We need to be free, free from all our bondages and one of the things that is holding us back are the temptations in life. All of us are struggling with one or another form of temptation, it is a big thing. If it was a small thing the devil would not have tried to tempt Jesus. Today I am continuing this study of temptations and share what I have learned.
Last week we looked at how some famous (and infamous) Bible characters fell for temptation. But it is not all doom and gloom, we have some good examples of Bible characters who stood the test of time. Even though David had many failings, he DID resist temptation.
We can read more of it in 1 Sam 24
Saul took men to find and kill David due to his jealousy. On the journey Saul went into a cave along the road to relieve himself, not knowing David and his men was actually hiding in there. The men of David quoted the prophet’s word that Saul will be delivered, trying to convince David he has the right to kill Saul. David went closer to Saul, but in the end decided to only cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Even then his conscience was stricken and he made a promise that he will NEVER lift a hand against Saul. So often we want to take revenge into our own hands, but is it worth it? David kept his men to rise up against Saul when they had the change to overpower Saul. When Saul was safely out of reach, David revealed himself and explained to Saul what just happened
1 Sam 24:12 May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD take vengeance on you, but my hand will never be against you
Saul wanted to kill David in order to protect his own position as king. We need to realize, position is given to you and can be taken away, you can fight battles to keep onto it, but God determines the end results. Saul wept when he realized David spared his life. He said to David
1 Sam 24:17 … “you are more righteous than I”….
1 Sam 24:19 ….’’may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done for me this day.’’
The next character is Abram as written up in Gen 14:22-24
After defeating some enemies (before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), the king of Sodom tempted Abram with riches in exchange for some of his people.
Gen 14:22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord God most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not accept even a thread, or a scrap of sandal, or anything that belongs to you, lest you should say, Í have made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share of the men who went with me.
After this God made His famous covenant with Abram. We also know what the end of Sodom was. Abram had to be steadfast. A king is an influential person, what an honour if a king want to bestow riches on you. Can you hold onto God’s promises (at an old age) while the world is trying to tempt you with influential people (or seemingly influential) people? It might not be a king tempting you, but it could be someone you are looking up to, someone in authority over you. Keep holding on to the promises of God, no matter how difficult it might seem. God’s timing will reveal His reward. I am personally being tempted in this regard and need to cling to His promises tightly, because I have made a decision to trust God even though I do not see the results.
The next example is of Naaman in 2 Kings 5. He was also a very influential, important person from another city who came to Elisha, loaded with great rewards for a cure of his leprosy. Elisha told him to wash himself 7 times in the Jordan. At first Naaman was angry at that, he expected some amazing, in your face miracle and felt it was beneath him to be healed in this common way, I assume he had many washes and everyone knew leprosy did not wash off. In the end Naaman was convinced, washed himself and he was cured. He went back to Elisha to pay him. I understand in those days many false prophets started to make money from people for miracles and their reputation started to suffer. But Elisha did not want to use the gift God gave him to enrich himself.
But Elisha replied, ”As sure as the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will not accept it. ”And although Naaman urged him to accept it, he refused.
Without Elisha’s knowledge, his servant Gehazi went after Naaman to see if Naaman would give him the money under false pretenses that he was sent by Elisha. In the end Gehazi was stricken with leprosy. Gehazi saw how much the gentile prophets was blessed with riches and knew he and Elisha did a much better job than anyone else by the power of a much stronger God than the gentiles. He was probably very indignant to see how others get to live a great live, while they had to do with the minimum. How often do we not wonder at the way ‘’rich’’ people live their immoral lives, wondering why they get blessed and we not. Surely if God is for us, who can be against us. I think this verse is sometimes changed in our minds to “Surely if God is for us, how can money be against us”. I think, no, I know God is sometimes withholding the blessing of money for our own sake. For the sake of our character formation. We covet what others have like Gehazi and will go against our principles to partake in the acquisition of riches.
A New Testament story in Acts 8 tells about a sorcerer Simon in Samaria who claimed to be great as he amazed people with his ‘’magical tricks’’. He heard the gospel, he got baptized and was around seeing the miracles of Peter and John as they were laying hands on believers to receive the Holy Spirit. Simon the sorcerer was entranced and wanted it badly – I am not sure if he wanted the Holy Spirit badly or the power that was displayed when people received the Holy Spirit. He was so adamant to get the Holy Spirit, he tried to pay them for it.
But Peter replied “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in our ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”
Peter was not willing to be tempted in his ministry to God to receive money for the work he was doing. Many people paid the Apostles for the work they were doing by tithing, which was Biblical, but to be bribed, tempted with money to give God’s Spirit was not something Peter could stand for. God’s gifts are free, we don’t need money to buy it. In 2 Co 11 we read how Peter proclaimed the Gospel free of charge, contrary to some of his counterparts. Peter could not be tempted by money even though people were happy to pay him.
The final example for today is that of Joseph as sketched in Gen 39. Joseph worked in Potiphar’s house as a slave. Due to his good character, hard work, faithfulness he raised to the top. Pothipar’s wife was very impressed with this young man and asked him to sleep with her
But he refused. Gen 39:8, 9
“Look” he said to his master’s wife, “with me here, my master does not concern himself with ….. . So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?’
She asked him day after day and he refused. One day she trapped him by emptying the house of people and grabbed him, pulling his clothes of his body, but he ran away, got caught and was thrown into prison. Is that not what we should do with temptations calling us over and over and over again? Run away, because God sees us and He has a bigger plan, even though you don’t understand it while sitting in prison. You might think on the short term it did not pay off (in prison), but on the long term God rewards (*he became even greater than Potiphar). If he gave into Potiphar’s wife, he would have been in serious trouble when he became second in charge of Egypt. Potiphar’s wife would then have come out with the scandal and Joseph would not have had the respect he did at the end.
Position is given to you and can be taken away, God determines the end results.
Revenge is not ours to fight for.
Don’t be tempted by authority figures instead of holding onto God’s promises.
Gehazi ran after temptations, but Joseph ran away from temptation – what will you do?
God’s gifts are free, no money can buy it.
May the LORD bless you and keep you.
May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
You can contact me via e-mail; Wilmien.email@example.com or send me a message (+27)836339525
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