Are you being tempted? Are you being enticed · persuaded · convinced · inveigled · induced · cajoled · coaxed · wood · sweet-talked? Another word for tempted is to be tested! Can you resist it? What if it was leading you towards disaster? What if it was going to destroy you? What if it was going to end your life? Are you willing to flirt with bad decisions? Would you still do it if you knew the bad decision would be destructive to you? to your family? to your friends? Are you willing to see how close you can get to the fire without getting burned? But could you stop yourself in time? Are you willing to deal with the consequences if or when you can’t? The pain! The sorrow! The brokenness! The destruction!
Realize that temptation isn’t the bad part, it’s your response that makes it good or bad! Jesus was without sin and He was tempted! So it’s not the tempting that will cause you to miss the mark, it is how you respond to it! See that person walking by? What is going on in your mind? in your heart? in your body? If you do something who will it impact? What would be the outcome? Who would be affected? So what are you going to do? You see keys to a luxury car fall out of someone’s pockets. What will you do about it? Will you pick them up? Will call them to let them know? Will you give them back? What would you be tempted to do? You see a rich person drop a bunch of cash (say a million dollars) or even his full wallet. What will you do about it? Will you call them to let them know? Will you do whatever you can to help them get it all back? What would you be tempted to do? How would you respond?
Temptation isn’t a sin! Pursuing that person that caught your eye and going outside of your marriage is. Picking up the keys and going for a joy ride rather than giving them back is. Taking the cash thinking they won’t miss it is. Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you realize the devil will try to trip you up and make you think “oh it isn’t that bad”? Do give him a foothold over you and your life! Don’t fall into temptation! Don’t allow yourself to step over the line and start going down the slippery slope!
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. — James 4:7
Is the temptation a light on your dashboard of life letting you know something you need to look into or take care of? Do you need to take care of or invest more into your marriage? Do you need to take care of how you steward your finances? Is there something else you need to be working on or taking care of so that you won’t be as tempted? Is it some other temptation? What can you do to be prepared when it shows up? What can you do to resist it and avoid the fall? What is it telling you? What is it warning you about?
How to Resist Temptation — Day 80: Bible In One Year 2017
Devotional, Proverbs 7:21-27, Luke 3:23-38, Luke 4:1-13, Numbers 11:4-35, Numbers 12, Numbers 13:1-25
1. Tempted to cheat … Proverbs 7:21-27
21With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer22 Syriac (see also Septuagint); Hebrew fool stepping into a noose22 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain. 23till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. — from Proverbs 7
This passage describes the power and the dangers of sexual temptation.
Beware persuasive words
Be careful about what you listen to and what you read: ‘With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk’ (v.21).
Avoid foolish actions
Thoughts and words lead eventually to actions: ‘All at once he followed her… little knowing it will cost him his life’ (vv.22–23).
Control straying thoughts
Temptation often starts in our hearts: ‘Do not let your heart turn to her ways [the adulteress]’ (v.25; see Matthew 5:28).
Heed this warning: ‘Listen… take these words of mine most seriously. Don’t fool around… don’t even stroll through her neighbourhood’ (Proverbs 7:24–25, MSG). Following this path is a ‘highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death’ (v.27).
2. Tempted over control … Luke 3:23-4:13
23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josek, the son of Joda,
27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
the son of Neri, 28the son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, 32the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.
–from Luke 3
1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’
5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’
9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written:
“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
12Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
–from Luke 4
God allows temptation in your life. As you go through these tests your faith is strengthened.
Jesus knows all about temptation. Jesus was tempted for forty days (4:2). Although it was the devil doing the tempting (v.3), God allowed it (he ‘was led by the Spirit into the wilderness’, v.1).
This period of temptation followed Jesus’ powerful experience of the Holy Spirit at his baptism. This sequence of events is common, which is why we warn people on Alpha that they may experience increased temptation after the weekend (where the focus is on the work and experience of the Holy Spirit).
Luke emphasises Jesus’ identity as the Son of God (3:23–38) but the temptations that Jesus faced are often similar to the ones we face.
All these temptations revolve around control – control of our appetites, control of our ambitions, and control of our lives. The devil wants to control your life. In contrast, God wants you to know the freedom that comes from being led by the Holy Spirit.
The devil appeals to Jesus’ physical appetite (v.3) and offers instant gratification. Jesus answers, ‘It is written: “People do not live on bread alone”’ (v.4).
In the long run instant gratification leads to disillusion, emptiness and despair. Listening to God and building a relationship with him leads to deep spiritual satisfaction, joy and purpose.
