Summary: This message shows how satan tries to provoke the saints of God.
The Provoking of Satan
Text: 1 Chronicles 21:1-8
There are many actions that Satan tries to take against the Christian.
We are told that he –
He accuses the brethren – Rev. 12:10
He seeks to devour the Christian - 1 Pe. 5:8
He tempts the Christian – 1 Cor. 7:5
He tries to take the Christian captive at his will – 2 Tim. 2:26
He tries to hinder the Christian in his work for the Lord –
1 Thess. 2:18
He buffets the Christian – 2 Cor. 12:7
He desires to sift the Christian as wheat – Lk. 22:31
He tries to get the Christian to blaspheme God – 1 Tim. 1:20
He tries to get an advantage of the Christian – 2 Cor. 2:11
He tries to beguile the Christian – 2 Cor. 11:3
He blinds the minds of the nonbeliever from the light of the glorious gospel of Christ – 2 Cor. 4:4
In our passage we see one action that Satan ties to take against the Christian that often overlooked.
Notice 1 Chronicles 21:1, “Satan…provoked David to number Israel.”
The word provoked means = To call into action; to arouse; to excite; as to provoke anger or wrath by offensive words or by injury; to provoke war.
To incite; to rouse; as provoke one to anger.
We want to look at two examples in the Word of God where Satan tried provoked the believer.
In one case we will see that Satan was successful and in another case he was not.
I. The First Case is with King David
Often Satan will provoke the believer to take action that goes against the will of God.
In David’s case we see that Satan was successful because he provoked David to number Israel.
He got David to take a census to see how many men that Israel had.
God was obviously against this as evidenced in verse 7 of 1 Chronicles 21 – Read.
I believe that although pride did enter into it, pride is not the total explanation for the sin.
Notice what the Word of God says in Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Read.
God was not pleased when David took the census because David was not delighting in the Lord.
He was delighting in his own might.
So the thing that motivated him to number the people was the awful sin of unbelief.
David was trusting numbers instead of trusting God.
My friend you don’t feel the need for God when you have a million men.
When you have a slingshot and five stones, you know that you need Him.
The same can be said of this country.
911 – should have made this country realize we need God.
Instead, we are trusting in our economic and military might.
Remember, Satan is behind the scenes provoking our leader as he did David to number our military might and economic resources instead of trusting in God.
As Christians we need to ask ourselves are we allowing Satan to provokes us by numbering what we materially have and to rely on that instead of the Lord?
I believe David learned his lesson.
Listen to what he had to say –
See Psalm 36:5
See Psalm 71:1
II. The Second Case We Want To Look At Is Hannah In
Most are familiar with the story of Hannah who was childless and prayed for a son.
She made a vow to the Lord that if he blessed her with a son that she would dedicate her son to the service of the Lord.
We know that the Lord heard Hannah’s prayer and a son Samuel was born to her.
Further, Hannah kept her vow to the Lord and turned her son over to Eli the priest to be trained in the things of the Lord.
Many will use the story of Hannah to illustrate how there no prayer to hard for God to answer.
However, I want us to focus on a different aspect of this story.
Notice with me v. 6 of 1 Samuel 1.
“And her adversary also provoked her sore”
“Adversary” – This tells us that Satan is very much involved in this situation.
1 Pe. 5:8 – Read.
In Hannah’s case, Satan was able to use someone to provoke Hannah.
The someone that Satan used to provoke Hannah was her husband’s other wife, Peninnah.
The Word of God says that Peninnah, “provoked her (Hannah) sore”
In other words Peninnah got Hannah all stirred or worked up over the fact that she was childless and Peninnah was not.
The provoking was so great that it caused Hannah to fret over not having any children.
In other words, Hannah became so agitated that being childless was the total focus of her life.
The fretting got to the point where she literally started to wear away.