4 Minute Read


1 Chronicles 19:1–21:30
Romans 2:25–3:8
Psalm 11:1-7
Proverbs 19:10-12


1 Chronicles 21:1-2, 7


In our Bible reading this morning, we were once again made aware that there is so much about our God that we cannot understand. His ways are so much higher than our own.

Because of this and more, we will be in joyful, captive amazement for all eternity and never grow tired or bored of worshiping our God.

Specifically, we were confronted with a biblical truth that is a topic of debate among Christians and has been for centuries. It is the fact that God is free to do as He pleases while at the same time allowing mankind to do as we please (within our available options). And yet, He is able to work out His perfect will without ever going to “Plan B.”

How He accomplishes this is something I could only make feeble attempts to explain. I feel like a kindergarten student trying to explain a college calculus equation. I can do my best to understand it but I am left in amazement at the complexity of it and my God.

But, my lack of understanding in no way delegitimizes the truth.

In our Bible reading today, we read of a story that shows the complexity of this issue. King David numbered the people of Israel and got in trouble with God for doing so. Apparently, David was relying upon his military might instead of relying upon the Lord.

We may raise the question: “Who was responsible for David’s action of numbering the people?” The Bible states that there were three who were responsible:


1 Chronicles 21:17 (CSB): “David said to God, ‘Wasn’t I the one who gave the order to count the people? I am the one who has sinned and acted very wickedly…’ ”


1 Chronicles 21:1 (CSB): “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel.”


2 Samuel 24:1 (CSB): “The Lord’s anger burned against Israel again, and he stirred up David against them to say: ‘Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.’ ”

Did God determine that David would number the people? Yes.

Did David make his decision to number the people of his own free will without any divine coercion? Yes.

Did Satan accomplish his own desires by getting David to number the people? Yes.

All of these are true. We cannot fully understand it but our inabilities do not negate this biblical principle.

Does the Bible teach that God exercises divine control over His creation and makes sovereign choices that have eternal ramifications? Are words like “predestination”, “election,” and other such words in Scripture? Is Ephesians 1:11 true where it says that God “works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will”? Absolutely!

Is mankind free to exercise their free will and make choices that have eternal ramifications (John 1:12-13; Galatians 5:13; 2 Peter 3:9; etc.)? When someone ends up in Hell, does Jesus place the blame squarely upon the shoulders of the one who didn’t believe (John 3:18)? Absolutely!

The Bible teaches both. So, believe them both.

A church father once said: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” (Saint Augustine).

There may be some great truth in that statement!