Saturday, December 27, 2008

Job 4.5: Temptation (Part 2)

The way to deal with lust is not to deny and pretend we don’t desire anything, but to realize that all desirable things come from God. Therefore how to get them is by the way the giver designates. It is God’s desire to give us our desires just as a good husband desires to provide for the desires of his wife.

Psa 21:1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

The king rejoices in YHVH’s salvation because it was God that gave him his desire. This is just speculation on my part, but I wonder if when we read this “his heart’s desire” are we meant to read it “God gave him what his heart desired…” or are we meant to read it “God gave him that his heart desired…” I would argue that if it’s one then it’s the latter because the next phrase says that God gave him his request. Is David saying the same thing twice? Or is he saying that God both implants the desire and gives the fulfillment of the desire? Does God make the fruit of the tree only or does he make the hungering stomach also? Did God create woman only or did he first create a lonely man?

God is not trying to figure out how to get us to stop desiring, he put the desires there in the first place so that he could fill them. We need to stop thinking of the guy with the stolen Rolexes in the back alley as the supplier, and go to the WatchMaker.

So how do we do endure temptation, since Yeshua has shown us as New Adams that we can? We can’t stop the temptation because Yeshua himself was tempted, but without sin. This goes further into why we are tempted in the first place. We know the elements of temptation (not sin) are lust and trap, can we avoid either of those? No, even Yeshua had to have had lust and as we saw from Matthew he also had traps. How can I say that Yeshua had lust? Because he was tempted! You cannot temp the lustless. But as we’ve seen lust itself is not sin, it is the conception of desire (lust) and opportunity (trap). You can sidestep the trap when you see it or you can be ensared by it.

Gen 4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain had the blessing of YHVH pointing out the trap that lay at the door, but the temptation (lust and trap) were still there. Why didn’t God simply zap him with a bolt of perspective? This is the true nature of the bandwagon of freewill. I don’t say that to degrade it or criticize it, I’m saying we don’t understand it. People like freewill because they refuse the idea that some people cannot be saved because God has chosen them for destruction, and this is rightly so. The idea that God makes people who have no choice but to face eternal destruction can be rejected out of hand simply by the character of YHVH in scripture. If you study from the first five books alone and really understand the reasons for the commands, it becomes utterly impossible to believe that the same God who meticulously created, protected, and out of his lovingkindness instructed his people for their own good, would create people who had no ability to choose the course of life, when all of his commands are also based on his own character. It’s impossible without even looking at the rest of scripture.

The problem with freewill comes not from its validity, but from the ramifications that we choose to ignore. We would like to think that when we enter into a relationship with YHVH through the Messiah Yeshua, that God zaps us with everything we need. By that I mean, before I would get angry for unrighteous reasons, but now I simply don’t. When I would have been tempted, now I simply no longer have that desire. God simply opens up the program settings and flicks all the switches to the ‘overcomer’ position. Where is freewill then? In short, such people believe that their destiny is for God to strip away their freewill. God’s whole point with your life is for you to sin by your freewill then choose him once so that God can take it away and make you a robot for all eternity? That’s the ‘good news’? You cannot have free will one moment to let you choose God, and then God against your will rewrite who you are in your soul. You must continually cooperate, that is the double edge of freewill.

One of the upsides to true lust (biblically understood) is if/when we fully understand that all desire comes from God and therefore can only be met his way, then desire can always winnow out truth in the same sense that a healthy non-addicted person’s tastes will always crave what the body actually needs. By that I mean the bait for the trap is something real that God intended you to have by coming to him. In the real world, when you covet another man’s car it’s not the desire for a car that is wrong, it is the fact that you are choosing to desire someone else’s car. You’re choosing to make someone other than God the provider…isn’t that what Hosea was saying? Saying your lover provides? In other words, who you see as your provider is the one you see as God.

