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Sinful temptations come from three sources: the world, the flesh and the devil. They can also come in a wide variety of ways. Some temptations are extremely subtle and gradual. Others are sudden and obvious. This Biblical study centers on sudden temptation and what happened to those so tempted. Some, when tested, were taken down spiritually, but others were victorious. If one yields to sin temptation it will lead to death:Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. (James 1:14-16)
Since the three main areas of temptations center around money, sexual immorality and power these will be our focus. Scriptures cite examples of sudden temptation in all three.
Sinful Temptations With Money
Achan's Sinful Sudden Temptation
Achan was an Israelite soldier who took plunder when it was forbidden by God. His sudden temptation involved a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels:
Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.” Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD. Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.” Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. (Josh 7:19-25)
His sin brought him and his children to a premature death. He apparently thought he could hide his sin, but with God there is no secret sin for any person ever! In case you are wondering, the amount of silver and gold he was tempted with was about 80 ounces of silver and 20 ounces of gold. Had Achan not taken the forbidden, he would have gotten plunder, without judgment, soon afterwards!
Daniel's Sinful Sudden Temptation
Daniel, the prophet, was an outstanding servant of God in Babylon itself. He is an example of a man of God who was not controlled, or even influenced, by material things or power:
Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means. (Dan 5:16,17)
Sinful Temptations With Sexual Sin
David's Sudden Sinful Temptation
David had a humble beginning as a shepherd. Because of his great faith in God he killed Goliath and all of Israel noticed him for the first time. Eventually he became king. There is no question he had a close walk with God at an earlier time as is revealed in some of the Psalms he wrote from that time period. Later in life, he faced sudden temptation and King David sinned. He was temtped with sexual immorality and yielded:
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” (2 Sam 11:2-5)
David is an example of a righteous man who turned to evil and died spiritually:
If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it. (Ezek 33:18)
His adultery wasn’t his only sin. He also deceived, got the woman’s husband drunk, and had the same man murdered in a wicked attempt to cover up his sexual sin. In fact, it was premeditated cold-blooded murder of a faithful soldier. His sin brought him other things too -- fear, shame, disgrace and various troubles, including death in his own family.
(**David’s infidelity to God is even cited by people in our day in an attempt to lessen the effects of sinful activity.)
Joseph's Sudden Sinful Temptation
The opposite of David with sexual temptation was Joseph. At the time of his sudden temptation with sexual immorality he was a single man:
So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. (Gen 39:6-12)
Joseph’s correct view of adultery and being mindful of God was a major part of the victory for him. He was more afraid of God than man. He knew that sin would be a wicked thing and a sin against God.
Sinful Temptations With Power
Athaliah's Sudden Sinful Temptation
The most evil woman in the Bible was Jezebel. Her daughter was Athaliah, a prime example of a person who faced sudden temptation with power. When her son (King Ahaziah) was killed, she wanted to gain that power for herself so badly that she was even willing to kill her own blood relatives to get it:
When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. (2 Ki 11:1,2)
Her sudden temptation for power would lead to the death of many. She gained the power she lusted after for awhile, then she, herself, was later killed.
Moses' Sinful Temptation
Moses was the most humble man on earth in his day. He was also a man who was not power crazy, even in his ministry:
However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” (Num 11:26-29)
This life is a long spiritual test for all of us. It is filled with many painful and subtle tests along the way. Chances are, the vast major who read this will be tempted with money, illicit sex and/or power to some degree. When such temptation comes will you be more like an Achan, David and Athaliah or a Daniel, Joseph and Moses? You can NOT sin and get away with it! No one ever has and you surely will not be the first! Remember also that no sin or person is worth going to hell over and when sudden temptation comes RESIST. GOD BLESS YOU.
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