The Lord’s Prayer: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (the evil one).
length: 58:52 - taught on Jan, 26 2023
Thursday January 26, 2023
The devil will never be proud of you. The world he rules will never celebrate your spiritual victories. He doesn’t care and neither do they. Your spiritual growth only makes the devil hunger more to tear you down.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’
First, a couple of Greek translation issues will help us better see the meaning.
“temptation” - πειρασμόν (peirasmon) = testing; and is only used of the devil’s testing in the NT.
This is significant since the NT uses another word for testing that is always used in accordance with the tests that God brings upon us so that we can prove ourselves. God’s testing is done in the hope of success. The devil’s testing is done in the hope of failure and destruction of the spiritual life.
So, we have “And do not lead us into (bring us into) temptation (of the devil).
This doesn’t exclude the temptations that come upon us from the flesh. The devil is more active than we know. He, and his vast demonic army, will use the flesh, putting you in situations, projecting those fiery missiles so that your flesh will be aroused in its passions and desires.
From the Greek, the translation: “from evil” can also be “from the evil one.”
Either one of these is acceptable from this Greek construction, and the same construction is found several times in the NT. Generally, we look to context to help us, i.e., what is the theme of the paragraph, the chapter, the book.
Does the Lord mean evil in general or the devil?
We are to be delivered or rescued from it, meaning away from it. That would apply to both. In the context, chapter 4 has Jesus being led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. That probably determines it. But there is another problem. We are not the Lord. No one is going to go through that encounter again. He could see the devil. We cannot see him [if he jumped in the shower with us].
In my estimation, I think Jesus is referring to the devil, and emphasizing what the devil wants us to do - commit sin, have a life full of sin, and become ensnared and enslaved to evil, so that our hope and our joy and our spiritual lives are all but dead.
Now, the petition is one. It has two parts, but they are one and the same. That’s why we looked at the Greek words. The temptations are from the devil and the deliverance is from the devil, or more specifically, from his evil.
What we must therefore increase our understanding of is: what is evil / evil one, and how does God deliver us or rescue us from it?
The opening part is what confuses people.
‘And do not lead us into temptation
The obvious confusion to us is, “Why would God lead us into temptation in the first place?”
But this is a childish question, and I admit I’ve had it in me for a while now. I’m childish. I think I understand it and then I don’t and I come back to the question. But what I’ve learned from the questions that cannot be answered is that they are the wrong questions. In some cases, the questions address something real and unknown, like the Trinity. But in other cases, like this one, the question comes from a lack of understanding and is therefore the wrong one.
First, would we think that God is non committed to the path we take and He would just as easily take us the way of no temptation or the way of temptation and He’s waiting for us to tell Him which way to go? Of course, this is not true.
Second, God doesn’t force us to go anywhere. He gives us instruction, guidance, and power, and then we choose our path. Just because God is leading somewhere does not guarantee that we will follow. Christ told us to pick up our crosses and follow Him, but it is obvious that we don’t always do that.
Joshua’s farewell speech:
choose for yourselves today whom you will serve:
So, what are we asking? Just like we ask for bread that the Lord will provide whether we ask or not. Just like we ask for forgiveness knowing that we are forgiven whether we pray it or not. In the same way, we are cornered by our Lord in our daily prayer as to what is our attitude toward the most important things. In this final petition, what road do you want to take today?
That road is going to be beset by temptations from time to time, but are you so committed to the road, to the new and living way, that you would prefer that as many temptations as possible be far away?
Let’s say we are. We have successfully understood and fulfilled the first five petitions. We have worshiped and adored God for His Person and His work. We are committed to full obedience to Him. We long for His kingdom and His will. We adore and worship Him for those as well. We know that our lives should be “on earth as it is in heaven.” We are content with our daily bread. Material lust has left the building and contentment concerning all physical provisions has moved in. I confess my sin daily and know I’m forgiven, and so I no long carry the guilt and shame that I used to. People still judge me and do and say bad things against me, but that doesn’t bother me anymore. God has taught me how to forgive them through the truth and the Holy Spirit. I am content mentally, with who I am, for by the grace of God, “I am what I am.” This new found spiritual niche is my home and my new joy and energy. It frees me to now pour my heart and soul into the spiritual life. I will learn more of God’s word, understand more of it, and by the Spirit of God, put it into practice. I am so excited for the spiritual life, more than I have ever been.
