The Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”
1. One of the most puzzling pieces of the Lord’s Prayer
“Far be the thought that the Lord should seem to tempt as if he were either ignorant of [the limits] of someone’s faith, or else eager to overthrow [that faith].”
--Tertullian (AD 192)
2. James 1.13
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone.
3. The Greek word for temptation has a range of meaning…
a. James 1.2: “trials”
b. James 1.12: “trial”
c. James 1.13-14: “tempted”
4. So, maybe it means… “Lead us not into testing…”; but this doesn’t seem to make sense in light of Matthew 4.1:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
5. God does test his children…including his Son, Jesus!
6. God’s goals and Satan’s goals in testing/temptation are different!
a. God tests us to show us what is in our hearts and to do good for us: Deuteronomy 8.2, 16
i. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8.3 in Matthew 4.4 in his resistance to the devil’s temptations
b. Satan tempts us so that we will fall into rebellion against God
i. The devil is called the “tempter” in Matthew 4.3
ii. The devil is seeking to subvert God’s plans; not help Jesus!
7. Main issue: Asking God not to lead into areas of testing in which we will fail and be overcome by the enemy
8. Seems to be confirmed by the second half of petition: “deliver us from evil”
a. Can be translated: “deliver us from the evil one”
b. Greek preposition “from” is mainly used of persons
c. Matthew’s first mention of “temptation” in 4.1-11 is closely tied to the devil
9. The last three requests of the Lord’s Prayer presuppose something about us, the praying people…
10. Some perspectives on when we are tempted to sin:
a. First, when we are tempted to sin we should not blame God: James 1.13
b. We should recognize that temptation is common to us all and that God faithfully helps us: 1 Corinthians 10.13
c. Jesus has been tempted in all things and yet did not sin. He can sympathize with our weakness: Hebrews 4.14-16
11. Some perspectives on being delivered from evil:
a. Issue: God’s providential guiding of our life
b. Not simply: “Let go and let God”
c. We are engaged in prayer in asking the Father for safety
i. Acts 12.1-5 and then see verses 6-19
ii. Ezra 8.21-23
d. God’s providences of deliverance works in and through our prayers
i. Philippians 1.19
ii. 2 Corinthians 1.8-11 (esp. v. 11)
iii. Romans 15.30-31
 “’[D]eliver us’ can take either the preposition ek (“from”) or apo (“from”), the former always introducing things from which to be delivered, the latter being used predominately of persons.” D. A. Carson, “Matthew” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary—vol. 8 [ed. Frank E. Gaebelein; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984), 174.