Sunday Reflection: The Temptation to Sin

  • April 11, 2021
Sunday 11

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

When the ancient Israelites camped by Mount Sinai in Exodus 32, Moses went up the mountain to meet with God. Days turned into weeks, and the people grew restless. So they asked Aaron—the man in charge while Moses was gone—to create a new deity for them to worship. Aaron gave instructions to collect the jewelry they had brought out of Egypt, and once it had been melted and formed into a golden calf, he built an altar where the people could worship it.

It was a brash move, given the miracles God had already performed for the people. Yet how many times have we similarly lost patience when waiting on God? We might not build an actual idol or a physical altar, but there are many times when we choose to turn elsewhere for comfort and answers. These modern idols can take many forms, and some that are even neutral or positive become harmful when put on a pedestal.

Think about it
• Can you remember a time when you had a need but sought its fulfillment from something or someone other than God? How did that turn out?

• What are some ways you can be better prepared next time the temptation comes up?

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 20-22

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1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

2 Aaron said to them, Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."

3 Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.

4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt."

5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD."

6 So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

7 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.

8 They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, `This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'"

9 The LORD said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.

10 Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation."

11 Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, `With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"

14 So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other.

16 The tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets.

17 Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, There is a sound of war in the camp."

18 But he said, It is not the sound of the cry of triumph, Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat; But the sound of singing I hear."

19 It came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses' anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.

20 He took the calf which they had made and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it.

21 Then Moses said to Aaron, What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?"

22 Aaron said, Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil.

23 For they said to me, `Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'

24 I said to them, `Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.' So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."

25 Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control--for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies--

26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!" And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him.

27 He said to them, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.'"

28 So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

29 Then Moses said, Dedicate yourselves today to the LORD--for every man has been against his son and against his brother--in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today."

30 On the next day Moses said to the people, You yourselves have committed a great sin; and now I am going up to the LORD, perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."

31 Then Moses returned to the LORD, and said, Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves.

32 But now, if You will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!"

33 The LORD said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.

34 But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin."

35 Then the LORD smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made.

1 Now a worthless fellow happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew the trumpet and said, We have no portion in David, Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse; Every man to his tents, O Israel!"

2 So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah remained steadfast to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

3 Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.

4 Then the king said to Amasa, Call out the men of Judah for me within three days, and be present here yourself."

5 So Amasa went to call out the men of Judah, but he delayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him.

6 And David said to Abishai, Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord's servants and pursue him, so that he does not find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight."

7 So Joab's men went out after him, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men; and they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

8 When they were at the large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military attire, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; and as he went forward, it fell out.

9 Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with you, my brother?" And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.

10 But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab's hand so he struck him in the belly with it and poured out his inward parts on the ground, and did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.

11 Now there stood by him one of Joab's young men, and said, Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab."

12 But Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.

13 As soon as he was removed from the highway, all the men passed on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

14 Now he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, even Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they were gathered together and also went after him.

15 They came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood by the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall.

16 Then a wise woman called from the city, Hear, hear! Please tell Joab, `Come here that I may speak with you.'"

17 So he approached her, and the woman said, Are you Joab?" And he answered, I am." Then she said to him, Listen to the words of your maidservant." And he answered, I am listening."

18 Then she spoke, saying, Formerly they used to say, `They will surely ask advice at Abel,' and thus they ended the dispute.

19 I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?"

20 Joab replied, Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy!

21 Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will depart from the city." And the woman said to Joab, Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall."

22 Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem.

23 Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites;

24 and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder;

25 and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests;

26 and Ira the Jairite was also a priest to David.

1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."

2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah).

3 Thus David said to the Gibeonites, What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?"

4 Then the Gibeonites said to him, We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel." And he said, I will do for you whatever you say."

5 So they said to the king, The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel,

6 let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD." And the king said, I will give them. "

7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between David and Saul's son Jonathan.

8 So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite.

9 Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.

10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.

11 When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done,

12 then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa.

13 He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus they did all that the king commanded, and after that God was moved by prayer for the land.

15 Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary.

16 Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, was girded with a new sword, and he intended to kill David.

17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel."

18 Now it came about after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among the descendants of the giant.

19 There was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.

20 There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant.

21 When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David's brother, struck him down.

22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

1 And David spoke the words of this song to the LORD in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

2 He said, The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.

4 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.

5 For the waves of death encompassed me; The torrents of destruction overwhelmed me;

6 The cords of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.

7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, Yes, I cried to my God; And from His temple He heard my voice, And my cry for help came into His ears.

8 Then the earth shook and quaked, The foundations of heaven were trembling And were shaken, because He was angry.

9 Smoke went up out of His nostrils, Fire from His mouth devoured; Coals were kindled by it.

10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet.

11 And He rode on a cherub and flew; And He appeared on the wings of the wind.

12 And He made darkness canopies around Him, A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.

13 From the brightness before Him Coals of fire were kindled.

14 The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice.

15 And He sent out arrows, and scattered them, Lightning, and routed them.

16 Then the channels of the sea appeared, The foundations of the world were laid bare By the rebuke of the LORD, At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.

17 He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.

18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.

19 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support.

20 He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

21 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not acted wickedly against my God.

23 For all His ordinances were before me, And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.

24 I was also blameless toward Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity.

25 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness before His eyes.

26 With the kind You show Yourself kind, With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;

27 With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the perverted You show Yourself astute.

28 And You save an afflicted people; But Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase.

29 For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness.

30 For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.

31 As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

32 For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God?

33 God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way.

34 He makes my feet like hinds' feet, And sets me on my high places.

35 He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

36 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help makes me great.

37 You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped.

38 I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed.

39 And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise; And they fell under my feet.

40 For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

41 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, And I destroyed those who hated me.

42 They looked, but there was none to save; Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.

43 Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth; I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets.

44 You have also delivered me from the contentions of my people; You have kept me as head of the nations; A people whom I have not known serve me.

45 Foreigners pretend obedience to me; As soon as they hear, they obey me.

46 Foreigners lose heart, And come trembling out of their fortresses.

47 The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,

48 The God who executes vengeance for me, And brings down peoples under me,

49 Who also brings me out from my enemies; You even lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man.

50 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, And I will sing praises to Your name.

51 He is a tower of deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever."

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Publish Date April 11, 2021
Sunday Reflection: The Temptation to Sin

There are many things we turn to for fulfillment, but lasting contentment is found in God alone.

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