Deliverance from Temptation.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-13
“God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also.”
The history of Israel in the Exodus was one of failure and sin. At every turn, they seemed to turn their back upon the God who delivered them and violated the covenant they affirmed. Even though God brought freedom from their bondage, they continued to crave their sinful pleasures. As a warning to us, Paul points to their behavior as an example for us how not to live. Even as God communicated his covenant promises and stipulations to Moses, the people were breaking their promise by embracing the worship of an idol (vs. 7, Exodus 32:8). While they were in the wilderness, they committed both spiritual and physical adultery with the women of Moab (vs. 8, Number 25:1-2). When the journey became long, the people became impatient and critical of both Moses and God (vs. 9, Numbers 21:4-5). When Korah rebelled and promoted insurrection, God brought immediate judgment. But rather than repent, the people blamed Moses and Aron and grumbled against God (vs. 10, Numbers 16).
Having reminded of the failures of Israel, Paul then gives us a stark warning, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (vs. 12). Ever the prophet, Paul warns that the propensity towards sin and rebellion against God is just as present in us as in the nation of Israel. The first step toward dealing with sin is recognizing that we are drawn to it and no one is free from its enticement. Paul reminds us that every person faces the same struggle with temptation, and no one is exempt by pointing out that temptation is common to all of us (vs. 13a). But just when Paul confronts us with the darkness of our soul, he gives us hope and confidence. He reminds us that we are not in the battle alone, nor do we fight against the temptations of sin by our strength.
In contrast to our faithlessness stands the faithfulness of God. Not only is he faithful in his promises, but he is faithful in protecting us even from ourselves. He knows our limits and carefully orchestrates the events in our life so that we will not face situations we cannot withstand. There is no temptation that is irresistible or unconquerable. However, the ability to resist the temptation does not come from our inherent strength; rather, as Paul points out in the rest of the verse, it comes from the enablement of God, who provides us both the strength to endure and the avenues to escape sins and temptations clutches. It is worthy to note that Paul inseparably connects the arrival of the temptation with the opening of the door to escape. God’s assistance in temptation is never delayed. God not only protects us from temptation (“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” Matt. 6:13), he protects us through the temptation and trial we face. We are assured that it is never inescapable or irresistible, no matter how intense our struggle may seem.
Like the people of Israel, so also, we face temptations and trials. We face temptations from Satan and temptations from our sinful desires. We face situations that undermine our faith and challenge our trust in God’s provision and his Word. But the temptations we face, no matter how strong or intense, never need to lead to sin. God never abandons us to face the struggle alone, but he remains the unseen hand working to protect and strengthen us no matter what we face. When you face a struggle in your life, seek God’s strength, and then look for his open door of escape.