And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:13
“And Do Not Lead Us Into Temptation”
Why would God ever lead us into temptation? Why then pray that God would not do that? Does this make sense?
Actually, it does. Do you recall that the Holy Spirit (Who is God) led the Lord Jesus Christ (Who also is God) to be tempted in the wilderness by the devil?
(Matthew 4:1ff. Luke 4:1ff.).
Why did God “tempt” His own Son? The answer to that is the exact opposite of what is often offered – – it was not to show that Jesus could have sinned, but to demonstrate that He could not sin! It was a demonstration of His deity – – as God, Jesus could not have sinned!
But, then, why are we to pray for God to refrain from leading us into temptation? Allow me to quote from a well-known Greek scholar of the past:
“’Bring’ or ‘lead’ bothers many people. It seems to present God as an active agent in subjecting us to temptation, a thing specifically denied in James 1:13. The word here translated ‘temptation’ (peirasmon) means originally ‘trial’ or ‘test’ as in James 1:2. But God does test or sift us, though He does not tempt us to evil. …Here we have a ‘Permissive imperative’ as grammarians term it. The idea is then: ‘Do not allow us to be led into temptation.’ There is a way out (I Corinthians 10:13)….”A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. I, p. 54
No, God never tries to get us to sin – – perish the thought! We need to pray that He will not allow us to be led into temptation – – by the devil, as the next phrase implies by the context. And, I believe, that this is the key in understanding this very difficult phrase. A classic case in point would be the godly man by the name of Job (you may wish to read Job chapters 1 and 2).
Lord, do not lead me into temptation, I pray!
“But Deliver Us from The Evil One”
It was C. S. Lewis (of The Narnia Chronicles fame) who caused me to think of the relationship of the devil to God (in his book,The Screwtape Letters). I used to think of the devil as the opposite of God. It is absolutely true that he is an opponent or antagonist of God. However! It must be categorically stated that he is not God’s equal by any stretch of the imagination. God is the Creator, while all other beings, including angels of various positions, are created. There is a vast gap between Creator and creature that will not be merged!
If you ask whether the devil is powerful, the answer is “yes!” But, for one, he is not all-powerful (that is reserved for God alone). Two, the devil’s power is derived from God – – Job chapter 1. (That is, he can only do what God allows him to do). His power therefore is not inherent (only God has inherent power)! Thus, only God can deliver us from this evil one we know as the devil or satan.
When we think of what this evil one can do, it is imperative that we ask God to deliver us from his actions: he deceives, lies, destroys, puts evil thoughts in peoples’ minds, blinds people to the Truth of God’s Word, creates doubt, and a whole host of other evil activities. There is absolutely no good in him even as there is absolutely no evil in God!
Let us not underestimate the power of the evil one. Having said this, however, it is imperative to realize that God is far greater and more powerful! And thus our prayer is directed to the Almighty God who is pleased to deliver us from this evil one and his schemes. Why not ask Him to do so?!
“For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen”
We have now reached the conclusion of this majestic prayer modeled by the Lord Jesus Christ. There are 3 eternal matters that belong to the God of the Bible alone:
- The kingdom of this universe belongs to God forever! He is the King and this universe is His domain – – no one else’s! He owns this universe and all its contents; past, present and future.
- The power of this universe belongs to God forever, and it belongs to Him alone! All other power is derived whereas His power is inherent! He is the all-powerful One! He utilizes His power according to His wisdom and in agreement with His nature. In contrast, I am weak and fully dependent upon His power to sustain me. When this entire universe crumbles, I need to be reminded that His power is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25)!
- Finally, His alone is the glory both now and forever. No human or other is entitled to it. Glory belongs to God in the highest!
Allow me to close with some glorious words:
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty. For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all” (II Chronicles 29:11).