Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Protection of Guiding Providence - Elder James Oliphant

"Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13)

James says, "Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God; neither tempteth he any man." (James 1:13) So the text does not teach that God tempts any one. Whatever is meant by the text it cannot mean that God tempts any man.

This text refers to the providence of God. His providence has to do with our lot and station in life. "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23) "Man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) It is safe to say that the providence of God has more or less to do with our course of life or financial affairs. We are to pray that he lead us in a plain path and where there are no temptations (Matthew 6:13). We know that if we are exposed to temptation we will be ruined by it. Solomon taught riches would cause us to be proud and forget God and poverty would lead us to steal. We should desire to be guided in the path of life so as to escape the temptations incident to riches or poverty.

To be exposed to the evil of false doctrine is unsafe and those that know their own weakness realize how good it is when the path of life exempts one from the influence of false doctrine. Some people are led along a safe path without knowing the corruptions of the world. We pray that our loved ones may never be exposed to the evil influences that lead to theft, drunkenness, adultery, and reckless living. We pray this to (sic, for) ourselves.

A country life is safer than a city life. One may not keep up with fashions in society so well in the country but it is safest even if we are ignorant of the styles of the leaders in society.

Let our prayers be Lord "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13). "Evil communications corrupt good manners." (I Corinthians 15:33) Good company is safe. Plain people with plain ways are safe while proud companions or associates that care nothing for God or His Word are unsafe for us or our children.

Some have said, "I can go safely where error is taught." But it is better to shun such places. May as well say you can safely be exposed to the tempting influences of adultery. We "dare not trust ourselves" and need the protection of guiding providence.

Special thanks to Elder David Montgomery for his labors in compiling the excellent two volume set of Oliphant's works. 

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