“There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that you may be able to bear.” (I Cor. 10:13)
Temptation is often identified as a myriad of impulses and feelings that are the catalyst which moves a person unto sin; this is not a proper understanding of either temptation or sin. A temptation is an experiment to prove the quality or veracity of a matter. It is neither an instigator which spurs an action nor an antagonist which solicits a response.
Temptation is the manner in which the eternal sovereign of the universe gives an open manifestation of the inherent nature of the subjects of His creation and the frailty of the environment which He has prepared for this magnificent pageantry to come to pass. He tries the quality of the mountain by the earth which quakes and moves. He confirms the strength of the tree by the velocity of the wind and proves the sweet nectar of the flower by the harshness of the winter. He is not provoking the mountain into an act which proves that it has been established, for what could a mountain do but reside where He placed it and be moved when He has ordained that it should be moved. He gives a daily demonstration that the mountain is established by the moving of the earth around it, relentlessly pounding the wind against the slopes and rocks and the slow erosion of the rain and rivers over the annals of time. The great King over all the earth is not hoping that His work will hold up under test, as if the forces of nature were isolated from the power of God, He is proving His Lordship over all He has created by bringing against them that which reveals what they are and who has created them.
These experiments of proving through pressing (trails and tribulations) are also not something which God neither does for amusement nor are isolated to the children of the Kingdom of light. This is the way of God which is common to all men yet all men do not perceive this work of God. The natural sons of Adam cannot know this work even when they are heavy laden under the burdens of which has been given unto them. Their minds have been filled by the decree of God with the things of this world so that they cannot find out the work which God performed in the beginning and which continues from generation to generation. Solomon saw that God had ordained that every son of man should be disciplined in these labours (Ecc. 3:10f) exactly as God had proclaimed in the garden to Adam (Gen. 3:17ff).
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen. 3:6)
God proved the father of all mankind in the beginning to shew what manner of being he is. God gave him all that he needed and provided a garden, proportionately prepared to His exact specification. He blessed Adam with the fullness of all tings but He did not create him holy and without blame. Adam was created able to be corrupted and incapable of measuring up to the perfect standards of the Holiness of God; and thus man was proved to manifest his nature.
The serpent came unto Eve, the weaker vessel, yet Adam was there with her. He did not intervene nor act as the mediator between the wicked one and God. The serpent, according to the subtlety which God had given unto him to be used in the performance of his duties, brought forth a question a concerning the word which God had spoken, the provisions which God had given and the right of God to do what He had done. Thus the adversary was as properly equipped as the actors so that the performance of the matter fell out exactly as the designed and administrator had ordained.
Eve was drawn away after the desires of the flesh. She saw that the fruit was good for food as the natural needs became the first line of reason and conjecture. They had been given liberty to eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden and yet with this buffet table before them, she wanted that which was forbidden. Had God given them no other fruit to eat? Had He lied to them about the abundance of the yield and deceived them as to the availability of these provisions? No, these things do not exist ! Yet in complete deference to the obvious provision and devoid of the knowledge of good and evil, the man and woman followed after their nature desires for food and were proved by this experiment.
Eve also saw that the tree was ‘ desirous to the eyes ’. The honour of the possession and utilization of the wonderful ornaments of this tree was understood to give great satisfaction and delight. This was based completely upon theory and speculation since none had partaken of the fruit. There was no clinical analysis, no public opinion polls and no testimonials of man as to the proof of these inferences, yet the natural mind was swayed by the allurement as seen through the limited corrupt eyes of Eve.
She also gave incontrovertible evidence that they were not content with the station in life God had assigned. Adam was not endued with all wisdom and understanding and he full well knew that God was the ruler over all His creation. While these two notions are compatible, since that which of the flesh was created, the fullness of comprehension of them can only be when the Spirit bears witness with the seed born from above. The natural man will never be satisfied for God has made him to seek out that which is greater than him (Acts. 17:27). Thus Adam was desirous of that which he could not attain and which he could not comprehend as he was deceived by the pride of his heart to think that he dwelt in the cleft of the rocks where he was untouchable by God, yet; “ though you exalt as the eagle and though you set your nest among the stars, thence will I bring you down, said Yehovah” (Ob. 3f).
Yehovah God sits in heaven and rules over the kingdoms of this world but the foolish heart of man proclaims that there is no God as he strives to be like the Most High and impose his will upon creation.
“And Yehovah stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite of the seed of the king of Edom” (I Kings 11:14)
God had blessed Solomon with greater possessions and wisdom than any king that had been before him. Nor would there be a king like unto him for he had “ come to a great estate and have gotten more wisdom than all that have been before me in Jerusalem: truly my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge” (Ecc. 1:16).
This blessing of God was great in magnitude and many came from fart away to hear the Wisdom of Solomon yet this blessing also caused him to know that “ in much wisdom is much grief and he that increases in knowledge increases sorrow”. He saw that the world was full of labours which never satisfied the actors and that the earth and all tings contained were completely worthless “ vanity of vanities all is vanity”.
