Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil: neither tempteth he any man—Jas. 1: 13.
There is a difference between temptations which the Father considers proper and the temptations which come from the Adversary. The former are tests of loyalty to God and to the principles of righteousness, and are intended to be a blessing and a help to all those who withstand them, and who thus demonstrate their loyalty to righteousness. The temptations of Satan, on the contrary, are in the nature of pitfalls and snares in evil and wrongdoing, temptations to make right appear wrong and wrong appear right, putting light for darkness and darkness for light. In this sense of misrepresentation and ensnarements in evil, God tempts no man.
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Temptations are appealing suggestions. They may be either to good or evil. The latter come from the devil, the world and our flesh; the former come from the Lord through His Spirit, Word and providence. Temptations to evil, though permitted by the Lord for our trial, never come from the Lord, because as the Source and Promoter of perfect wisdom, power, justice and love, such suggestions are contrary to His character and aims. As temptations to evil do not appeal to God's qualities, so they cannot flow from His qualities as allurements to His creatures. To ascribe to God temptations to evil is blasphemy; to ascribe to Him temptations to good is praise. While thankfully ascribing to Him our temptations to good, let us refrain from ascribing to Him our temptations to evil. Let us rather ascribe them to those to whom they properly belong—the devil, the world and the flesh.
Parallel passages: Gen. 3: 1-13; Deut. 13: 3; Psa. 119: 165; Prov. 1: 10-17; 6: 27; 14: 27; Isa. 33: 15, 16; Matt. 4: 1-11; 26: 41; Luke 11: 4; 2Cor. 11: 3, 14, 15; Jas. 1: 14; 2Pet. 2: 9; 1Cor. 10: 13.
Questions: What special temptation did I have this week? How did I meet it? What were the results?
MASTER, I am so glad Thou knowest all
Outspoken joys, and sorrow's hidden pain.
I am so glad my path is known to Thee,
And that Thou wilt my wayward steps restrain.
I place my hand in Thine. Oh, hold it fast!
Nor heed my cry whene'er I ask amiss.
Thou knowest what is best, my loving Lord,
From out my heart all willfulness dismiss!
Lord, when the thorns of earth pierce sharp and deep,
And I instead would choose the scented rose,
Let me recall thy tender, watchful love,
And that mine inmost need Thy wisdom knows.
Ah, who can tell how far our feet might stray?
We are so prone to wander from Thy side,
If not hedged in by Thine eternal arms,
And made within Thy sheepfold to abide.
I am so glad Thou knowest all, dear Lord!
My life but poorly proves what lips confess,
And well I know none but a Father could
So frail an offering with such mercy bless.
Thou knowest all! This is my cradle, Lord,—
The shadow of Thy wings, 'neath which I sleep.
Not for my goodness, but Thine own great love,
Thou wilt in peace Thy child securely keep.
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