Friday, 7/17/20 – Friday Question: Puzzling Promises

How do I make these promises “work” for me?

person placing hands on bible

I can’t seem to make these two promises “work” for me? Why not? Has God failed me? What’s wrong?

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Before I address the two scriptures about which you specifically ask, I must comment on how you have framed your question.

The promises of God are not commodities that we pull of a spiritual toolbox to make “work” for us. The promises of God are components of our relationship with Him. They are further graces that we enjoy as we walk in fellowship and obedience with Him. They must also be properly understood in the contexts and with the stipulations that may go with them.

20200716_090052Take the 1st Corinthians 10 promise for example. Here God is not guaranteeing that you in your own power will be able to overcome every temptation which comes at you. No, He is saying He will provide a way for you to escape. If you choose not to take that way but choose rather to be “dragged away by your own evil desire” (James 1:14) you will be fully responsible for the outcome to which this choice leads.

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15).

Indeed we are often tempted above our own ability to resist. Joseph, for example, when tempted with the brazen advances of Potiphar’s wife, he knew he was in over his head and so he simply ran away. (Gen. 39). “Flee from sexual immorality,”Flee the evil desires of youth,” wrote Paul (1 Cor. 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:22). Running from sin is not an act of cowardice, but of wisdom.

gray scale photo of a woman about to climb the fire escape ladder
Take the Escape!

Even the Apostle himself acknowledged times of being “under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure.” But why? Paul adds, “…this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” (2 Cor. 1:8, 9). We need to choose the “escape path” He has promised to provide.

As to the second scripture, this promise is clearly to those who “take delight in the Lord.” This means the things of the Lord give you your greatest joy… you desire them. In fact, in the original Hebrew the word “delight” derives from a root meaning to be soft or pliable. The desires of the Lord’s heart, become “the desires of your heart,” and these indeed the Lord will grant.

pensive male teen on gray background

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.


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