Title: OH, THAT YOU WOULD KEEP ME FROM EVIL
Text: 1 Chr. 4:10
Previously we have looked at the portion of the prayer of Jabez (Yah-bates) concerning praying for God to enlarge our territory and asking His hand to be upon us. Since God certainly wants to expand His outreach in this world, He is ready to answer this request…more than ready…He’s just looking for a willing servant. The opportunities that will come our way will be bigger than us, so we plead for His hand to be upon us. It is a mighty hand that is upon us…the hand of the Lord. You might be feeling confident at this point and think you can jump into anything and face the opportunity. So you might logically the next phrase of the prayer would be, “Lord, Keep me through evil.” But that isn’t the way Jabez worded it. With much insight, he worded it, “Keep me from evil.” Let’s find out why.
Jabez understood something most of us don’t: if you are going to expand God’s influence in the world, we are operating on foreign soil of the enemy, and we will face battles. Thus this is a request for supernatural power to work through our weakness. It is a petition for God to protect us from Satan’s proven ability to chew up servants.
1. In what way does success bring with it greater opportunity for failure? (You no longer think you’re in the battle and that some of the success is by your own hand, and thus we don’t rely upon God.) What impact have you seen of successful Christian leaders who have fallen into sin?
Insight: Someone said being blessed by God carries one of the greatest perils…it tends to dull our keen sense of dependence on God and make us prone to presumption.
2. What attacks can we expect upon our family and us when God blesses our ministry, job, and territory? (Distraction, opposition, oppression.)
Comment: We were redeemed and commissioned for the front lines. That’s why praying to be kept from evil is such a vital part of our prayer.
3. What is a balanced view of our strengths? Deut. 8:11-19; Phil. 4:13
4. What happens spiritually when our guard is down? When our resistance is down?
5. How can we guard against that? (Cry to the Lord that our resistance is down, that we can’t cope with temptation and to guard us in the mean time…keep me from evil.)
6. What help can we expect from the promise in 1 Cor. 10:12-14?
7. Usually we pray for the strength to endure temptations, for victory over the attacks. What is there about this prayer that makes it a better strategy?
8. Does this prayer strategy coincide with what Jesus wants for us? Matt. 6:13
Insight: Most of us face too many temptations, and therefore sin too often, because we don’t ask God to lead us away from temptation. We make a huge spiritual leap forward when we begin to focus less on beating temptation and more on avoiding it.
9. There is a key insight concerning temptation when we look at the model of Jesus. How did He handle the times when He was confronted with our archenemy? (He refused to get into a discussion with Satan; rather He quoted Scripture and told him to depart.)
10. Is temptation sin? What’s the difference? (One look can’t be avoided; what you do next determines whether it’s sin…if your pupils dilate.)
11. Who is stronger…Satan or unredeemed man? Who is stronger…Satan or a believer? Related to this, what is the lesson learned from Jude 1:9; Eph. 6:13; Ja. 4:7
12. What danger, if any, is there in a little bit of knowledge, knowing a little bit of Scripture? (Satan beguiled Adam & Eve, and even does so to us, by a little bit of truth, yet it was cloaked with a lie. Satan approached the human race at its peak of promise and performance and crushed us with one friendly conversation.)
Comment: A prayer to keep from deception: “Lord, keep me from making the mistakes I’m most prone to make when temptation comes. I confess that what I think is necessary, smart, or personally beneficial is so often only the beautiful wrapping on sin. So please, keep evil far from me!”
13. After we have served the Lord for a while, what danger is there in self-confidence? (Not being watchful; pride spells disaster because of it’s false security.)
14. Is what feels right always right? Explain. (No. What feels right appeals to what we deserve, which can be another cloak for hidden dangers.)
Satan most opposes those who are becoming the greatest threat to him and his kingdom. Therefore all the more reason to pray this prayer and be prepared to confront spiritual attack.
Sometimes facing evil can’t be avoided, especially when God is leading us to make an offensive attack against darkness. In those times we can be assured God will fully equip us. 2 Cor. 10:3-6
Stay out of the arena of temptation whenever possible. But never live in fear or defeat. God’s power is able to keep your spiritual legacy safe, as you live a life of example for others who follow. Col. 2:13-15