Why do we covet? The sense of the commandment is that we are choosing to desire, why? What good do we think to obtain by setting our hearts on something that we do not have? Either we believe that eventually we will be able to have this thing from its owner, or we believe it is the only thing that will meet our desire and even though it is unattainable this is the closest we can get to it. Why don’t we wait on God? Because we don’t believe he will provide for our desires…oh maybe, pie in the sky, he will eventually give us something, but it won’t be as good as if I have this thing right now. We believe that we know better what is good, and if it’s attainable then we have the power to provide it ourselves or no one has the power to provide it if it is unattainable. In other words, coveting makes myself into my own provider. I become my own god because either I will get it for me, or no one can. Who you see as your provider is the one you see as God.

So the upside to lust is that when you understand what you desire, it will always lead you to God. This applies to the issue of the misunderstanding freewill and many other false doctrines because in truth we don’t desire these things. No healthy soul can convincingly make a case “oh yes, I would like to not be able to choose.” We want structure and boundaries as all children do, and that are enforced in our lives, but no one wants to be a robot.

I know this seems a convoluted train of thought, I’ve been sitting here myself trying to figure out which parts are important and which are tangential. But what I’m trying to bring home is the reality that God wants us to desire, to long, to lust. And there will be temptation also because there will be traps in this life because we still have freewill and there are things that we want and have not. And since as Man we always will have freewill just as Yeshua still has freewill, I would argue that even in the resurrection we will have temptation. The difference will be that with spirits in communion with God’s Spirit, and souls in submission to the will of God coming down through the Spirit, we will always sidestep the traps. But the inescapable truth is that temptation will always be with us. We can’t say that we’ll have no desire because God gave us desire, what would be the point of living if there was no desire? Just to do things that you have no desire to do? We might as well be rocks just sitting. And we can’t say that we will always have our desires instantly met either, what would be the point of all God’s talk about rewarding if everyone would have everything they wanted as soon as they wanted it regardless of faithfulness? Are you telling me that saved-by-fire-Joe-Schmo will instantly have the same level of reward as on-fire-cross-bearing-Jane-Schmo?

God has never been one of instant gratification. Do you make children happy by giving them everything they want? No, there is a process to happiness. Making them work for things actually increases their gratitude and enjoyment of the things they are given. Contrary to modern thinking, you actually increase the value of something by being stingy with it!

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Who is blessed? The man who doesn’t walk, stand, or sit with the ungodly, but instead delights in the torah…

Psa 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Who is blessed? He who trusts in YHVH. Sure there are obvious good things that befall the people in these two Psalms. In 1, the man is planted and all his works are established. In the second it doesn’t say, but obviously whose trust will be rewarded more than the one who trusts in the giver of all good? I’m saying that the blessing is not the being established, it’s the abstaining and the delighting. The man is blessed because of the process he is undergoing, not because of the collateral good. We think of blessing as being given something, “Oh I’m rich so I am blessed.” But how many rich people can we think of who are not happy? And that is what this use of blessing means, it is not the word barak like when we are told to bless God, it is the word esher for happiness. Happiness comes by a process of delighting and trusting in YHVH.

So unless in the resurrection happiness will come for the first time in the form of a lightning bolt of prozac, there has to be process and growth. And where there is process and growth there is something desirable that is not yet obtained. Or would we say that unlike now, we will not have the ability to see what we lack? Is our contentness in the resurrection based on ignorance of what we lack? A lack or desire for God's goodness we lack? Or is our contentness based on our focus, communion, and trust in the one who will provide in the best timing for what we desire?

There will be people more grown and people less, people more blessed and people less blessed…but it will all be without sin, pain, death, or sorrow. Therefore, temptation is a good thing because it is the means of growth. It is by desiring and now having that we are driven to process. Let’s add one more thought to our analogy of the baited trap. We know that the trap is laid with stolen goods which we rightly desire, and placed in a place to tempt us to take the quick and easy path of satisfaction on our own terms. But as we realized earlier the same lust that draws us to do evil, draws us towards good. Consider the trap, once spotted as a trap. Realizing the truth that the food is desirable, but that here it has been laid to my destruction, by an enemy…instead of despairing, my God-designed hunger (lust) now draws me away to seek the life-giving sustenance of my maker.

