What does it mean to tempt? It means to entice, put to the test, cause to prove etc. In tempting God, one can use words, deeds, acts of omission, which show doubt or unbelief in God in order to try and cause God to do what you want as proof of Himself. In other words, trying to put God in a “tight corner.”
Deuteronomy 6:16 warns that “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God…” When the Israelites questioned God in Exodus 17:7, saying, “Is the LORD amongst us or not?” they were practically trying to cause God to prove Himself to them because they lacked water to drink. They only needed to pray to God in faith to provide water for them and not trying to get God to prove to them that He was with them. We see something similar in Matthew 4:5-7 when the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and tempted Jesus to prove that he is the son of God by throwing Himself down so that God would send His Angels to catch Him. Jesus responded by saying, “It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
We don’t have a right to test or prove God. It is God that tests us or allows satan to tempt us in order to prove us. The son doesn’t test the father, the student doesn’t test or examine the teacher. It is always the other way round. God doesn’t need to prove Himself to us, we walk by faith not by proving God. We must believe all God says even if the manifestation has not come or isn’t apparent – Romans 1:17 and 2 Corinthians 5:7. We can only please God by walking in faith – Hebrews 11:6.
Proverbs 3:5 commands us to trust in the LORD with all our heart. We are not to lean unto our own understanding in a situation but trust wholly on God. Adam and Eve did not wholly trust God, and, as a result, the tempter (satan) got them. The way that seems right to a person will always end in death – Proverbs 14:12. Only God’s way is sure.
Nevertheless, why does mankind tempt God? The answer is that there is a tempter (satan) whose duty is to tempt us and cause us to tempt God. In Revelation 12:9-13, we see that satan is the accuser of the brethren who is quick to accuse us before God once we succumb to his temptation.
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians have bought into the lie that satan doesn’t exist, or that he is powerless, or he is unable to be in the Church or around Christians. If satan had the audacity to come around Jesus and tempt Him, why should we think he cannot do the same to us? In Job 1:6, when the sons of God presented themselves to God, satan came as well. He didn’t come as satan, but as an angel.
Satan’s aim is to cause people to fall into reproach – 1 Timothy 3:7 and 2 Timothy 2:26. Adam and Eve fell into reproach after falling into temptation and were cursed and driven from God’s presence in Eden – Genesis 3:1-24. David fell into reproach when he slept with another man’s wife – 2 Samuel 11:1-5.
What are the sources of temptation?
The sinful nature of man – Ephesians 2:1-3: because of this, man is vulnerable to temptation as a result of the lusts in our lives – James 1:13-15. For example, if we love food, food can be used to lead us astray. Likewise praise, money, lustful desires, worldliness etc., are points of entry for temptation.
Other people: the temptation that penetrated Adam was from Eve – Genesis 3:1-7. Proverbs 5: 3-6 – Some people’s tongues are as smooth as silk. They sound sweet and enticing but if one listens and obeys, the and thereof is destruction.
Ourselves: our inordinate desires can cause one to fall into temptation. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 – The love of money is the root of all evil therefore those who desire riches fall into temptation. Some steal, kill, prostitute and join occultic societies just because of money.
Lust for power: the lust for the power that satan offered Eve in Genesis 3:4-6 caused her to fall into temptation.
Pride – 2 Chronicles 26:16: King Uzziah was full of pride and this led him to transgress against the Lord. In fact, it was pride that caused lucifer, who became satan, to fall – Isaiah 14:12-15.
Seasons of Temptations
Loneliness and temptation go hand in hand. In Matthew 4:1 – Jesus was alone in the wilderness and the tempter came. Psalm 78:17-24 and Psalm 106:14 – The Israelites continuously tempted God in the wilderness.
Temptation also comes in times of abundance and rest – 2 Samuel 11:1-5. Tribulation will always be in the world – John 16:33 – we need to be aware and be prepared. Having said all this, we must realise that God will never permit us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear. He will also make a way to escape for us – 1 Corinthians 10:9-13. Also, always remember that Satan has limitations.
Jesus has gone through the same temptations and is able to see us through – Hebrews 4:15.
God is aware of every temptation – Job 1:12. Job never knew that God approved his temptation. Jesus knew satan was after Peter and prayed for him – Luke 22:31.
God uses temptation to teach, chisel, and humble us – 2 Corinthians 12:7. The thorn in Paul’s flesh was to keep him humble and dependent on God.
When we are alert and prayerful, it is difficult for us to fall into temptation – Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38, and 1 Peter 5:8.
Let God ever grant us the grace to follow him by faith and not by temptation, and to ever overcome the temptations of the enemy. God bless you as you reflect on this message and share it with others, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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