The Lord’s Prayer – Preparing for God’s Kingdom: Time of Trial April 6, 2014

The Lord’s Prayer – Preparing for God’s Kingdom

Time of Trial               April 6, 2014

1 Corinthians 10:6-14                       Matthew 6:13

Praise the Lord! It is a new day.  We get to see God’s mercy today.

Yet, there are also new temptations today.  We also get to see more evil today.

As we live our lives, we can charge or retreat.  It is knowing which to do that has an effect on our living, and our dying.  Because of God’s mercy, we can charge into our lives and do good for others.  Yet, because of the many ways that we can go astray, we need to know when to retreat.  “When asked what was the best test of greatness in a general, General Wellington, one of the generals who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, replied, ‘To know when to retreat and to dare to do it.’”[1]

As disciples of Jesus Christ, maybe one test of our faithfulness to God is to know when to retreat and do dare to do it.  There are temptations that test us.  And this happens daily.  Sometimes there are great temptations.  Sometimes the temptations are not so great.  Then there are times that evil seems to be piling up against us.  It is in these times that we want to win the battle, or at least retreat so as to live free from evil.

Let us figure out how we can make it through a time of trial in our lives.  They do surely arrive in our lives!  We also want to consider calling upon God when evil arrives in our lives.  We dare not give into the evil one.

 

A. “And do not bring us to the time of trial”

  1. Temptation – πειράσμος – put to the test, adversity, putting to proof
  2. Trial – the trial may be new every day
  3. Who tempts us?
  4. God? Do we have to prove that we are faithful to God? – without blaming God for our sin?
  5. Ourselves or other people? Do we tempt ourselves?
  6. The devil?  Does this happen slowly, so as to lose faith in God?
  7. Maybe the temptation or time of trial that we all face is to remain faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
  8. “I used to”
  9. “Look at all those hypocrites”
  10. I posed a question on my Facebook timeline: When you hear that in the near future that you have a test, what do you do? It doesn’t matter the subject matter, or whether it is work-related, or school.
  11. A college buddy – Panic and run screaming from the room.
  12. A retired colleague – Studying for a blood test is useless, I know…
  13. A librarian – Well I usually don’t have tests…But when I did I would procrastinate until a day or two before, purchase some energy drinks and/or coffee, pull “all-nighters” the two nights before (and by that I mean I work until 3 am and claim I’m just laying down
  14. Maybe the test we are facing, we need to study
    1. maybe even the Bible
    2. maybe even pray
    3. maybe even have friends who keep us on track with God
    4. God gives us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  15. “And” shows up again.  After we have had our daily bread and daily doses of forgiveness, we are praying for a way to stay clear of the “time of trial.”  Every day we can face temptations.  Every day our integrity can be tested.  Every day the values we hold dear can be tried.  We are asking God for assistance so that we can remain true – to ourselves, to others, and to God. Yet there are times in our lives in which more difficult times come.  For what do we ask at those times?

B. “But rescue us from the evil one”

  1. We need delivered – even if we don’t want to admit it
    1. What people plan for evil, God can make into good (Genesis 45)
    2. David prayed for deliverance (the Psalms)
    3. The prophets prayed for deliverance
  2. Evil or the evil one?
    1. Evil – can be translated as a generic idea of evil
    2. Evil one – at various times in Scripture, evil is personified as the devil
    3. Jesus told the parable of the one unclean spirit who got 7 more unclean spirits to invade the house that the one had resided in
  3. Whether evil is personified as the devil or described generically as evil, we do need delivered from it.  Evil is too powerful for us.  We need God’s assistance to overcome evil.
  4. John Calvin: “It makes very little difference whether we understand by the word ’evil’ the devil or sin.  Indeed, Satan himself is the enemy who lies in wait for our life (1 Peter 5:8); moreover, he is armed with sin to destroy us.  This, then, is our plea: that we may not be vanquished or overwhelmed by any temptations but may stand fast by the Lord’s power against all hostile powers that attack us.  This is not to succumb to temptations.”[2]
  5. This last thought in the Lord’s Prayer is not an afterthought.  It is probably the hardest part to pray.  For as we are living as disciples, we think we are learning to stand on our own two feet.  It turns out, that we are learning to seek God, even every day of our lives.

 

We pray for much when we pray the Lord’s Prayer.  We want God to help us to remain faithful to him.  And He helps us, even when the time of trial comes.  We want God to rescue us when it seems that evil has overcome us in the time of trial.

 

So, our way out is to continue to read the Bible – for it reminds us of how God has worked in the past.  Our way out is to pray – it is hard to know how to live if we don’t ask the one who has given us life.  Our way out is to continue to be involved with those who are part of our prayer – the church.  I don’t believe God wants us to leave the church when the time of trial comes.

 

[1] Wilson D. Weldon, Our Father, (The Upper Room, Nashville; 1968), P. 53

[2] Jan Milic Lochman, The Lord’s Prayer, (Wm. B . Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 1990), p. 154

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