This is a wonderful and fulfilling place to be.
Did you tell Satan this? Do you think he’s proud of you? He doesn’t care one iota.
The devil has vast resources of ammunition that will draw you back into the old you. This tells us that life, the spiritual life, is not for the faint of heart. “Do not grow weary or lose hope.”
Provided for and forgiven, we still have to traverse through the rest of our lives in a dangerous world. It is like trying to convey ourselves safely through a land infested with enemies, undermined with pitfalls, or reeking of malaria. We could wish not to go through and just stand still, but we know that we must go. We could fear every step, wincing as we go, but that is to go without confidence, peace, or joy, and we know that is not an option either.
The devil’s world will not change to suit our new condition in Christ. He will use our former companions in worldly life who are waiting for us to join them again. Familiar jaunts, familiar ways, old paths cross our own very consistently and tell us things are ready for us, even more ready than before. The same business awaits us, the same times of leisure, the same familiar ways of spending time. Shouldn’t we just do as we did before?
All remains the same, ready as ever to make our old course easy, but with no sympathy for our new position and condition, no rejoicing with us over our new-found treasure, no friendly desire to enter into and prosper our new views. All the world remains as it was, and what disappoints us more than all, there is still in us too much that remains as it was. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak as ever. It is still flesh. It is still adapted to what the world offers that it clamors to be satisfied in the world’s way.
It hints that we wrong ourselves and that we are undergoing unnecessary hardships in striving to subdue it. It speaks kindly to us, that it cannot be very criminal to do what our nature demands, and what our circumstances not only permit, but induce and almost drive us to them.
Satan attempts in various ways to put our flesh to his purpose. There is only one escape - the desire to follow the Lord.
And, if we have followed through on the fundamental precepts of the Lord’s first five petitions in His prayer, we have developed a great hope and expectation of a life filled with Christ and His godliness.
That adds another dimension - unlike before, we now have a lot to lose.
Those who have nothing to lose are little disturbed by the presence of thieves. Those whose hopes are small have few fears.
The fear of defilement found no place in our souls until the Holy Spirit made us new men. Before we experienced the grace of God, temptation seemed like a small risk. But now that we have tasted God’s favor, experienced the joy and goodwill of God, and prize God’s pleasure, it seems a hazardous thing to venture into the sea of temptations, one or other of which will almost inevitably sweep over our soul, and leave it grieving the Spirit and reaping corruption.
If I do not propose to sin, if I am set against it, does that secure me from it? I have sinned deliberately, in ignorance, through weakness, through surprise, and through habit. Shall I continue in it because I am under grace? May it never be, says Paul.
Rather pray every day, “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.”
Temptation and evil are married. The first is the door, the second is the prison. They are always connected. Temptation is the beginning and when united with choice, evil is the end. Can I say, however, that I will always make the right choice, so come whatever temptation may? If my first desire is God’s pleasure, then I would prefer no temptation, i.e. no starting line of which evil may come. I would like to know where every landmine is, where every quicksand waits, and every malaria swamp festers so I can avoid them all.
It is a desire, though it cannot always be fulfilled. But the desire should be there nonetheless. And remember, evil consists of all sin, what you don’t do that you should and what you do that you shouldn’t.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns,
But the path of the upright is a highway.
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his life.
For we wanted to come to you — I, Paul, more than once — and yet Satan thwarted us
do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil
And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The devil’s end, his judgment, is already determined. Anything he does is only worthy of the Lake of Fire, the exact opposite of the holy city of the New Jerusalem. We want nothing that he is selling.
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone