Does God lead us into temptation?
I can see why this might be a question for pondering, since in the Lord's prayer, we are taught to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil." Many translations say "deliver us from the evil one." Implicit in that prayer is that the evil one is the tempter--not God.
"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" (James 1:13-14).
God does not tempt us. However all Christians can expect trials.
I asked the Lord about discerning the difference between trials and temptations, because these words are often used interchangeably in Christian dogma. What He impressed on my spirit is a simple way to discern the difference between a temptation and a "test" or "trial" of our faith.
Temptation always involves evil, or doing evil, and appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes, the pride of life. I Jn 2:16
"For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world," and Jesus says the devil is the prince of this world (Jn 16: 11).
Temptation to sin leads downward. James 1: 15 says: "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."
A FAITH TRIAL always involves victory, moving closer to God, overcoming. Faith trials lead upward.
James 1: 13-14:
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. ... because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Always look at scripture for examples of tests or temptations.
Heb. 11: 17-19 says By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.
Abraham was specifically led (directed, spoken to) by God to offer up Isaac. A faith trial usually involves specific instructions from God. The devil didn't lead Abraham to offer Isaac. By that great act of faith in God's Word, Abraham (often referred to as "Father Abraham" in New Test.) acted out a type of the Father offering up His only Son (Gen. 22:2). Isaac was the child of the promise, a supernaturally-birthed baby since the mother was past child bearing years, and therefore a type of Christ. (Note: God recognized Isaac, not Ishmael, as Abraham's only son).
Other Bible people who passed faith tests: Moses, Gideon, Jesus Who was led into the wilderness to do battle with Satan, Paul. Each of them had a specific task to perform and was specifically directed by God, not Satan, although Satan wanted to tempt them not to fulfill their FAITH assignments.
King David lost his battle with temptation when Bath Sheba bathed on the rooftop. But God didn't lead David to watch her. The resulting pregnancy tempted David to murder her husband, Uriah. The consequences also including the death of the child. Sin leads to death.
When the Lord leads His people, it is usually not by external circumstances (like accidents, illnesses, tragedies, etc.--that theology comes from the wrongly taught belief that God controls everything that happens to us. If that were so, how would we know when to resist the devil?)
God desires to lead us by the internal spirit voice, which every born again man has within his own spirit. We learn to hear His voice as we train our spirits to follow our Good Shepherd, Who says, "My sheep hear my voice."
I must admit, at times I'm better at this than at other times, especially if I let the cares of this world choke out the word.
Psalm 32: 8-9
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
32:8-11 God teaches by his word, and guides with the secret intimations of his will. ....Proverbs 8:10,11 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge
I love the passage in I Kings. 19: God was not in the whirlwind, He was not in the earthquake, He was not in the fire, "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."
That still small voice rises up from your innermost being and You are led by God's counsel, always to do His will.
The tempter will always entice you to do the opposite.