April 7

1 Kings 11-13, Psalm 97

The 4 P's of temptation never change: pride, power, pleasure and purse. When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, these were his tactics, as we read her response to the temptation in Genesis 3:6, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate...". Satan's methods didn't change 4000 years later when he tempted Jesus in the desert in Matthew chapter 4. In his temptation to turn the stones into bread in 4:3 after Jesus' 40 day fast, he was appealing to the pleasure of allowing the flesh to rule over the Spirit. In his second temptation in 4:6, to throw Himself down and allow the angels to catch Him, Satan was appealing to His pride to test the Father. In his third temptation in 4:9, Satan tempted Jesus with power over all the kingdoms of the world. We know that each time Jesus chose to defeat Satan and overcome the temptation with the Word of God, specifically quoting from the book of Deuteronomy. In 1 John 2:16, almost 60 years after the encounter in the desert, we read, "For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world." These same temptations are the same ones that seek to devour us now.

When Moses wrote the law concerning the conduct of the future kings of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:16-20, we read, "But he shall not multiply horses for himself,...Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself...that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren,...". These warnings detail avoiding the 4 P's: the horses represent power, the women represent pleasure, the silver and gold represent the purse, and the last portion speaks about pride. Though Solomon was blessed with wisdom, and God blessed his kingdom, Solomon forgot the law and fell in each and every area. So wealthy was Solomon, that we read in 1 Kings 10:21, "All King Solomon's drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon." We read in 10:26,28, "And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen,..."Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh;...". We next read in 1 Kings 11:1-3, "But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharoah: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites-from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart."

Solomon made the same mistake that so many of us make. We know the law, but when temptations come our way, somehow we convince ourselves that God's Word doesn't apply to us or to that particular circumstance and we can somehow rely on his mercy and grace and get by with a little disobedience. Despite all of Solomon's wisdom, his life became one of folly or foolishness all because he thought God's Law somehow didn't apply to him. One only needs to read Solomon's writings in the Book of Ecclesiastes to see the folly of his pursuits in his later life. We, who are in a relationship with Christ are blessed immeasurably. But we must never think there will ever be a ceasefire from our enemy, Satan, who still launches the 4 P's as effectively now as he did back in the garden, 6000 years ago. Satan's playbook never changes, and it doesn't have to, since it is still quite effective. Each is tempted differently but follows along the same line. When we find ourselves being tempted, may we remain strong, remembering the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "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 a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Like Jesus, who effectively fought against Satan with the Word of God, may we also do the same as we abide in His Word.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster