Facing Temptation

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it – 1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV

Temptation is something we all face. Even Jesus faced it. There are two responses to temptation. Resist or succumb. Joseph and King David both faced temptation. Both women of the women involved were married. We know that one of them was very beautiful. It’s possible that the other was beautiful too.

Image from Joseph 1995 Film

Potiphar’s wife was constantly urging him to sleep with her but he refused. She couldn’t seem to take no for an answer although he explained to her, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8, 9, NKJV).

Day after day, she pestered him and he continued to refuse until one day, when they were alone in the house, she caught him by his garment saying, “Lie with me,” but, he broke free and fled. At first, Joseph did his best to resist temptation but when it became very strong, he ran from it.

King David, on the other hand, faced temptation and instead of turning away from it, he inquired about the woman he had seen bathing. He was told that she was the wife of Uriah, one of his soldiers. That was David’s way out of the temptation. The woman was married to one of his men. Just as Joseph didn’t want to betray Potiphar’s trust, David should have been reluctant to betray Uriah’s.

However, unlike Joseph, David wasn’t thinking about Uriah or God. He was thinking about himself and what he wanted. He wanted another man’s wife and he was going to have her. In his determination to satisfy his desire, he ignored the Word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her (2 Samuel 11:4, NKJV).

Joseph didn’t give into temptation but Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempted rape. Unfortunately, Potiphar believed her, his anger was kindled and he put Joseph in prison. Joseph had done the right thing but it cost him his freedom and Potiphar’s respect. Yet, in spite of what happened, God was with Joseph.

David, on the other hand, hadn’t counted on Bathsheba becoming pregnant with his child. He thought he could sleep with her and that would be the end of it but that wasn’t the case. Now, he was in a quandary. What was he going to do?

He tried to get Uriah to go home and have relations with his wife so that he and everyone would think that the unborn child was his but David’s plan didn’t work. Why didn’t it work? “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” Uriah was a man of honor and integrity. His loyalty was to the king who had betrayed him.

When David’s plans for Uriah to sleep with his wife to cover up the fact that he had gotten Bathsheba pregnant, he devised an evil plan. He wrote a letter to Joab and had Uriah deliver that letter. In it was an order to “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” David had evolved from an adulterer to a murderer because he had broken God’s Law and had succumbed to temptation. It’s possible that Joab, David’s commander of the army may have lost respect for him on account of what he did to Uriah.

Uriah died not knowing about his King’s treachery or his wife’s adultery. The child David had with Bathsheba died even though David had prayed for it to survive.

Image from King David 1985 movie

If David had resisted or run away from temptation, an loyal soldier would not have lost his life and an innocent child would not have died. Temptation in of itself isn’t a sin but it becomes such when it is acted upon.

When faced with temptation, what will you do? Will you run away from it run straight into it? Will you heed the voice of the Holy Spirit? Will you pray and ask God to deliver you? Will you allow His Word to guide you? When tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus used the Word of God to withstand him. When tempted, we can turn to Jesus, our High Priest, “who understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned” (Hebrews 4:15, TLB).

Don’t be discouraged or hard on yourself when you face temptation. As mentioned before, we are all tempted at some point in our lives. It is how you respond to temptation which matters. You don’t have to give in. With God’s help, you can resist. Remember, He will always find a way out of it for you and all you have to do is to take it.

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