Pro 16:26 The appetite of the laboring man laboreth for him; For his mouth urgeth him thereto. (ASV)

Again the upside of lust is that once we have understood what we are actually lusting after (the goodness of God) then the bait will not satisfy…it’s like looking at a twinky and going… “naw…that won’t really hit the spot.” Now the hunger pulls you away from the trap, to seek the source of goodness. How does that work? Because the hunger pushes you to labor! The hunger pushed you to the process! God gave us lust to drive us to the process, bringing us closer to him!

Pro 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

This is why temptation is good! Why is the honeycomb loathsome? Because the man is full, his hunger is satisfied so even the enticing thing has a negative value. On the other hand, even the bitter thing is sweet to the hungry, why? Because it satisfies hunger. The temptation is good because even though it is bitter, the hunger (lust) drives us to the labour (process of happiness) that bearing the temptation will bring us closer to God and satisfy our hunger. The hunger can be mastered, like Cain we can rule over it and make it work for us. Side step the trap and press on to the source. Let’s go back to James.

Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Blessed or happy is the man who endures…because when he is tried—the word means acceptable because what comes through the fire (the silver or gold) is the part that is acceptable what is consumed or burned out is the dross. It is the process of trying that makes the material acceptable—he shall be given life that God promised to those that love him (if we love him we keep his commandments).

Temptation is a good thing because it is the lust driven process that brings us to acceptability when we love him.

Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

If we are made acceptable by the temptation, then we must master the element of lust and refuse the traps to become that acceptable vessel.

Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Finally, he gives this warning or instruction on how not to be lead to a trap by your lust, “Don’t err…every good gift…comes from the Father…” What is more desirable than the good and perfect gift?

Temptation makes us acceptable, we must have it that is why…

Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Temptation (lust meeting a trap) works towards your completion!

1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Temptations maybe bitter but they make your faith precious, in fact they perfect it…even the salvation of your souls. That is why they are to be rejoiced in! You’re in temptation? Guess what, God is making you perfect! You could go on and on in scripture and see how this is true. Check for yourself and see the positive way scripture speaks of temptation remembering that temptation, trial, and tribulation are all used synonymously.

There is one more thing to note though. The epistles all speak of trial as something to be met with joy because of what it does to your faith and how it makes you acceptable. However, if you look at the gospels you find that Yeshua had a seemingly contradictory view.

Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Mar 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

Luk 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

All the references to temptation are of something to be prayed to be avoided. So how does this work? It’s short and sweet, it’s good to learn to sidestep the traps, but it’s better to desire the unbaited food.

Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

The trap brings with it a danger of falling into the trap. Certainly God will keep us from a trap that is too hard, 1 Cor 10:13. But God knows we have limits to our strength, why? Because he didn’t open us up and flip all our switches to ‘overcomer.’ It’s a process of learning to overcome, of being remade into the image of Messiah, of being renewed in mind…it’s a process. As God burns out the dross through temptation, he makes more room to fill us with good stuff. We grow to fill the areas that were previously filled with weakness.

So we pray not to enter into temptation, but be delivered…but just as sometimes God knows its best to not give us our daily bread; and just as Yeshua, who was closer to God than any of us, still faced temptations we too will face temptations despite our prayers. Pray that you do not enter temptation, so that you will not be beaten down and your faith be destroyed; but when you do, know that it is perfecting your faith and saving your soul so rejoice for the glory that is coming.

Job 4.4 Temptation (1 of 2)

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

We’ve discovered the identity or at least allegiance of the messenger to Eliphaz, yet, what do we do with the message? Remember the serpent in Genesis. He was a liar, but he told truth in his lie, even a truth that was not previously disclosed (“You shall become as gods knowing good and evil…”). Yet he also lied, in his denial of the certainty of their deaths.

