Temptation is the way Satan deals with humankind. From the Garden of Eden in Gen. 3 through the end of this world in Rev. 20, Satan’s purpose is to draw us away from God and he does so through temptations. Today, we read about the Tower of Babel, Abram’s lie to Pharaoh in Egypt, and Jesus’ 40 day fast in the wilderness, all stories about temptation.
In Babel, God’s command was to multiply and spread throughout the earth, but the people of the world were tempted not to trust God to care for them and so they bunched together and settled. They were tempted to seek a name for themselves (rather than trusting in the name of God) and so began to build. God in His grace intervened, changed their languages, and sent them on to accomplish His plan to spread throughout the earth. Sometimes God intervenes when we are tempted.
In Egypt, Abram was tempted not to trust God to protect his life and Sarai’s, so he lied to the Pharaoh and was richly rewarded. Sometimes temptation leads to the world’s blessings, but not God’s. When the diseases began, Pharaoh figured out the deception and should have killed Abram, Sarai, and all their people because of it. But in His grace, God moved Pharaoh to let them leave with all they had acquired. Sometimes God allows the consequences of our sin to teach us when we are tempted.
In the wilderness, Jesus was fasting in preparation for His ministry and, in a pretty funny understatement, the bible tells us that after non food for 40 days, “he was hungry.” Jesus was tempted to make bread for Himself, something within His power, beneficial to His body, and hurting no one. He was tempted to use His power as God to save His own life (the same temptation He must have faced 3 years later on the cross). He was tempted to power, to rule the entire world under Satan’s name. But Jesus knew His Father, His Father’s will, and the scriptures, and so fought these temptations easily. Sometimes, our own scripture memorization, experiences of and relationship with God can help us fend off Satan when we are tempted.
What temptations are you facing as you enter 2018? Fame, safety, wealth, power, comfort, pleasure, “a name for yourself”? Unlike the residents of Babel and Abram, and just like Jesus, we need to know our Father’s voice, His Will, and the scriptures if we are to ward off the temptations that come to every one of us. Memorize 1 Cor. 10:13 and Phil 4:8 if you want some handy tools when you are tempted.