Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 20

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In our last discussion on the theme of temptation, the thought came up of how we actually tempt God seeing that God cannot be tempted with evil:

Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

We will look at how this is done. As we know, Satan is the tempter and deceiver whom God created for that purpose (Mat 4:1, Luk 22:31, Gen 3:1-5, Act 5:1-11, Job 2:4-5, 1Th 3:5). He gets ‘an advantage of us’ all in the first Adam because initially we have no ability to resist his wiles or subtleness:

2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (Greek: noema = mind).

His “devices” relate to his mind, and naturally we share the same carnal mind as Satan. That is why our inherent lusts and pride are easily enticed by his approaches as Adam and Eve also revealed to us (1Jn 2:16, Rom 8:6). When Jesus was hungry after a fast of forty days and forty nights, He was tempted by this same tempter to turn the literal stones to bread, and this was Jesus’ defence:

Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

We live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. By God’s mouth He speaks His word which created all things, even the darkness and the evil:

Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This is so important to realize because even the evil is a creation of God by which we all shall live as it came from the mouth of God. When Jesus was tempted by Satan to cast Himself from the pinnacle of the temple in order to get His Father to send angels that He will not as much dash His foot, Jesus said these important words:

Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
Mat 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Those words of Jesus were quoted from the Old Testament:

Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD [Hebrew: yehovah] your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Here we see why God, the Father who is spirit, is never tempted with evil. The Hebrew refers to the name ‘yehovah’. We know that the ‘yehovah’ or ‘I am’ of the Old Testament is the LORD Jesus whom God, the Father, used to make all things in this creation. Jesus openly admits to His ‘I am’ status during His earthly ministry for which the Jews wanted to kill Him (refer to Rom 11:36, Joh 8:23-25, Joh 8:56-59, Mat 22:32-33, Mar 14:61-64):

1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Jesus is “the Lord your God” as appointed by God, the Father (Isa 9:6, Joh 1:1-4, Col 1:15-17, Heb 1:1-4). Naturally, we have the same mind of the serpent, and we also tempt ‘the Lord our God’ (Jesus) in many ways as we will see. In our last discussion we saw that Satan tempted Jesus to apply His words to physical things only and to place His will above that of the Father. The way physical Israel tempted the Lord at Massah helps us also to see how we tempt the Lord:

Exo 17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
Exo 17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
Exo 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
Exo 17:4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
Exo 17:5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
Exo 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Exo 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD [Hebrew: yehovah], saying, Is the LORD [Hebrew: yehovah] among us, or not?

“Is the LORD among us, or not?” This is what all carnal minds do – they cannot see the Lord Jesus as present in every aspect of the generation of the first Adam from the beginning. This was the same mindset that was in Adam and Eve before they ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They could not see that it was God who sent the serpent to tempt them. They were also ignorant of the truth that God was aware of every word they spoke to the serpent. God indeed understands our thoughts ‘afar off’ as He knows our words ‘altogether’:

Psa 139:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Psa 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
Psa 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
Psa 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

There is no way we can get away from Him or think He is not ‘among’ us, meaning working all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11):

Psa 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Psa 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Such truths are truly “too wonderful” to accept for the natural mind of all in the generation of the first man Adam (1Co 2:14, 1Co 1:27-29):

Psa 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

We, as Adam and Eve did, tempt God when we cannot see that His work in our lives was before we even took our first breath when we say, “God does not care for me.” He wrote all the things that happen in all our days in His book when none of those days were even there yet:

Psa 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
Psa 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psa 139:15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

God’s hand was not removed from us at any stage. He works the droughts in our lives, and He supplies the waters at His appointed time. We naturally cannot see this, and we choose to see God as a distant God from whom we can actually hide:

Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool [Hebrew: ruach = spirit] of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

“The days of His flesh” is now applicable to us as “members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones…. because as He is, so are we in this world” (Eph 5:30, 1Jn 4:17). God willing, we are now doing the enduring and resisting temptations, like Christ and by Christ living in us. Physical or carnal things are what this evil world is all about, and it cannot know God’s ways. That is referred to as a “hardened” heart. A carnal mind is a “hardened” heart which also refers to our time in ‘the wilderness’, even natural Eden, when we cannot obey God’s commandments:

Psa 95:8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Psa 95:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
Psa 95:10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
Psa 95:11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

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