The LORD Is Over ALL
A common question among Christians is “Why do bad things happen to so-called good Christian people?” This paper may lead in better understanding of all the happenings in the Christian’s life... how that they all work for our eternal good.
Now consider how that at first these two verses concerning the same Biblical account… appear to be at odds.
2 Samuel 24:1 (KJV) And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV) And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
But, actually these two verses are not as contradictory as they might appear? Let’s me explain.
First, we need to understand that the Lord is The Lord over all things – both the good and the evil. He uses but limits the movements of Satan to provide the necessary ‘negative’ in the world when it is useful to God in achieving His righteous intended and eternal purposes. We vividly see and learn this in the trials of Job’s life.
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. “Job 1:1 (KJV)
“And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [shuns] evil?
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he [Job] hath is in thy power; only upon himself [his life] put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:8-12 (KJV)
So, Job was considered a righteous man even in the beginning, but it is only at the end of Job’s suffering, trials, and losses he is blessed greater than before his losses and… he affirms His trust in the Lord. The account of Job’s trials of life conveys great truth concerning God’s work in the life of believers. After much suffering, Job’s correction from the Lord bears’ fruit.
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6 (KJV)
The fact is the Lord uses “all things,” including the negative, in accord with His righteous eternal purpose.
“I [the Lord] form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil [Heb. ra’, the negative of adversity, troubles]: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)
Our Lord works through or by what is called the Biblical ‘dialectical principle.’ In God’s creation you cannot have the positive without there being the negative… as seen by such simple observation as sweet/sour, up/down, hot/cold, etc. In fact, the battery in your automobile will have no useful power unless the two cables are firmly attached to the positive and negative pole on the battery. Without this nothing moves.
God uses the negative happenings in our live to move us along toward learning to live by Him, trusting Him. Consider this this from Norman Grubb speaking about the same principle,
“All that happens to man in his present fallen condition has its own definite purpose, not of judgment, but of restoration.
Suffering and sorrow is the will of God in this sense, that disobedience must have its due penalties and consequences, or there could be no ethical or rational basis to God's government. But the purpose, in grace, is not penal, but redemptive. Imperfection in all forms is God’s finger pointing to perfection.
It makes a tremendous difference to our outlook and actions when we realize this, for we learn to recognize that weakness, shortages, failures, disappointments, all that is short of the ideal, which are in God’s order for this age, are for one purpose only: as parables, as figures, as signposts, pointing to the hidden sufficiency: types pointing to prototypes.
It is the ‘dialectical relationship’: if there are weaknesses, there is strength: if shortages, then supply: if failures, then success. Thus we read that Adam was “the figure of him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14)--the “first Adam,” the failure, pointed to the necessity in God's purpose of perfection, of a “last Adam” (1Cor 15:45), the fulfilment, and to the certainty that the Perfect One was already there in the invisible, ready to be revealed in due time.”
Thus, we see how it is that the Lord used Satan to provide the ‘negative’ for His purposes in both 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1, both working toward the same end, which was God’s purpose and intent.
2 Samuel 24:1 (KJV) 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.
1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV) 1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
We learn from these passages that Satan can do nothing against a child of God, unless and until God allows it for our eternal good and in accord with His purposes. He permits Satan a limited power to provide the negative in this world for the ultimate outworking of the Lord’s eternal purposes. In the account we are discussing the Lord permitted Satan to bring merited judgment upon men. As to why the Lord allowed this against David you need only to read through 1Chronicles 21:1-8. The point is that;
“… we know that ALL things [the positive and the negative] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His Purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate To Be Conformed To The Image Of His Son…” Romans 8:28-29 (KJV)