James 1:13 – Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
This is a very critical Scriptural principle to understand. “God cannot be tempted by evil.” I think of Job when I read this. In the Book of Job it tells us that Satan appeared before God. Satan pointed out Job to God and requested permission to tempt Job. Satan hoped to cause him to curse God. God gave Satan permission, but forbade him to take Job’s life. Was God being tempted by evil? Was God tempting Job by giving Satan permission? I believe the answer is “no” on both counts.
First of all, God is Sovereign. He could have removed Satan from His presence if He had so desired. In the wisdom of God, He gave Satan permission to give Job trials that surpassed that which a human being should normally have had to endure. God knew His plan for Job and He allowed Satan to test Job.
Secondly, it was Satan who tempted Job. It was in his heart to tempt Job because he hated the “righteousness” that was in Job. God did not tempt Job directly. God only gave Satan permission to tempt Job. As James said, “He Himself does not tempt anyone.” Temptation is a universal problem for all humans. It began in the Garden when Satan, in the form of a serpent, asked Eve “hath God said”?
All temptation is centered in one thing, “rejecting God’s Word” over a suggestion. The suggestion is rooted in “lust,” desiring what I want over what God wants for me. The weakness of the flesh is in “my want.” Eve wanted to be like God, to be in control of her own destiny. The death of Christ was the only cure for dealing with the sin of mankind. The temptation offered by Satan was for Adam and Eve to receive immediate gratification. Jesus rejected the offer as a human and died an awful death for all of mankind. Once and for all, Satan was defeated and his power restricted by Christ.
He is still roaring like a lion, but has been defeated by the “Lion of Judah.” Paul declares, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The Holy Spirit will never leave us nor forsake us. He will provide wisdom and overcoming power if we will resist the tempter and trust in Christ’s overcoming life. Job made a choice to trust God no matter what. Choose this day whom you will serve!