Temptation Part I: Who Tempts Us
Temptation is a core theme in the Bible. But we can be tempted to do many things that aren't related to our faith like being tempted to eat cake for dinner but when the bible talks about temptation to what is it referring?
It's most basic definition, in biblical terms, is to be enticed to sin against God by allurement or seduction. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about being tempted to sin against God?
Put your answer here and hold that in your mind as we do our study.
Who Tempts Us?
James 1:13 The bible is super clear. God does not tempt us to sin!
Also note that it says "let no one say when he is tempted,". So it is not an IF we are tempted but a WHEN. God knows that temptation is inevitable.
So if God does not tempt us, who and/or what does?
Genesis 3:1-5 Satan tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit after God has made it clear that if she does she will die.
What does the scripture say Eve was tempted by?
To be like God
Why do you think Eve decided to disobey God even though she was told death would be a consequence.
If she believed Satan that she would be like God she would also have to believe him when he tells her she will not die because God can't die.
But maybe it's more simple than that. We humans are notorious for believing what we want to believe to justify our actions. We hear and see what we want when it suits us. God created us to be curious and want to learn. Whether you want to learn a new skill or learn the latest gossip we are wired to want to know more. Eve was no different and was tempted by the desire for knowledge like God.
How many of you would like to have all knowledge about all things?
Eve, the second human to inhabit the earth was just as easily tempted by knowledge and greatness as we are today.
1 Chronicles 21:1 Satan moves David to number Israel. What does he mean here when he says "to number?" It just means to take a census of how many people lived in Israel.
Who can tell me about this David guy? Who was he?
King of all Israel - considered by many to be the greatest king in the bible
Slew the giant Goliath when he was around 12-15 years old.
Was a great military mind and lead Israel into many successful battles
He unified Israel from many different tribes into one country under his leadership.
He was an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Temptations can be as drastic a eating a fruit and allowing sin and death to enter the world. Other temptations can seem totally harmless like taking a count of all the people in your country. What harm could come from that? In fact harm did come from it.
First, God wanted David to trust Him and not number his troops. If David believed God was in control and would deliver him in battle did it really matter if he went in with 200 or 2000 men?
When God tells us to trust him and we don’t we are being disobedient. Not trusting God is a sin.
Most importantly God told David not to. Does it matter why God says no or should you follow Him even when he doesn't explain Himself?
To disobey God is a sin and David sinned when he took the census of his people. That is all the reason we need to not give into temptation, it’s a sin!
Job 1:6-12 Job is a righteous man who has had the protection of God. Satan believes that Job will turn against God if he loses Gods protection. But God knows Job will never turn away from Him and allows Satan to push Job past his limits but tells Satan he cannot hurt his body.
Job is tempted to turn against God when Satan begins to bring devastating trials into his life.
Evil done by people
His oxen, donkeys and camels were stolen
His servants were murdered
Evil done by nature
His sheep were burned by a fire from the sky.
The servants tending the sheep were also killed by this fire
All of Job's sons and daughters were killed when a wind blew down their house.
Evil done by physical sickness
Job is eventually afflicted with sores from head to toe after Satan comes back to God and claims that he will turn against God if he is made physically ill. God allows this but tells Satan not to kill him. Job 2:4-10
Do you believe the saying that "God never gives you more than you can handle"?
We know from James that God does not tempt us. But he does allow us to be tempted. Why do you think God allows Satan to put us through trials and tempt us to sin against God beyond what we can handle?
God wants us to take our pains and weakness to Him and rely on Him to be our strength to get us through it.
James 1:24 Temptation is a trial and trials produce strength, patience and faith.
God has a plan we cannot understand. The temptation and trials we go through are part of this if we trust him. He will use our experience to mold us into the people he wants us to be and to accomplish His will.
Satan comes to God and when God instructs him to not hurt Job, Satan has to obey God. Then when he came back God allowed Job to be afflicted with sores but commands Satan to not kill him.
Ultimately, even though Satan tempts us God is in control. Even Satan has to obey Him! We can have faith and take courage from that fact.
Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus was tempted by Satan with food when he had not eaten 40 days and 40 nights and tells Jesus he will give Him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would worship him.
Tempted here is Greek PEIRAZO which means to test for the purpose of ascertaining how someone will react.
If Jesus experienced temptation is being tempted a sin? No, it is only giving into temptation that is sinful.
Why do you think it was important for Jesus, the Son of God, to be susceptible to temptation? His experiences being tempted made him truly human so that he could relate to us on all levels. When you experience temptation, Jesus knows what you are going through.
How does Jesus respond each time he is tempted? He quotes scripture! Even Jesus knew the power of the scriptures.
Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16 and 6:13
This should also be our response when faced with temptation; go to the scriptures and pray for God to give you strength and know that you are not alone because Jesus understands what you are going through.
When faced with temptation do you find yourself blaming God or turning away from him when things get hard? Why is this not a correct response to your experience?
When experiencing temptation what is the proper response?
What things do you tell yourself you believe to justify giving into temptation?
Write down a prayer asking God to give you the strength to resist temptations of all kinds even the ones that seem harmless and to help you have peace and grow your faith when life becomes more than you can handle.