“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13 NIV
This will be a short blog post because this is a pretty short verse.
And because I’m not sure I understand it very well.
Almost every version/translation of this verse says essentially the same thing, although a few use ‘testing’ in the place of ‘temptation’ and some end with ‘deliver us from evil’ instead of ‘the evil one.’
My problem is that we know from other places in scripture, and from our knowledge of His character, that God doesn’t tempt us. Which is what the first part of this sentence seems to be saying . . . “lead us not into temptation . . . .”
It would make more sense to me if this sentence in the prayer said, “God, lead me FAR AWAY from temptation and rescue me when I venture too close to it!”
That’s what I would like it to say.
And, to be honest, that’s how I pray some times. “God, save me from myself!” Because, if I’m honest, there are times when I know better but still get too close to things (relationships, activities, attitudes) I shouldn’t spend my valuable time, energy, and emotions on. Things that I know, based on my history, have a tendency to sidetrack me and pull my focus away from God and the path He wants me on.
While God doesn’t ever tempt us, He will occasionally lead us into a time of testing. If you haven’t experienced testing personally, I’m sure you know someone who has. And if you don’t, just check out the book of Job, or the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, or the story in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness immediately following his baptism to be tested by Satan.
While these times of testing can (and do) build our faith, I believe their primary purpose is to reveal the faith we already have. To show those around us that God is the focus and foundation of our life—and that He is worthy of all our praise and our trust.
Even when what He leads us to and through doesn’t make sense.
Kinda like this verse