God proved this blessing as He sent forth the adversary unto this most gifted of servants. The first adversary was the ‘ might of Adam” (Hadad of Edom) who came forth out of the ‘ great house ’ (Pharaoh) as the remnant of Edom (Adam) which God had protected in the ‘ land of double defense ’ (Egypt). He was preserved in this land as a child when David slew all the males of Edom by the hand of Joab (Yah is Father) until the appointed hour. Then in the fullness of time, when all the enemies of David were under his feet, God brought forth the might of Adam to prove the wisdom and the frailties of Solomon. This might of Adam is the same trial that Eve endured in the garden for it is the lust of the flesh.
The second adversary whom God raised up against His servant was a family member. This was a ‘ prince ’ who was a son of Eli-adah, son of David. He was one of the nine children born unto David when he lived in Jerusalem (II Sam. 5:16) but he rebelled against his master. He was of the house of the ‘ mighty helper ’ and a son of his ‘ station ’ but like Adam in the garden, he was not content with the station he had been assigned, even before he was born, nor satisfied with all he had been given. He began a campaign against his father, who, according to the hand of God, regained the boundaries of the land as promised by Yehovah to Abram many years earlier. And when the exalted band (Syria) came to their ‘ strong-hold ’ (Helam) and attempted to ‘ expand ’ (Sho-bach) into the land of promise, Father Yehovah again gave the Beloved the victory; “ and the Syrians fled before Israel” (II Sam. 10:15ff).
Even though Yehovah God fought for David and Israel and gave the victory over all the enemies of His people yet the lusts of the eyes was not overcome in this son of the King who “ gathered men unto him and became captain over a band when David had slew the men of Zobah: and they dwelled in therein and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon,” (I Kings 11:24). This man was convinced that he was to be king of Israel because he was a son of David. He was not convinced of the right of Solomon to the throne and he would not remain in his first estate (station) and so his rebellion against God was the trail for Solomon all the days of his life.
The third adversary whom God lifted up against Solomon was the question of his kingship. God fueled and enraged the ‘ contention of the people ’ (Jeroboam) against the house of peace through a simple prevarication which developed into a public outcry and ended in the division of the kingdom. Solomon had built many structures and cities in Israel and the cost was enormous. He provided jobs for many of the children of Israel but he did not lay this economic burden upon them. Instead; “ all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Periz-zites, Hivites and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel, their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able to utterly destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bond-service unto this day” (I Kings 9:21). Yet when the contention of the people arose, the spokesman for the people said; “ Your father made our yoke grievous; now therefore make the grievous service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve you”.
Just as in the garden the subtlety of the adversary lie sparked an outcry of injustice as the pride of life was offended. This trying of the house of Solomon and Israel was to prove the natural characteristics of the people and to once again show that they were and still are a stiff-necked and rebellious people (not the nation of Israel or the descendants of Jacob but the natural man). And just as the northern kingdom, drew nigh unto God with their lips, albeit through false religion served by the common man in attendance unto man invented forms of worship, so the way of man is like unto the dog back to his vomit; if left to the inherent natural instincts, man delights in the darkness rather than the light.
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name is Job and that man was perfect and upright and one that feared God and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1).
God dispatched the adversary against His servant, not because of anything which he had done, but to prove he was a child of grace. This proof was not needed before God for He had pronounced this man as being perfect, not in Adam for in Adam all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. God declared Job a perfect man because he was born of the eternal incorruptible seed that cannot sin. He also stated that this man had a reverent respect for the Almighty and turned away from evil. This reverent respect can only exist because of the Spirit of God dwelling within teaching, admonishing and strengthening the child as he walks the path assigned unto him. This Holy Ghost reveals the light of the glory of God which illuminates that which the natural man has concluded is proper and correct before God. Yet when the light shins forth, the children of the King see the uncleanness of their ways in Adam and, being ashamed of the filth and wretchedness of their ways, they flee unto the Rock from whence they were hewn.
The adversary first alleged that Job was faithful because of what God had given him; his argument was that his station in life made him a believer in Yehovah God. God granted permission unto this adversary, His servant, to take all that Job had as the trial of the desires of the flesh was made evident. Job saw all his possessions destroyed and his family slaughtered yet the imputed faith of the Son of God could not be altered or diminished in any way.
The adversary then cast the aspersion against God that Job loved Him because God protected him in his prestige and prominence in the town and in his appearance before man. God gave permission for the desires of the eyes to be touched by the hand of the adversary but the life of Job was hid in the Anointed; this he could not have.
Finally the adversary came unto Job as one who was in God’s stead (Job 33:6). He came with flattering words and a semblance of comradery as he pressed hard upon Job to denounce the righteousness of God and yield to the logic of man; “ Therefore, men of understanding, hearken unto me: far be it for God to do wickedness and for the Almighty to commit iniquity. For the work of a man shall He render unto him and cause every man to find according to his ways. Truly God will not do wickedly neither will the Almighty pervert judgment” (34:11).
