Incite: 1) to encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior), 2) to urge or persuade (someone) to act in a violent or unlawful way. bing.com
1 Chronicles 21:1, “Now Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.” Modern English Version
God was angry with the people of Israel. It is not clear why, but 1 Samuel 24:1 starts with the word “again.” God chose to test Israel by encouraging David to number them.
2 Samuel 24:1, “Again the Lord became angry against Israel, and He incited David against them, saying, ‘Go and count the people of Israel and Judah.’ ” Modern English Version
“. . . Although scripture is clear that God does not cause anyone to sin (James 1:13-14), it is also clear that the evil acts of people and Satan are under God’s sovereign control (Exodus 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27: 11:10; 14:4, 8; Joshua 11:20; 1 Kings 22:22-23; Job 1:12; 2:6; Ezekiel 3:20; 14:9; Acts 4:28). . . . David’s military census (see vv. 2-3) does not appear to have been prompted by any immediate external threat. Since he wanted to ‘know how many there are’ (v. 2), it is evident that his action was motivated by pride in the size of the empire he had acquired, by reliance for his security on the size of the reserve of manpower he could muster in an emergency or, more likely, by both. The mere taking of a census was hardly sinful (see Numbers 1:2-3; 26:2-4), but in this instance it represented an unwarranted glorying in and dependence on human power rather than the Lord (not much different from Israel’s initial desire to have a king for its security; see 1 Samuel 8-12). The act was uncharacteristic of David (see 22:2-4; 47-51; 1 Samuel 17:26, 37, 45-47).” New International Version Study Bible Notes
The Book of the Law was clear about how to take a census. King Asa took a census in 2 Chronicles 14:8 and King Amaziah took one in 2 Chronicles 25:5. The result of David’s census was never recorded, (see 1 Chronicles 27:23, 24).
Exodus 30:12, “When you take a census of the children of Israel according to their number, then each man is to pay a ransom for his life to the Lord when you count them, so that there be no plague among them when you number them.” Modern English Version
David recognized his motive for the census was wrong, (see 1 Chronicles 21:8). Unfortunately, there are always consequences, (see 1 Chronicles 21:12).
Satan is constantly setting up traps to snare us. Each test, or trap, has to have God’s release, (see Job 1:1-2:6). We do not need to fear because God promised to make a way of escape for each one.
1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, and He will not permit you to be tempted above what you can endure, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Modern English Version
People see what we do. God sees our motives. We see horrible things happening to others. We cannot see their hearts, their motives, or God’s plan for their life. Like Job’s comforters, we do not want to try to explain everything. But follow their example at the beginning.
Job 2:13, “Then they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights. Meanwhile, no one was speaking to him at all because they saw that his pain was severe.” Modern English Version
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