We live in an age of pessimism and doubt. As Christians, we ought to radiate courage and boldness. We often forget that Lord promises to be on our side! God’s people have been given promises, but this may be the greatest one ever given. Under the Old Law we read that God promised Israel that He would never leave or forsake them, and this promise was extended to the New Testament church (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). Our God is with His people in every way and on every day. That brings the promise of provision and blessing. It ought to give us great assurance. In the past, the Lord promised to fight for His people (Exodus 14:14). What does it meant to have God on our side?
First, think about temptation. If it is so terrible, why does God allow us to be tested? Why doesn't He just rescue us every time? The Bible clearly teaches us that God wants to examine us and allow us to be tested for our faith to made stronger (Jeremiah 17:10, Job 23:10, II Corinthians 12:7 -10, James 1:2, I Peter 1:6-9). We should not lose heart because we know there is a reward for the believer who overcomes (James 1:12, Revelation 2-3). We should see temptation and trials as an opportunity to prove our genuine faith (I Peter 1:7). For those who are unable to pass the test, they will be punished (Romans 2:6-10, Ephesians 5:6).
In the Old Testament, tempting by God may actually be translated as testing or proving. The context is the covenant relationship of mutual love and faithfulness between God and His chosen people. The Lord tested Israel to prove the true nature of her faithfulness to Him (Genesis 22:1, Deuteronomy 8:2-16). His purpose is not to induce, tempt, or cause His people to sin, but to confirm their faith (James 1:2-4). In the case of Job, Satan the tempter can serve the Lord’s purpose, but God allowed the temptations and did not take part in them in any way. Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was also the Lord’s testing of their faith. This temptation was the first, and it led to the fall of all men.
The Israelites tried to tempt and test the Lord by questioning His loyalty (Exodus 17:2-7, Psalm 78). God had promised to preserve Israel as His own possession, but His righteousness also requires that He destroy a rebellious nation (Hebrews 10:31). The disobedience of His people tested the Lord to break His promise to be their God, but He did not because He does not change, although He will punish those who are disobedient. Immediately after Jesus’ baptism He was led into the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4:1-11). These temptations were real, whether external and literal, internal and mental, or a combination of both. He did not pretend to be tempted, but by resisting the temptation to sin, Jesus demonstrated His qualifications to be God’s Messiah and humanity’s Savior. Jesus met many temptations throughout His ministry (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13 Luke 4:1-13). Some of these occurred: (1) when the crowds only wanted a healer (Mark 1:35-39), (2) when they wanted to make Him king (John 6:14- 15), (3) when His disciples rejected Him (Matthew 16:21-28), and also (4) when He was in Gethsemane looking for a way to pass the cup (Matthew 26:36-46).
Hebrews 2:18 says, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” We can all learn from the temptations of Jesus. We need to be reminded that Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” By living in human flesh, staying faithful to the Lord, and not giving in to temptation, He set a great example (I Peter 2:21-25). We need to look to Him as our great and perfect pattern Hebrews 12:1-2). We should consider how he faced every temptation. He was able to logically think about each temptation and reminded Satan, and Himself, what the scriptures said.
Temptation is an enticement or an open invitation to sin, with the implied promise of greater good to be derived from following the way of disobedience. We need to note that God does not tempt people, nor can He Himself as the holy God be tempted (James 1:13). God cannot be induced to deny Himself (II Timothy 2:13). The supreme tempter is Satan (Matthew 4:3, I Corinthians 7:5, I Thessalonians 3:5), and he is able to prey upon the weakness of corrupted human nature (James 1:14) and so to lead people to destruction. The Bible tells us to resist temptation (Luke 22:40), promising blessedness to those who do resist the temptations of the devil (James 1:12). The gospel also directs us to pray for deliverance from exposure to temptation and from surrender to it (Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4). The Lord will not allow His people to encounter any temptation beyond what they can handle. Therefore, we will have ability to resist it with God’s help (I Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:13, II Peter 2:9).
The Lord is with you! It is His promise to the saved. However, you still have to overcome the battles in front of you. Lean on Him, but resist the devil! Have a great week!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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