Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil is the line of the Lord’s Prayer we are focussing on this week. As we ask God to ‘lead us not’ are we at the same time making sure we do all that we can ourselves to avoid temptation? If I am on a diet and have a weakness for chocolate or biscuits, I make sure there are none of those things in my house; what do we do about avoiding temptation to sin? If we keep leading ourselves into temptation, how can God deliver us from evil? As we begin to think on these things, let’s turn to worship.
Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 20 (Dramatised reading – you can finish listening after it says “the Kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace” – which is verse 30)
What are the things that threaten you?
Threaten your peace of mind, your family, your livelihood?
What is scaring you at the moment, or might soon begin to? What are the things that make you lose sleep or have bad dreams? What thoughts keep coming in to your mind and won’t go away?
Get a pen and some paper and write them down (if you don’t want anyone else to see this, write it in Sanskrit).
Now look at 2 Chronicles 20 and see how Jeshoshaphat and Israel dealt with the terrors that stalked them.
They remembered God’s dealings with them in the past and brought their present problem to Him.
Write down what they remembered in one column and see if you can write next to it something you remember of God speaking to you or working in your life in the past.
Then look back at the things that are troubling you and say the following prayer over them: I have no power to face this vast army that is attacking me. I do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
Talk – Jumping Like Jehoshaphat from 1993 War of the Worlds weekend (begins with War of the Worlds theme played by our worship band; the podcast has two talks back to back, feel free to stop listening after the first)
Whatever your circumstances then, let’s give thanks to God.
Revelation 3:10 says “Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
In my book What’s Going On? I write:
Hour signifies a definite period and one which will not go on forever, but ‘Temptation’ would better be translated as testing or trial. The words translated ‘keep you from’ are used only here and in John 17:15 I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from evil.
When we pray ‘deliver us from evil’ the original sense of it is that we will be in God’s arms through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ and beyond it eternally; not that He will remove us from being there day by day.
So Jesus is promising the Philadelphians to be holding them through the trial. A fuller translation of verse 10 would be I also will watch over you protectively through the hour of testing trial and temptation. As they spent their lives serving Him, so He would be with them in the difficulties faced living for God on this earth.
In Matthew 26 we read of Jesus’ own Hour of Trial, and here we see that His disciples let Him down badly. And he went to the disciples, and found them asleep, and said to Peter, “What, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (vv40,41). Jesus is promising in Revelation 3 not to be like those disciples, but to stand by His church in the difficult times.
In some ways what He says is an echo of His final words in Matthew’s Gospel: Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19,20)
Psalm 117 read by David Suchet (the shortest chapter in the Bible!)