‘What king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.’ Luke 14:31–32
Suggested Further Reading: Judges 16:4–22
You may be enticed by friends who will be very pressing. You can give up sin just now, but you do not know who may be the tempter at some future time. If she should allure you, who has tempted so well before. If he should speak. He! the very word has wakened up your recollection; if he should speak as he alone can speak, and look as only he can look, can you then resist, and stand out? That witching voice, that fascinating eye! O how many souls have been damned for what men call love! O that they had but a little true love of themselves and others, and would not thus pander to the prince of hell. But alas, while the cup itself looks sweet, there is to be added to it the hand that holds it out. It is not so easy to contend with Satan when he employs the service of some one whom you esteem highly, and love with all your heart. Remember the case of Solomon whose wisdom was marvellous, but who was enticed by his wives, and fell a prey into the hands of the evil one. It needs a spirit like the Master’s, to be able to say, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’ to the tempter, when he has the appearance of one of your best loved friends. The devil is a crafty being, and if he cannot force the door, he will try and get the key which fits the wards of the lock, and, by the means of our tenderest love and affections, will make a way for himself into our hearts; you will find it no easy task therefore to contend with him.
For meditation: Even our nearest and dearest are sinners and possible sources of temptation to us (Deuteronomy 13:6); if we expect too much from them, they will let us down sooner or later. It is far better to reserve our true confidence for God himself (Psalm 118:8–9; Micah 7:5–7).
Sermon no. 632
6 February (Undated Sermon)