“…Deliver Us From Evil” March 2021
My Dear Gracious friend:
As Christians we know “The Lord’s Prayer,” and I want us to look carefully at the phrase, “…Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil” (Mt.6:13). It goes without saying our Lord will deliver us from evil. That’s what His second coming is all about. But could our Lord possibly want to lead us into temptation? However, the Greek here is petrasmas, which means also “trial” or ” to prove one.” Surely, as believers, we will be tested0! James may say that God “tempts no one,” but he’s talking about the poor decisions we often make (Jam.1:13).
We know Abram was tested (Gen.22:1). Was it necessary because he had tried to fulfill the promise of a son without trusting God (Gen.16:1-16)? Israel would be tested, and too often failed (Dt.8:2). Even Jesus would be “led by the Spirit into the wilderness to tempted, or tested…” (Mt. 4:1). And most of us have known testing in some form in our lives! Paul will even say we all will have the temptations common to men, but will “not be tempted beyond (our) strength” (1 Cor. 10:13). This is all about us going through trials so as to be steadfastness. To that James will add, that we might “lack in nothing” (Jam.1:2-4). And Peter says that we shouldn’t be surprised at our own fiery ordeals, for they are to test us (1 Pe.4:12).
It is then surprising that many believe we are to be spared such ordeals. Last month I mentioned the fate of William Tyndale, who was burned at the staked for nothing more than printing the New Testament in English. There have been so many who have persevered through hardships, endured privation, and unspeakable deaths all that we might read the Bible and worship as we chose. Did they expect such trials? Most I believe did not, yet they would overcome. Is this what we call a “life of faith?” It is more than being tested, and proven. It is about trusting God, and who He truly is.
Our Lord in the garden would ask if it was possible to “let this cup pass from me’ (Mt. 26:39). We now know, and He knew it could not, and He would uttered those now immortal words,”…not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk.22:42). Jesus faced this quandary, as we will ours. In this “Lord’s” prayer we are actually asking for God’s providential care. That He will bring us through such trials victoriously. “That the genuineness of (our) faith, more precious than gold…may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pe.1:6-7). We are to be made fit for eternity, reflecting God’s desire for us.
Earlier in this prayer we ask that, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We all know how far we fall short of His will at times, as does our society and our nations. And it has always been so! That is why we pray and strive that, “His will be done.” However, do we forget that God has given us free-will, which is why our culture seems in such disarray, as so many do evil? Our lives are in our own hands, while He challenges us to live in obedience to Him, make good decisions, and aid one another. Yet, still we plead for Him to correct our mistakes, or erase the consequences of our terrible choices.
Still I believe in God’s providential care. He has always moved to curtail or weaken evil. He has nudged history in the direction of His will; He protected Washington amid a hail of bullets, a dispatch is left wrapped about three cigars near Antietam Creek, and the miracles of Midway, D-Day, and on to the fall of the Berlin wall. God’s providence has at times been almost visible, and I am sure He will act again all that His purpose will be achieved. But He is not in the business of painting over our own errors. We should know better! We dare not assume that God will correct our lousy choices, and surely not those of our society, or nation. Most of our problems you see are of our own making; people acting out anger in ignorance or stupidly, others voting without knowing all they should, and too many living in abject fear of something we have faced so many times before. We might wish we could turn the clocks back, and try again, but that’s not possible. Instead, we as believers are to be prepared to face, even evil. We are not to hide our “talent” in the ground (Mt.25:25). We are to use what we have been given, even the smallest gift, to bring about His purpose in each of us, and reach those around us.
Let it be said of us all, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,”
Thomas R. Wyatt