The devil showed Jesus in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. ‘He said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour… If you worship me, it will all be yours”’ (vv.6–7).
The temptation to accumulate things for ourselves is very powerful. Material prosperity may lead to ‘authority’ and ‘splendour’ (v.6) in this lifetime, but the danger is that financial security becomes our ambition and we put our trust in wealth and not in God.
Jesus responded to this temptation by saying, ‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only”’ (v.8). Ultimately, there is only one thing that can be totally secure and that is your relationship with God. This must be your primary ambition.
The devil takes Jesus to the highest point in the temple and says, ‘If you are the Son of God… throw yourself down from here’ (v.9). He then quotes the Bible at him (out of context, of course). Jesus answered this scripture with scripture, ‘It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”’ (v.12).
You are called to a life of obedience and service to God. Jesus performed some dramatic miracles during his ministry. In doing so, however, he was obeying God and following the Holy Spirit’s leading. This is quite different from testing God and then asking him to back you up. Rather than coming up with your own plans and asking God to bless them, seek to find out God’s plans and obey his calling.
Jesus saw off the devil and his temptations with God’s word. He repeatedly said ‘It is written… ’ and then quoted scriptures that directly answered the devil’s lies and temptations.
The devil ‘left him’. But he only ‘retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity’ (v.13, MSG). It is a relief to have periods in life when temptations are not so strong – but you can be sure that the devil will try to lure you astray again.
3. Tempted to compare … Numbers 11:4-13:25
4The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
7The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
10Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
16The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.
18“Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ’ ”
21But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”
23The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
24So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.
26However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
31Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
35From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth and stayed there.
–from Numbers 11
Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
1Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2“Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.
3(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
4At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. 5Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, 6he said, “Listen to my words:
“When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
9The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.
10When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease, 11and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.”
13So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!”
14The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 15So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.
16After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.
–from Numbers 12
1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
3So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. 4These are their names:
from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zakkur;
5from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori;
6from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;
7from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph;
8from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun;
9from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu;
10from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi;
11from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi;
12from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli;
13from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael;
14from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi;
15from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki.
16These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)
17When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
21So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
–from Numbers 13
Just as Jesus was tempted in ‘the wilderness’ (Luke 4:1), the people of God were tempted during their wilderness years. The examples in this passage were written down as warnings for us (see 1 Corinthians 10:6).
God had supplied them with food but they craved ‘other food’ (Numbers 11:4). Rather than thanking God for his miraculous provision they said, ‘If only we had meat to eat!’ (v.4b). They kept ‘whining’ (vv.10,13, MSG) and complaining.
They were tempted to make comparisons with the old life back in Egypt and turn back to where they had come from. It is easy to fall into this trap. There is always something to complain about. Yet, if we have eyes to see it, we are constantly surrounded by God’s goodness, mercy, forgiveness, love and grace.
We see an example of jealousy with Miriam and Aaron asking, ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he also spoken through us?’ (12:2). When Joshua had been upset about others prophesying in the camp, Moses asked in response, ‘Are you jealous for my sake?’ (11:29). The context here is spiritual leadership and gifting.
Moses’ leadership structure involved a group of three at the centre (Aaron, Miriam and Joshua). Then, there were the twelve leaders of the tribes of Israel (13:4–15), then the seventy leaders and officials (11:16 onwards). This is very similar to Jesus’ inner circle of three, the twelve apostles, and then the seventy-two others (see Luke 10). When the Holy Spirit rested on the seventy of Moses, ‘they prophesied’ (Numbers 11:25).
Like Moses, try to avoid the temptation to compare and to be jealous when you see God using other people in a powerful way. Moses recognised that he needed all the help he could get. He replied, ‘I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!’ (v.29). He did not feel he had to be the only one God used. The Lord had said, ‘I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone’ (v.17).
Jealousy comes from comparing ourselves with others and thinking that we are less well off. Pride comes from thinking too much of ourselves, comparing with others and thinking we are better.
Moses also resisted the temptation of pride. Pride is the biggest barrier between God and human beings. God loves the humble. As C.S. Lewis put it, ‘True humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.’
‘Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth’ (12:3). Perhaps that is why God used Moses in such a powerful way.
Moses was ‘humble’ (v.3), ‘faithful’ (v.7), compassionate and forgiving (v.13). All this stemmed from the very close relationship he had with God in which God spoke to him intimately in person (‘With him I speak face to face’, v.8).