JUDGEMENT AND TEMPTATION

Happy New Year and welcome to another year of seeking out the mind of God through the reading of the Scriptures.

The themes of Judgement and Temptation are represented in our two readings today in Genesis 7 (Noah and his family in the ark) and Luke 4:1-13 (The Temptation of Jesus). Genesis 7 opens the debate as to whether the Genesis Flood was a local or a universal event. The text suggests a cataclysm, with subterranean and atmospheric waters surging on an earth wracked with earthquakes. The statement in verse 19 “all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered” has been taken by one side as evidence the Flood was local, for there is not enough water on earth to reach the likes of Everest etc. The same verse is taken by the other side as evidence for a universal Flood. It is possible, it has been suggested, that the pressure of the waters may have caused the earth’s then unstable surface to thrust up peaks and depress seabeds.

We get distracted because this debate obscures the main point of the passage. Three times Genesis 7 repeats it. “Every living thing that moved on the earth perished” (v.21). “Everything on dry land….died” (v.22). “Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out” (v.23)

The Flood is history’s great affirmation that God is mankind’s judge – and that God WILL judge sin. Imagine how the people who were contemporaries of Noah must have scoffed and made fun at him building the ark. Peter (in the New Testament) calls on such people to look back AND look forward…”But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heaven and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:5-7)

The Genesis Flood is history’s grim reminder that sin is going to meet with divine judgment and that sinners will be judged.

In Luke 4 we are read of of the temptations that Jesus had to go through. We see in verse 1 of Chapter 4 that “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit….was led by the Spirit”
These early chapters of Luke emphasise the ministry of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life here on earth. The Spirit not only led Christ into the desert to be tempted, but Jesus began his ministry in the power of the Spirit (vs.14-15). It was also announced that the Spirit of the Lord was on him to preach the Good News and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. Everything that Jesus did was infused with God’s Spirit.

There is another interesting point here. We realise that the Spirit enables us to serve the Lord. But we may not think of Him leading us into difficult times. Here Luke reminds us that the Spirit may even lead us into temptation – But He also has the power to make us victorious. James 1:13 reminds us that “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.”

When Satan tempts, he lures a person into doing evil. Satan was successful in tempting Adam and Eve, but failed completely in trying to tempt Christ.

A mishandling of temptation now will lead to judgement later.

Praise God that we have ample forgiveness in Christ.

Why not pray now, that you will not be lead into temptation. The Evil One will be trying his hardest to distract you from Christ and His Church throughout this year. Don’t be deceived….Satan is good at it. Better than we are at resisting.

This means that we have to be constant in prayer that we will be able to withstand against the Evil One. This is why the Lord’s Prayer is so strong on praying that we will overcome temptation.

Be practical too….don’t place yourself in the path of temptation – flee from it.

Have a great day,

Peter Clark.

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