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August 14, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Jeremiah 7-9
Audio: Jeremiah 7-9

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

1 Chronicles 21 (ESV)

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.

But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Choose what you will:12 either three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.”13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people.”

18 Now the angel of the Lord had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out from the threshing floor and paid homage to David with his face to the ground. 22 And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon, 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

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Next: 1 Chronicles 22

Back: 1 Chronicles 20

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1).

    The First Use of the Word "Satan" in Scripture

    In the opening verse of today's chapter, the ESV uses the word Satan for the first time (but this is certainly not his first appearance in Scripture). 

    Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). This includes Satan. When we think of Satan we might be tempted (no pun intended) to question why God would create such a being; knowing he would not only be capable of sinning against God but also leading people away from God and into sin. That's what happened in the Garden of Eden (where he was called "the serpent") and is still happening today.

    It's important to realize God uses Satan to fulfill his purposes. Satan may be powerful but he is subject to the Lord and can only operate with God's permission and according to His will.

    We might remember Jesus saying to Peter, "Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat (Luke 22:31). Some translation say Satan "asked" but the ESV uses a stronger word. One important aspect of this encounter is Jesus has the authority to grant this request. Secondly, Satan can't do anything to Peter (or us) without the consent of God Himself!

    In writing about Satan in the context of 1 Chronicles 21, the ESV Study Bible says: "In 2 Sam. 24:1, it is God himself who in anger incites David against Israel, leading to the census. God’s angelic 'adversary' (which is the meaning of the proper name; see ESV footnote on Job 1:6) is in no sense God’s equal (rather, Satan’s counterpart in the Bible is Michael; see Jude 9; Rev. 12:7–9). Still, the Chronicler wanted his readers to think of Satan’s malice as God’s means of carrying out his will (see note on 2 Sam. 24:1). Nevertheless, David himself sinned in giving in to Satan’s enticement and ordering the census. This census was sinful probably because it arose from David’s presumptuous military ambitions (see 1 Chron. 21:5) and pride, rather than from Yahweh’s express command. In addition, David neglected to levy the poll tax for a census required by Ex. 30:12, an act of disobedience that could bring plague on the people."

    Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 732). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. 

    John MacArthur also writes, "2 Samuel 24:1 reports that it was God who 'moved' David. This apparent discrepancy is resolved by understanding that God sovereignly and permissively uses Satan to achieve His purposes. God uses Satan to judge sinners (cf. Mark 4:15; 2 Cor. 4:4), to refine saints (cf. Job 1:8–2:10; Luke 22:31, 32), to discipline those in the church (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1–5; 1 Tim. 1:20), and to further purify obedient believers (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7–10). Neither God nor Satan forced David to sin (cf. James 1:13–15), but God allowed Satan to tempt David and he chose to sin. The sin surfaced his proud heart and God dealt with him for it."

    MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 585). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.

    Some people are preoccupied with Satan, and it's no surprise since there are denominations perpetuating this fixation. 

    The Bible tells us to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6). We don't ignore the reality of spiritual warfare, but we shouldn't focus on Satan. Our focus should be on God while wearing the armor. After all, Satan's power is limited by what God Himself allows. 


  2. I am learning so much! 

    Often times I've heard people ask, "If there's a God and he loves us so much, why would He allow these terrible things to happen in the world?" "What kind of God would torture and kill His own Son?" "Babies were killed in the Bible and people sacrificed their children! What kind of God would ever want that???"

    I haven't always had a good answer for that, but I did know that if it happened, it was God's will. I never really understood that God uses Satan for His own purposes. 

    Today, the New Age way of thinking always speaks of positivity, self-love, and acceptance of the behaviors of some that are in direct conflict with God's Word. That makes Christians "the bad guys" – we're small-minded, hypocritical and unloving of those who don't live by God's Word. But it's the sinning that is the problem, not the people. We love the people, as Christ did. 

    The way things are nowadays, you can plainly see the cunning, deceptive work of Satan in the world. But as you said, I want to focus on God and His will. 

    I feel I'm better equipped now to answer some questions that I find a lot of people commonly have. 

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