Temptation under pressure…

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Psalm 141: 8 But my eyes are turned toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenseless. 9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me, and from the snares of evildoers. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I alone escape.

In this part of the psalm King David asks the Lord for help in resisting the plans and wiles of “evildoers”. We don’t know exactly what sort of evils were proposed by such persons, but we do know two important things:

9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me, and from the snares of evildoers. 

1) We know that David was dealing with temptation. David does not say who the evildoers were, but I’m guessing they were people close to him – perhaps his political advisers or military commanders. And I’m also guessing they were proposing a solution to a legitimate problem, as would be expected in service to their king. However, it could be that the solution they were bringing to David, while perhaps dealing with the problem, would have put him at odds with the commands of God. Hence the temptation: solve the problem via ungodly methods or remain true to God – and allow the problem to linger.

One of the sins that God’s people committed repeatedly was seeking alliances with nearby countries as a means of protection from military threats. Such alliances would often require sacrificing to the gods of these other peoples, a form of idolatry and a major sin against God. I could give more examples, but you get the point.

8 But my eyes are turned toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenseless.

2) David knows his own willpower is not enough to avoid falling into temptation. He needs the power of God the Father to remain true under duress. Let’s face it – under pressure to “do something” as leaders – it’s easy to make bad decisions. We’re tempted to do the wrong thing if it will relieve the pressure we’re experiencing at the moment. It’s a short-term fix that creates long-term problems. Some questions I’m asking myself this morning:

Where am I under pressure in life right now?

How am I being tempted to do the wrong thing to solve my problem?

What would it look like for me to deal with my problem in a way that honors God – even if it doesn’t “fix” the problem right away?

Am I seeking strength from the Lord in prayer to do the right thing or am I trying to do so in my own strength?

Heavenly Father, life presents us with many difficult problems. And, in our weakness, we’ll often turn to just about anything to relieve the pressure. This morning we acknowledge the traps that such short-term fixes can become for us. Give us grace to honor your will and your ways at all times, especially under duress. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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