A 6-PART STUDY OF THE LORD’S PRAYER
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
Deliver Us From Evil
MONTE W. HOLLAND, GUEST WRITER
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This study began with my personal story, Where I Learned Key Church & Scripture Readings.
Each of the remaining 6 parts of this study of The Lord’s Prayer will reference selections drawn from the writings of three historical clergymen:
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
Adam Clarke (1760-1832)
Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
These commentators lived long ago, but their words still ring true. They have a universal power in our lives.
I will write a personal perspective following the commentator’s words. I invite you to add any comment you might have in the comment box at the end of each study.
WEEK 5 INTRODUCTION
We are now down to the last petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus teaches us to make these final appeals—to not be led into temptation and to be delivered from evil. These matters are so serious that we cannot handle them by ourselves. I am reminded of the so-called ‘seven deadly sins.’
Think about the temptations to greed, to pride, to gluttony, to sloth, to anger, to lust, to envy. We need God’s help as we encounter these landmines along the road of life.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714)
Matthew Henry on “Lead us not into temptation”
6. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. This petition is expressed, (1.) Negatively: Lead us not into temptation. Having prayed that the guilt of sin may be removed, we pray, as it is fit, that we may never return again to folly, that we may not be tempted to it.
Matthew Henry on “Deliver us from evil”
(2.) Positively: But deliver us from evil; apo tou ponerou–from the evil one, the devil, the tempter; “keep us, that either we may not be assaulted by him, or we may not be overcome by those assaults:” Or from the evil thing, sin, the worst of evils; an evil, an only evil; that evil thing which God hates, and which Satan tempts men to and destroys them by.
Source: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832)
Verse 13. And lead us not into temptation]
The process of temptation is often as follows: 1st. A simple evil thought. 2ndly. A strong imagination, or impression made on the imagination, by the thing to which we are tempted. 3dly. Delight in viewing it. 4thly. Consent of the will to perform it. Thus lust is conceived, sin is finished, and death brought forth. Jas 1:15. See also on Mt 4:1. A man may be tempted without entering into the temptation: entering into it implies giving way, closing in with, and embracing it.
Adam Clarke on “Deliver us from evil”
But deliver us from evil [APOTOUPONHROU, from the wicked one. Deliver us] RUSAIHMAS-a very expressive word-break our chains, and loose our bands-snatch, pluck us from the evil, and its calamitous issue.
Source: Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
ALBERT BARNES (1798-1870)
Verse 13. And lead us not into temptation. A petition similar to this is offered by David, Ps 141:4 “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity.” God tempts no man See Jas 1:13. This phrase, then, must be used in the sense of permitting. Do not suffer us, or permit us, to be tempted to sin.
Albert Barnes on “Deliver us from evil”
Deliver us from evil. The original, in this place, has the article– deliver us from THE evil–that is, as has been supposed, the evil one, or Satan. He is elsewhere called, by way of eminence, the evil one, Mt 13:19, 1Jn 2:13, 14, 3:12. Deliver us from his power, his snares, his arts, his temptations.
Source: Barnes’ New Testament Notes
I cannot help but want to put the Lord’s Prayer and its details into the context of something I understand. The Lord God is so big and so infinite and so eternal. God’s ways and God’s thoughts are far beyond our grasp. After all, heaven is beyond our knowledge base. However, we do have a limited sense of the Kingdom and God’s will through the life of Jesus.
The tangible things like ‘bread’ are on our agendas regularly. However, we wrestle with intangible things like trespasses, forgiveness and a life of forgiving. Forgiving seems mostly beyond our reach.
The worst cases seem to involve the ‘I’ word. The weird thing is that my ‘I’ believes that only ‘I’ know who I am, but in addition my ‘I’ thinks I know others better than they know themselves. My ‘I’ assigns itself the role of impartial observer. At least that is the way I often act. How then am I to understand real forgiveness? When I do this, I elevate my judgment to that of God—and that is the height of trespass against God, the one I need forgiveness from.
Understanding the concepts of ‘lead us not into temptation’ and ‘deliver us from evil’ are more tangible than trespass and forgiving. At least we think we understand temptation and evil. On the other hand understanding temptation and evil and conquering them it in our midst are two different things. Temptation by its very nature is seductive—convincing us that our weaknesses and our abilities are far different than they really are. Evil has a way of redefining itself right before our eyes in ways that make it palatable.
Where does that leave us?
Although God’s kingdom was introduced to us by Jesus, God is far beyond my knowledge. The playing field is so tilted that it seems I need to hang on for dear life.
Throughout the Lord’s Prayer we offer our love letter to God. Don’t worry that God is the great mystery of our life. Jesus didn’t make that an issue. Our relationship with God is the issue at hand. We need to
- praise God to the best of our God-given ability
- acknowledge that which we do not really understand
- live expecting that God will care for our needs
- appeal for forgiveness
- anticipate developing a forgiving nature
These last petitions acknowledge our weakness—we need God’s help to deal with temptations; evil is often more than we can deal with without God’s help. Honesty and integrity are key words when we pray. We honestly need God’s help to negotiate the landmines of life, especially where temptation is faced, trespasses are made, and forgiveness is required.
Coming next Wednesday—The Concluding Words