s mercy was great. Seventy thousand men of Israel died during the plague. Then David saw an angel with his sword extended toward Jerusalem. David cried out for mercy and took responsibility. The angel told him to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah. David bought the land and offered a sacrifice to stop the plague. This site was the place where the Temple would eventually be built.
The battle against Satan is a real one for all of us. There are unseen forces of evil and good arrayed in battle every day. We must stand firm to be victorious. We have a King who has taken our guilt and paid the price for us by sacrificing His own body on the cross. He defeated Satan and ever prays for us, keeping God’s judgment away!