“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
We are asking, in this last petition, to be kept from anything that will break or interfere with our intimate relationship and dependence upon God. Our expressed desire is to be kept in close fellowship with our Father.
Of course, God would never tempt anyone to sin against Him.
“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: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin…” (James 1:13-15).
So here we are asking that He not allow us to be overcome by temptation and be drawn into sin. Our own hearts can draw us away from God by our yielding to a desire to have, do, or be something contrary to God’s law. The devil is our enemy; and we are asking not to be led into a situation where we are liable to be deceived by him, causing us to sin. The world is filled with temptations; other people will frequently entice us to draw away from God. So we pray for deliverance from all of these and strength to resist them that we might not sin against God. All sin is evil. It makes the conscience guilty and our soul miserable! We need deliverance from it as well as the “evil one.”
Even trying circumstances can become a snare to us. We might be tempted to steal, or curse God for allowing the bad health, loss of job, death or divorce, decaying national morality, hurricane, or snow, or tornado. God does bring affliction to try or train us…to test our courage, devotion, sincerity…to cut away at our pride. But, we can ask that we not be overcome by what He has ordained; that we might not sin because of what we are going through. These kind of trials produce much good: we pray more; we get stronger; we are more aware of our complete dependence upon God.
Our desire, in this last prayer request, is to remain in close fellowship with our Father, who is in heaven, to do His will and not to let Him down or mar His reputation.
(For more see these warm-hearted Calvinists: Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Sermon On The Mount, p. 75-79); Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer, p. 258-332); Matthew Henry, Commentary on Matthew, p. 29.)
Teen or Young Adult Tip
Oh, that you might learn this lesson early! To be on guard and resist your own heart desires that Satan can use to draw you away from your Savior. And to see your utter dependence upon God for your daily needs, forgiveness, and deliverance from all evil.