Here the pride of life is again presented as a reason for Job to stand up for who he was and what he had done. He was accosted with the notion that if he indeed was righteous as God had said, then surely God would not lay His hand upon such a good and proper servant. But Job is not left to answer this one who presents himself as ‘ he who is my god ’ (Eli-hu) for Yehovah God rebukes him and dismisses him, ending this testing and preserving His servant.
“Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was famished” (Matt. 4:1).
Yehovah God made Himself of no reputation and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He endured all the weakness and frailty of these frames of dust along with the contradiction of sin against Himself. He ate when He was hungry, drank when He was thirsty and slept when He was tired but unlike Adam and his children, the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah was not subject to the needs or desires of the flesh.
The adversary, Satan, was sent to prove Him when His body was in a much depleted stage. He had not eaten in forty days or nights (a time of preparation in the scriptures) when the wicked one came to Him with the first trial. The pains of hunger were pressing upon the man Jesus as the adversary gave affront to His Sonship by stating; “ If you be the Son of God, command these stones be made bread”. The lust of the flesh was to be satisfied by the hand of the Son of God and the proof of His Sonship was to be made manifest by the attention to the needs of the flesh.
The Lord rebuked Satan. He confirmed that the body of this habitation is worthless by means of the needs for nourishment and constant attention, and was indeed that land in which there was a famine; “ not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of Yehovah” (Amos 8:11). He declared than man lives by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. This Word is personified as the Word which is ‘ sharper than any two-edged sword ’ which proceeds out of the mouth of He who has the seven churches of God in His right hand. It is also in the hand of the children of the King unto whom it has been granted to be arrayed in the whole armour of God. Thus they live by the sword of Yehovah, the Word of God.
The adversary then took Jesus up to the holy city which is not Jerusalem in Palestine. Here, upon the pinnacle of the Temple, which is the body of the Anointing, Satan impugns the Sonship again by calling for an open demonstration for all to see; “ cast Yourself down; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning You: and in their hands they shall bear You up lest at any time You dash Your foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:10).
This open show was for a demonstration for the eyes to see and thus was to be a tangible proof of the Sonship; thus, prove You are the Son of God by casting Yourself off and having the messengers attend unto You. But what a man sees, why then does he yet hope? Those things which are seen are temporal and fade away. The salvation of Yehovah has been revealed unto all flesh, both Jew and Gentile. His word is not for all mankind for the natural man cannot hear the voice of the Shepherd and therefore does not follow Him, so the Lord again rebuked the adversary saying, “ You shall not tempt Yehovah your God”. The test of the lust of the eyes or proof by sight was answered in the affirmation of the sovereignty of God over all things.
The last proof came when the devil took Jesus up to an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. Even with today’s advanced technology, the top of Mt. Everest would not yield such a view of the kingdoms of this world. Satan presents his canard by insinuating that the kingdoms of this world belong unto him. Indeed he has been stationed as the ‘ god of this world and the prince of the power of the air ’ but Yehovah God reigns over all His creation. Jesus thanked the Father as He was glorified in His crucifixion “ as You have given Me power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” (John 17:2). And again the host in heaven before the throne praised His name saying, “ We give You thanks Lord God Almighty, which is and was and is to come; because You have taken to You Your great power and has reigned” (Rev. 11:17). And so the rebuke to the adversary, the wicked one, is “ Get away, Satan, for it is written You shall worship Yehovah your God and Him only shall you serve.
The sons of Adam were proven to be weak and insufficient by the test assigned unto them. As members of the new covenant, they see the ways of man and the filthiness of the body of this death. They know, as the prophet proclaimed, that all flesh is grass and that in them dwells no good thing. This is the testimony of the evidence which the experiment has proven by pressing.
The Son of Man, however, is the bodily manifestation of the fullness of the Godhead. He cannot fall short of His glory nor can He deny Himself. It is because of His love for His people that he has endured the contradiction of sin against Himself but unlike the tabernacles of death, He overcame the wicked one by the power of His might. His shed blood upon His people identifies them as His Beloved and thereby they overcome the adversary and his ways.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience” (James 1:2).
The perfect work of patience is the complete manifestation of the vileness of man. When this proof is completed and time is no longer the drill sergeant of creation, then shall death be swallowed up in victory; but as this habitation continues, the way through the experiments, which are common to all men, is made manifest as the race is run. The faithful God and loving Father has not assigned a test which is greater than the earthen vessel, mind or seat of emotions He has designed. He has provided the path through these proofs not so that a short cut may be found or an assignment obverted, but rather, that each of His children may be able to bear them.
The fruit of the Spirit is patience and as each child of the virtuous woman grows in the grace and knowledge of His will they are strengthened with His might as they are shown through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, their inadequacies in Adam.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
February 26, 2017