We have established solidly, I believe, that spirit speaking was not of God. So if this spirit is not of God then its message is suspect. Not necessarily untrue, as the devil also used truth, though, to deceive (or lead astray). Of course, the deception doesn’t lie in whether the statement is true, but the intent of the thing. When did the deception of Eve begin? With what could have been an innocent question “Is it true that God hath said, Ye do not eat of every tree of the garden?” (YLT) because from the beginning he being subtle was intending to lead her astray meaning that even in a question which has no truth or falsity, there can be deception.

The mere fact that this spirit is not of God means whatever is said whether true or false is intending to discredit God. We could just skip over the statement, after all what good is it to study a possibly false and certainly malicious statement? It would seem none. But we must remember the principle from earlier concerning the filmmaker…no frame is wasted. What does God want us to see in this temptation?

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

When in doubt about what something looks like we should always look to our example. That’s why he’s called the example. First thing that stands out, is why was Yeshua tempted? Memory would say that the first temptation being of bread means that he was tempted because he was hungry. But the truth in verse 1 is striking, he was tempted because he was lead “to be tempted.”

How can this be? It would be easy to say “oh that was so that we could know he was tempted.” But, I don’t have to see someone tempted to know they were. I’ve never needed the devil to meet me at the end of forty days of fasting to tempt me with bread, I’ve been tempted in the first five minutes of a day. Every time I go to the grocery store, or see someone who has what I want, I know temptation. The point could not have been to show us that he was tempted, because we have the rest of the gospels to show us his temptation. Didn’t the Pharasees tempt him (Matthew 16:1, 19:3)? Wasn’t he tempted to let the cup pass from him? Of course why else would he pray for it? Or do we think that he didn’t have the freewill to refuse the cup? If that were true then in what way would he be a high priest touched with our infirmities?

I think there were two reasons. The first, was unlike you and I before our redemption, he did not have what is understood as the sin nature. A huge topic in and of itself, but suffice to say that his spirit was in constant communion with God’s spirit—with the brief exception of an eternity on the cross. And since he was in constant submission, his soul never decided on it’s own to sin. He was the second Adam (1 Cor 15:45), and like the first Adam he was not compelled by an inner sentiment to do wrong. Or perhaps a better understanding would be, unlike the unredeemed man he did not lack the power to do right. Apart from God, man is incapable of doing right and by default he sins, it is not a compulsion but an inability that is the ‘sin nature.’ That is why we have to be freed from sin.

So in one sense it is to show us that Yeshua was tempted, because unlike unredeemed man tempted from his own internal inaptitude, Yeshua was tempted from the outside in. Just as we who are dead with Messiah are also. Thus like Adam, Yeshua and ourselves, are tempted by the serpent or other external sources. If—like post-fall man—Adam was unable to do right, what was the need for the serpent? He would have walked by the tree and snatched the fruit immediately.

Not to degress further, but imagine a child. A fallen child in our world when told not to do something being a new sinner just like the rest of us, has no compunction at all to violate any command he’s been given. He learns obedience through the rod of discipline. Internally he has no spirit telling him how to live right through it’s communion with God. Eventually we learn even apart from God not to do certain things because we will be punished by other men and maybe even by God, but there is no internal fortitude against wrong doing.

In contrast, Adam and Eve knew neither fear nor shame, nor were there any other people besides themselves. The fact that they did not immediately eat of the fruit, shows they had to learn unrighteousness. They had inner ability to not sin. But wait, what about the threat of death? How could they be effectively threatened with something they have never known in a perfect world? Everything in their lives is harmless! They have no experience with it.

You tell someone “Don’t do this or you’ll be killed,” and it’ll be hard to get them to do it because they do fear. I would argue that in reality, Eve simply took God at his word (or possibly Adam) that whatever death was, it was bad. There was no emotion attached to it, simply an acknowledgment of the truth just as we often talk about the death of Yeshua without it touching off any emotion when if we really understand it, it should be quiet different. Once the Serpent then challenged the truth, there was nothing stopping her. And once she had fallen, the threat of death was clearly not enough to keep Adam from following. If you had warned someone of death, and then someone said “you won’t get killed,” the person to whom they spoke would probably say “you try it first!” Why? Because they do fear death, it has weight in their minds. To someone who knew no pain or death, the ‘threat of death’ could be no more than an idea.

