Greetings all, this week, we near the end of the prayer. The phrase this week is
"And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil."
This is perhaps the phrase that has always given the most consternation to studiers of the scriptures. Why on earth would God lead me into temptation??
Once again, we turn to the Greek and the translation of the word
"temptation" as our author gives us
this. The word is translated from the
word "pierasmos" which can also mean, "test" or
"trial" which does shed a different meaning on the phrase as a whole. While temptation refers to a deliberate act to ensnare, a test refers to being refined, and evaluated.
We in our particular understanding of the Lord's Prayer, know this phrase as
"and suffer us not, to be led into temptation" I believe Joseph was influenced by the writings in the book of James quite heavily, as there is a reference to this idea written there. James chap 1 verse 13 KJV reads this way.
"No one, when tempted, should say, I am
being tempted by God; for God cannot be
tempted by evil and he himself tempts no
So why then, is this word translated in this way in Matthew? Perhaps, Jesus was trying to instruct us to never forget that God is with us, even when we are tempted to think that God has abandoned us in our trials, that God is still faithful. Darrell Johnson penned it this way,
"Father, as you lead us to the test, do not let the test become a temptation, but rescue us from the one who seeks to destroy our faith, and work in us the same confidence that Jesus has." I like that one.
The final thing Jsus is teaching us is to ask for deliverance from evil. Our author is asking us here to always remember that Satan's primary tool, is to try and deceive us into thinking that God cannot be trusted. She shares a story about a missionary couple who were in what she describes as a jungle habitat. A large snake had slithered it's way into their house and into the kitchen. Not knowing what to do, they called upon the locals for help. One of their neighbors came with a large machete and beheaded the snake. However, he told them to wait before entering, as it would take some time for the snake's body to get the message that it was dead. Sure enough, the body of the snake did considerable damage to the inside of their home as it thrashed about until the body got the message that it did not have a head anymore. The analogy is this, Satan is like the snake, he has already been decapitated, and is thrashing about, trying to do as much damage as he can. So we can readily understand, as we see the events of our time unfolding around us, it can become easy to despair, to fail to trust God, but the waiting will not last forever, we have to always remember, Jesus paid that price, he defeated the snake. God is still using us to write our story, we still have a role to play in bringing about the Kingdom so in this prayer, we ask that He who Is, continues to work within us to bring that to pass. For Thine is the Power, and the Glory, Forever, and Ever....Amen