“Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents” (1 Corinthians 10:8-9, NKJV).
In Genesis 15, God made a glorious agreement with Abraham. He instructed the patriarch to take a female heifer, a female goat and a ram and cut them all in two. Then Abraham was to take a turtledove and a pigeon and lay them on the ground, head-to-head. Abraham did as he was instructed, and as these creatures lay bleeding, vultures began to descend on the carcasses.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:11,16, ESV).
Paul is giving this teaching about the battle that we’re in and what we need to be victorious in it, what we need to pick up or put on. Notice, you can’t just acknowledge that there’s armor. Scripture doesn’t say “study the armor of God.” It says, “Put on the armor of God!”
The early church found itself in very similar circumstances that we find ourselves in today. They were living under the authoritarian rule of Rome with its most ungodly, pagan culture. Violence was publicly glorified. They were faced with sexual immorality that surpassed even the vile degradations that we see in our own culture today.
In our times of trial and temptation, Satan comes to us bringing lies: “You’re surrounded now and there is no way out. You’re a failure, otherwise you wouldn’t be going through this. There’s something wrong with you and God is sorely displeased.”
In the midst of his trial, Hezekiah acknowledged his helplessness. The king realized he had no strength to stop the voices raging at him, voices of discouragement, threats and lies. He knew he couldn’t deliver himself from the battle, so he sought the Lord for help. And God answered by sending the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah.
We all face temptations and have two options in these moments: either flee from them or allow them to lead us into sin. Scripture tells us that God provides a way out when temptation comes, and Gary Wilkerson shows us in this powerful teaching what that journey looks like.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Paul had just asked the question: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (8:35).
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:10-12).
The Lord gives many distinct promises to defend and keep his people from evil and harm. However, how many people truly walk in the freedom of these verses? Consider, for example, Psalm 91:5: “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.”