Devotion for Thursday, May 14, 2020
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Collect: Heavenly Father, guard and keep us from the assaults of the devil, the deception of the world, and the desires of our sinful nature. Protect us that we may not be deceived or misled by lies about You, be overcome by despair of Your mercy, or be seduced into a way of life that leads only to death. Shield us by Your grace and strengthen us by Your Word and Spirit that we may withstand every attack and finally win the victory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Hymn of Reflection: “From God Can Nothing Move Me” (LSB 713)
How many times have you heard a well meaning Christian trying to comfort someone through a difficult time, whether that being when they’ve hit rock bottom due to their own sinful choices, or even at the loss of a loved one, saying things like “Don’t worry, it’s all part of God’s plan,” or “It’s all happening the way God wants it to,” or even “God sent this your way for a reason.”? When I hear things like this I cringe. While said with the best of intentions, all three of those statements are lies, and are contrary to the Word of God. This is what the 6th petition of the Lord’s Pray speaks about.
And lead us not into temptation.
What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.
“Sure, that’s what the Catechism says.” I hear some grumble, “But what does the Bible say?”
You read some of them above, but really, the best one is in the first chapter of the book of James:
“12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
When we tell people that ‘it’s all part of God’s plan for you’ we are outright lying according to this verse. God never wants people to sin or face the outcome of it in death. He doesn’t lead them into temptation to see how they’ll handle it or to teach them a lesson. Does He know it’s going to happen? Yes. Does He know the outcome of it? Yes. But we should never assume that means he has planned it, or even wants it to happen.
How many of you parents have see your child doing something wrong, and tried to tell them not to, but they just wont listen so you just have to let them do it their way and make their own mistakes? How many of you, despite your hard work throughout the years, your passionate teaching on the subject, and your own faith, have had to watch your children walk away from church? Walk away from the Lord? When you saw their life choices, and you saw where it was leading them, I know you warned them, you tried to encourage them to change and come back, but they wouldn’t listen. So has He.
God has taught us all from a young age, through those placed in our lives, through His very Word, what is and is not good for us. He warns us of the sinful world, satan, and our own misleading fallen nature, but we always seem to know better, don’t we? We often times find ourselves wandering away from the green pastures and off into the hills, and wilderness only to find ourselves lost and bleating. This wasn’t the Shepherds plan for us, this was our plan. This wasn’t His will, it was our will. It is not the will of God that any one should die! When He created the universe, death wasn’t a part of that, it came later it came through our actions. He doesn’t want anyone to suffer from lack of food or resources such as food or water, He has given this planet more than enough to feed every mouth on it twice over, but man is greedy. We want to have more selection at the grocery store when we go shopping, we don’t want to eat the same thing every day. How much food is thrown out every week by just one grocery store because it went bad or expired? Enough to feed one small village in a third world country for a month? They starve because we are gluttons, not because God isn’t providing for them.
Pain, suffering, hunger, death – none of this is what God wants for us, this is what we bring on our selves, by our own sinful choices, and the sinful choices of those around us.
Oh Lord, lead me not into temptation.
Help me not to blame You for the bad things – but help me to realize my part in them.
Help me not to lead others to blame you for their troubles either – but help them to turn to you for help in those times instead.
Help me not to rely solely on myself all the time, especially when the hard times hit – but instead, turn to You and ask for Your hand to guide me, Your rod to comfort me, and Your staff to protect me.
We should keep a watchful eye out for the temptations and seductions of the satan, the world and our sinful nature. As Jesus did when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, we should turn to God’s Word for the strength to face life’s challenges, praying that He would help us through them – just like Jesus warned His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane:
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38)
When we are faced with the trials and suffering of others, we shouldn’t offer them empty platitudes, and false words that just sound pretty but aren’t truthful either. We should again turn to His Word and comfort them with the certain hope of Christ and the resurrection that He won for us.
When we see others suffering, instead of: “Don’t worry, it’s all part of God’s plan” – we should rather say: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
When we see others struggling, instead of: “It’s all happening the way God wants it to” – we should rather say: “14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!” (Psalm 31:14-15)
When we see others questioning and searching, instead of: “God sent this your way for a reason” – we should rather say: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
God doesn’t tempt us, He doesn’t lead us into temptation, but He does help us through them when they fall upon us, or even when we blindly or even wantonly walk headlong into them – He is with us through it all: guarding, guiding, protecting and loving. In your times of trial remember that. When you see others struggling, encourage them with that. When you are faced with temptation of your own, turn to your Father and know that He is listening, and that He will never leave you to face these difficulties alone. Amen.
In Christ and His service,