Tempt means to entice one to commit an unwise or immoral act. Something that tempts or entices causes one to be in a state of temptation.
Today we will look at three examples from the Bible that teach us important lessons about temptation and how we can be victorious over the temptations in our own lives. Our first example is about a young man named Joseph. You can find Joseph’s story in the book of Genesis. Joseph is one of the two youngest sons of Jacob, and he was about seventeen years old at the time of this story. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of their father’s love for him, and because of their jealousy, his brothers hated him. So they sought to do Joseph harm, and eventually, his brothers sold him into slavery to a man named Potiphar.
“1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.”
At the beginning of Genesis chapter 39, we read that Joseph’s brothers treated him cruelly because they were incredibly jealous of their father’s love for him. So the brothers plotted to kill Joseph but instead sold him to an Egyptian household as an enslaved person. God did not abandon Joseph but had His hand on him, and Joseph quickly advanced in the house of Potiphar. Joseph feared God, and God was with him. So instead of keeping him as a mere slave, Potiphar made him his steward and overseer of his whole house.
What did Joseph do when this temptation came at its strongest? He not only refused her, but he fled from her as he would have done as if someone were trying to kill him. Joseph escaped for his life! This behavior of Joseph, without doubt, is recorded for the instruction of all. We have to avoid the things that are themselves sinful and those that lead to sin. Any sin we commit is evil and separates us from God.
Before we sin, there is always a temptation. Temptation is not a sin, but it is the testing point for sin. Joseph did not know that his boss’s wife would tempt him, but if he had given in and not fled, he would have sinned. What do we do when temptation meets us? Are we fleeing from the wrong, or are we giving in? What happens when the temptation to lie, get angry or do anything that transgresses God’s commandments challenges us?
Would you walk across a river where the ice was all broken up? No, you would avoid it. Would you take your money and throw it into the sea? No. Would you walk off the edge of a cliff? No, you would flee from the area. If we say we love God and follow Him, we will flee from doing anything sinful. We will stay as far away from sin as possible.
Our second example is about a man named Achan, whose story we can find in the book of Joshua. Before the Israelites would conquer Jericho, God commanded them not to take specific items from spoils because they were accursed. Achan was tempted in Jericho by things he’d seen and then desired to have, which God said not to take. Achan took the accursed items anyway and hid them in his tent. God told Joshua there was sin among the Israelites, and Achan finally confessed. God became very angry, and Achan’s action became responsible for the defeat against the Israelites when Joshua sent the men into Ai.
Our last example is our Lord Himself. When the devil tempted Jesus, what did He do? Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” In other words, get out of here, devil! I am sure Jesus was not timid about this either. Instead, Jesus was forceful and commanding. He rebuked the devil amid temptation. Jesus knew we would experience temptation, so He taught us to pray in this way:
Do you think these commands are any less important today? No, we need to watch lest we enter into temptation or, in other words, SIN. We need to flee anything that looks, acts, or talks like SIN.
How have you been doing in your life? Have you been letting temptations lead you to sin? If yes, God gives you the power to defeat and overcome temptation through His Son. When we get saved and stay close to God, we can flee whenever the temptation arises.
1 哥林多前书 10:12-14