God’s Role in Temptation

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #13:

1 Kings, chapters 21-22
Psalm 119:97-104
Luke 4:31-37
Ephesians 6:10-24

It is worth reading very closely verses 19-23 of 1 Kings 22, especially vs 23: “Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” A few observations: 1) The lying spirit is from the Lord, 2) the lie itself is from a lying spirit, not the Lord, 3) the idea to lie came from the lying spirit (vs 21), and 4) the invitation to “entice” came from the Lord (vs 20). Do these verses square with the rest of Scripture on God’s role in temptation? Do these verses square with your perception of God’s role in temptation?

Today’s section of Psalm 119 reveals a truth relevant in almost every situation: wisdom/knowledge/understanding comes from knowing the law of the Lord. Specifically, the Psalmist attributes his wisdom to not only the law of the Lord, but also the “commandment,” “testimonies,” and “precepts” of the Lord. Additionally, the Lord’s precepts bring not only wisdom, but a hatred for “every false way” (vs 104). My take-away from these verses: know the law/commandment/testimonies/precepts of the Lord.

“Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God” (Lk 4:34). This verse is basically the narrative replication of James 2:19… “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!”

As far as I can tell, verses 18-20 of Ephesians 6 are about prayer (“praying at all times,” “keep alert… making supplication,” etc), but those verses are an elaboration of verse 17, where Paul commands his readers to “take” the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (the “word of God”). It’s as if Paul is explaining that “taking” salvation and the word of God naturally results in much prayer.

Daily Scripture readings for November, set #14:

2 Kings, chapters 1-3
Psalm 119:105-112
Luke 4:38-44
Philippians 1:1-11

There are many interesting narratives in the first three chapters of 2 Kings. The “fire from heaven” consuming Ahaziah’s men before Elijah, the “she-bears” tearing into the young boys that mocked Elisha, and even Elisha waiting for a musician before he could prophesy… all these are worth dwelling on and observing. But for me, the most interesting moment in this section is the end of chapter 3. If I’m reading verses 26-27 correctly, the situation is that the king of Moab, in losing his battle with Israel, decides to offer his son as a burnt sacrifice, and as a result “there came against Israel great wrath.” Wrath from God? Wrath from the god that the king of Moab sacrificed to? What is going on here?

“The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts” (Ps 119:110). Even being acted against in wickedness does not give the Psalmist permission to disobey God’s law.

Jesus’ tactic with a fever? To rebuke it. “And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her” (Lk 4:39).

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is not for health, prosperity, or safety, but rather for love with knowledge and discernment. How wise and Kingdom-minded for Paul to ask the Lord for these things.

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