Provoked by Satan or God?


What is different between 1st Chronicles 21:1 and 2nd Samuel 24:1? Chronicles says David was provoked by Satan to number Israel but 2nd Samuel 24 say by God?

1Ch 21:1 “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”

2Sa 24:1 “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.”


Satan obviously provoked David to number Israel in the sense of tempting him to do this for the evil purpose he did it for.  God obviously didn’t work with Satan to tempt David to do this numbering.  However God left David’s yielding to this temptation unchecked so that David was able to follow through with this action which would be a source of judgment upon the whole nation since God was angry with the nation as a whole.

So then it’s logical to ask “Why didn’t God just judge the nation anyways before David did this numbering’  And I’d answer that since David was going to do what he did anyways if God didn’t intervene and stop him somehow from doing this, it was fitting that God chasten David and judge the nation through David’s foolish action since this was what was fitting to teach David the lesson he hadn’t yet learned sufficiently (not to trust in the strength of the numbers regarding Israel’s population); and this lesson was driven home hard by the judgment of reducing Israel’s population.  And it was also fitting for God to make this calamity that came upon Israel as a nation to be an object lesson for David since God was already angry at the nation as a whole for other reasons.

When Satan has ideas and plans God can put it in people’s hearts to cooperate or not cooperate with Satan’s plans depending on what God’s ideas and plans are.  Again, this is not saying that God works together with Satan or that God causes people to be evil.  If a man’s heart is set upon the lusts of the world and he is going to gratify self in some way to transgress God’s commandments, God is able to turn his heart to choose or reject specific actions based on how doing so could accomplish things that God wants accomplished.  This has to do with what it means that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Obviously God wanted Pharaoh to be obedient to Him and do what was righteous- but since Pharaoh wasn’t going to do that, God gave him over to make the decisions which would most glorify God and magnify His power.  God could have overwhelmed Pharaoh and worked in his heart in ways that would have made him let Israel go right away for reasons that stemmed merely from self-preservation and convenience while he still had a stubborn attitude against God.

God never moves someone to choose evil, but He can righteously work in their heart TO SOME EXTENT even in their unrighteous state to move them to choose or reject specific actions WITHOUT OVERRIDING THEIR FREE WILL.  If God wants to judge one wicked man, he can cause circumstances whereby another man who is wicked enough to murder of his free will comes to be intent on killing this man whom God has decided to judge; while God could have moved the same man who was the instrument of judgment to not want to go to the trouble and risk of murdering him if God had decided to instead show the man mercy.  We usually could not trace why bad things happen other than that this is a fallen world filled with evil people who will not cease to do evil until God comes to Judge the world and destroy the wicked altogether.  Yet sometimes for the sake of His people whose prayers He is hearing, for the sake of His gospel going forth, for the purpose of teaching man lessons calculated towards making them obedient to the gospel, and for other related reasons He will work in such a way.

Another instance from Revelation: 

15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.’ (Revelation 17:15-17)” (A.J. CAREY)

We must also NEVER blame GOD as HE will NEVER lead you to sin!

James 1:13-16 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away BY HIS OWN LUST, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth SIN: and SIN, when it is finished, bringeth forth DEATH. 16 Do not err(DO NOT SIN), my beloved brethren.”