Gad’s Situational Truth Led Him To Conclude That God Was Against David.
In the 2 Samuel narrative, Gad’s frame of reference for evaluating the situation assumed that God did both good and evil.
He may have been swayed by his emotional closeness to the situation, and he was undoubtedly aware of David’s recent sin of adultery with Bathsheba. He may have concluded that David was out of favor with God and that God was still looking for ways to punish him. He faced the same problem as Job did in that he may not have been aware that there was another force working against David and Israel. He was unaware that Satan was the force that influenced David’s decision.
Gad’s situational or relative truth is what led him to conclude that God was against David and Israel.
Awareness of evil was certainly a revelation in the Old Testament, but there was very little knowledge of the central, evil personage, Satan. The book of Job exemplifies this problem and shows what resulted from a lack of understanding (see Ideolatry, Chapter 11, p. 119). It is no wonder that there is confusion when God, the one that they looked to for blessings, was also the one whom they expected would bring evil upon them! The reality of the situation is evidenced in Numbers 23:19. God does not change.
Numbers 23:19 (ERV)
God is not a man; he will not lie. God is not a human being; his decisions will not change. If he says he will do something, then he will do it. If he makes a promise, then he will do what he promised.
David’s situation was clearly a temptation. Satan did have some information on recent sinful activity with which to remind and convict David. If this did occur, David failed to overcome the challenge. The narrative of 2 Samuel says that God moved David to take the census and number the people. The Hebrew word translated moved is . It is referenced in Strong’s as OT:5496. It is the same word encountered in Job 2:3 when Satan moved God to come against Job without cause (see p. 131).
“moved” - Strong’s OT:5496 , cuwth (sooth);
perhaps denominative from 7898; properly, to prick, i.e. (figuratively) stimulate; by implication, to seduce: (Translated in the KJV as - entice, move, persuade, provoke, remove, set on, stir up, take away.)
This word in the Hebrew clearly implies a condition of provocation or temptation. For something to be a temptation, a wrong choice must lead to disobedience or sin. However, the New Testament book of James concludes that God cannot be tempted, nor does He tempt any man. James 1:13-16 provides us a good understanding of how God operates.
James 1:13-16 (NIV)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.
James 1:13-16 (CEV)
13 Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others. 14 We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. 15 Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead. 16 Don’t be fooled, my dear friends.
David faltered in his actions and from his dedication to God’s direction and leading. He was tempted and drawn away from God simply because of fear and doubt. David was tempted, just like Eve was when the serpent spoke to her in the garden (see Ideolatry p. 94). His temptation from Satan may have sounded something like this:
Come on David, you don’t really think that God is going to come through for you with that huge Philistine army, do you? Don’t you re- member that sin with Bathsheba. Certainly, you will have to do this on your own, and you don’t even have the manpower to pull it off, do you?
David may have thought, “That’s right, God is not going to give me the victory. I had better be sure that I can manage this situation on my own with the strength of my army. I don’t have faith in God to come through for me.” He could have thought that either because of his sin or because of the way the odds appeared to be set against him.
Unlike David and the rest of humanity, God is always the same. He does not falter. He seeks to bless, save, and give life, rather than to curse, reject, and kill.
The problem with mankind is that it views the actions and heart of God the same way it sees itself, very fickle and untrustworthy and with questionable motives. However, even with this understanding, sometimes it is difficult to hang on to what God has promised by faith. It is easy to fall into doubt and question the covenant assurances that God has provided especially in light of very severe circumstances.
I hope my blog posts help you grow in your faith and Biblical understanding. I would like to invite you on a journey of further spiritual growth by purchasing the Ideolatry Book and Study Guide. Together, these tools will give you a strong Biblical foundation when life is difficult to understand.
May the Lord bless you and keep you... Dr. Rich Masek
Do you want to learn more about this subject?
Read Chapter 17, The Numbering Of Israel - A Threat Assessment
in Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem
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