So the first thing we understand from the temptation of Yeshua is that he and we (because of his example) are not tempted from within, but from without and we have the ability to refuse. Since we know in truth that we still sin (not that we have to, or that it is inevitable, but simply that we do), this holds a huge promise of how we can submit to that inner spirit that keeps us from sin.

This leads us into Yeshua’s response to temptation.

Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

We’ve heard this message before, Yeshua replies with the word of God. The principle, reply with the word of God to temptation. Ask yourself, now why did Adam and Eve fail? These two accounts are perfect contrasts; First Adam (which is also the name of the species so Eve is included) and Last Adam. Eve (as half of the First Adam) was deceived and thus transgressed. Why was she deceived? This is key! How did she respond to the Serpent? It wasn’t with the Word of God, it was with the word of Man. “Nor touch it…” she said.

Well the first part was God’s Word, we might defend. But I would argue it’s the same as a lie. It is still a lie even if it contains truth because the intent is to deceive; can it still be the Word of God if we presume to add our own to it? If I quote scripture and add my own twist, attributing it to God then isn’t the entire statement not God’s? Truth does not come in words. Any word alone is not a truth; it is the statements, the assertions that convey truth, if one part lies the whole statement lies. The only difference between her lie and the serpent’s, was he intended to deceive, she accidentally deceived herself.

This of course makes Adam’s responsibility all the more severe because he was not deceived and from Yeshua’s example what he needed to do was simply answer with the Word of God. But there in comes his failing, he let Eve proceed instead of intervening to save her; and then when she had eaten he followed. Why? Again look to Yeshua, how did Yeshua deal with a bride separated by sin? He sacrificed himself trusting in the will of the Father to bring her back. What should Adam have done? Trusted God. In a sense, you could switch Job for Adam and Eliphaz for Eve.

This seems like a good dialogue, rather it is, Yeshua was tempted so that we like him could see how to overcome temptation as new creations, as New Adams. However, this only explains one reason why we are told of Yeshua’s temptation. It doesn’t answer the underlying, question why are we tempted? God doesn’t want us to sin, so why does God let us be tempted? For whatever reason, he is unwilling to stop it. We could be quick to jump on the freewill means temptation bandwagon, and freewill may be the mechanism of our temptation, and this would not be false.

Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Temptation is the combination of lust meeting a trap, in other words opportunity. Traps are baited with what they offer, even one that does not use bait is positioned around some natural bait. No one sets a bear trap in the middle of a desert and hopes to catch a bear. The point is temptation happens when our lust comes across bait, the thing it lusts after being offered to it. There are many beautiful women in the world, both in terms of personality and form, but not every married man commits adultery. There has to be the lust inside before it ‘conceives’ and brings out sin. Remember that the word lust does not mean necessarily a sexual desire, literally it means a longing. We also have the connotation that lust is necessarily bad, but scripture doesn’t see it that way.

Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

They were blessed because they get to see and hear the things that prophets and righteous men desired (lusted) after. This is also reflected in the aged scriptures.

Deu 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Lusting and coveting are often used interchangeably by people, but they are not the same. The command here is actually two-fold, don’t desire (chamad meaning to delight in) your neighbor’s wife, the first use is Gen 2:9 referring to the trees that God made desirable. Desiring is not, wrong clearly God wanted us to desire his creation. The command then is not to make your neighbor’s wife pleasant to you. Does this mean that noticing the desirability of your neighbors wife is a sin? What if you saw a woman and found her desirable (which scripture does not condemn, Deu 21:11) but didn’t know she was married?

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Chamad here is the “desired” part. Notice that it wasn’t when she saw that the tree was good…nor when it was pleasant to the eyes. She recognized that there was something pleasant (ta’avah meaning to long for), but in addition to that she saw it as a tree to be desired in the sense that God commanded we should not desire, not everything, but our neighbor’s things. The commandment is not against recognition of something desirable, it is against choosing to set your desire on it. The difference being “That is good and desirable,” and “I will desire to have that good.”

