May 8; The Last Word

2 Samuel 24:1-25, 15:7-36; 1 Chronicles 21:1-30

Recently I have been challenged, I believe by God, to read His Word and try not to assume facts that aren’t written there, or to tweak my own interpretation of His Words to fit what I’ve always heard it meant. It’s been a difficult, and exciting journey.

But then I come across verses like 2 Samuel 24:1. I read what it says, but how do I reconcile that with other verses in the Bible that clearly say God does not tempt us to sin? That nothing bad exists in God?

Then to complicate matters, the same account recorded in I Chronicles puts the temptation to sin squarely on Satan’s shoulders. So which is it? Did God incite David to sin or did Satan?

I don’t know about you, but I can confidently say it wasn’t God. (James 1:13; I John 1:5) The “he” is 2 Samuel 24:1 has to refer to Satan, as is seen in I Chronicles 21:1.

In my resolve to read God’s Word for what it says, I am reminded it will never contradict itself. When I come to a verse that doesn’t seem to fit, I need to look at it as part of a whole.

For example, the Old Testament Jews were instructed to mete out an eye for an eye kind of justice. Letting that verse stand on its own would seem to support a physical maiming of people guilty of a crime. But is there any evidence in the rest of Scripture that a person lost a tooth for knocking out another person’s tooth, or lost an eye for injuring someone else’s eye? I’m not saying they didn’t. I’m just saying God doesn’t record that they did.

In the context in which it was written concerning a judicial system, those words might indicate that the penalty should equal the crime. (Speculation on my part.) Then Jesus in Matthew 5, uses the “eye for an eye” to tell us to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who are bad to us.

I always try to personalize what God has said in His Word because I believe He wrote those things to me. I do have opinions, and interpretations. But I am not an authority. I don’t have the last word. And I can be wrong.

But God can’t. That’s why I am challenged to let God’s Word speak for itself. All of it. That’s why when I read something I question, I look to God’s Word for the answers. I don’t know. This post today seems to be me thinking out loud. I’m not sure why I’m even going to post it.

Except maybe someone today needs to be encouraged to put aside their assumptions or maybe even their commentaries, and let God speak for Himself. These words we read in the Bible are God-breathed for our benefit. Maybe it’s time we get back to basics and just let God have the last word.

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