The second part of the command to not covet supports this. Covet avah meaning to wish for something. The first use of it by itself is in Numbers 11:34 when the now covenanted Israel tempts God to provide quail. A very interesting account when you look at it from the beginning. This is just after an incident of complaining which brought judgment. Notice how this begins…

Num 11:4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Who is lusting here? The mixed multitude started it and the natural Israelites continued it. The mixed multitude is mentioned first? There is an importance in this, as if God is saying how bindingly he takes their joining to his covenant. These gentiles aren’t just along for the ride, God says they’re driving the bus too, there is one law for both stranger and natural born. Now what are they lusting after, the goods. What goods? Is Egypt the only place with fish and cucumbers? The point of the desire is not the thing, it was the place. They’re lusting for what the world offers instead of what God promised. This is definitely forbidden things, it’s the equivalent of Lot’s wife looking back to Soddom. If you think about the analogy God continually makes between his people and a harlot; God’s problem is never what they desire, but whom they desire it from!

Hos 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

Hos 2:5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.

Providing a living picture of Israel, by YHVH’s direction Hosea marries a harlot to represent Israel. Notice in the second passage, why does their mother (Israel) chase after lovers (the Baalim)? To provide bread, water, wool, flax, oil and drink…which of those did God not promise to provide? None, according to the covenant if Israel followed him they would have all of those things. In fact according to Hosea God was providing all those things and they were attributing them to other gods. Her lovers were robbing her husband to give the harlot her hire.

A fundamental picture should be emerging now. God not Satan made all desirable things. That blows my mind! We are often mislead to believe that there are things we should not want as if the Devil could make something that is desirable and God is a killjoy trying to keep us from having fun with anyone else. God forbid that we should think that! Satan is stealing what God has made and offering it in a trap, but he didn't make the desirable thing! Everything we desire is of God.

“Wait, wait!” We say. “Temptation is desiring something we shouldn’t have!” But that’s not what the scripture says, temptation is when the desire meets the baited trap (enticement). What is the trap baited with? Something desirable. The desire isn’t the trap, it’s what is drawing you to the trap! What is desired is never the issue, it’s who is offering the desire. God didn’t tell fish not to eat bugs, but a fish should not take worm dangling on a string. Candy isn’t bad, but the stranger offering it to your child is! Desiring the beauty of a woman is not wrong, but don’t go to the adulteress; go to your wife!

If you think about it, really all lust is the same. The same lust that drives men to evil (sleeping with another man’s wife, stealing another man’s car) is the same lust that drives men to do good (protecting and serving your own wife or the unmarried woman in your community, protecting your investments or the investments of another man). The issue always comes down to who is offering it. As we saw earlier God called the tree of knowledge good, not evil. God didn’t want to refuse man knowledge God wanted man to come to God for knowledge; Satan is the offerer of the short cut. He’s the stranger with candy, the salesman with the free lunch. God is saying you need to take this path for your own good to find this thing you desire; Satan stole something God made to be desired and said “No, you don’t have to wait and work, come get it right here; now; on your terms!”

Now we can understand, lust is not sin. The sin is in trying to have that legitimate desire met by something on our terms in opposition to God’s which are for our own good. Now back to Numbers 11.

Interestingly here, the word for lusting is two words, Avah and Ta’avah. It’s as if they lust greatly or are longing to lust. They choose to desire it! The very next use is the command to not desire your neighbor’s wife or covet his stuff. The idea is not a command to not recognize desirable things, indeed how could God command us to not recognize his handiwork? How could one recognize the qualities of a good wife without evaluating the wives around him? How could God implant a longing for good, put good all around us, and then tell us not to long for it?

Clearly, lust as recognition is not the problem. The trap is not the problem. Even where the two meet is not the problem, it is when we decide to desire, long to lust, that is when we look at the bait and go “mmm…I would like to have that…in fact I will have that…or at least get as close as I can…maybe a little closer I’m safe here…one more step, I’m not springing the trap…” SNAP!!! Lust conceives and springs the trap thus there is sin.