The last thing I was looking for that Friday afternoon was a crush or a temptation. I had gone to the mall during my lunch hour hoping to find some items on sale.
He stepped right across my path and the next thing I knew, and without giving me time to respond to his “do you mind?” he was holding my hand and removing the nail polish from my thumb, and swiftly and charmingly telling me about his nail products, which he said were from the Sea of Galilee. Then, like a skilled craftsman, he buffed my nail, and then used a different tool to buff my nail again until it shone and gleamed, all the while explaining to me how amazing the products were. But I was hardly listening. I was mainly captivated by his handsome dark looks. I was positive that he too, similar to the products, resided near the Sea of Galilee. I was standing face to face with one of the groups that have always fascinated me; God’s covenant people, the Jews. But I needed to confirm.
When he finished, he charmingly asked me to take a look. I was impressed, but mainly with the product seller. I asked if the products were really from Israel. He nodded. I asked him how he got them. He told me he was from Israel. I could not believe it. So I was right. I was now fascinated. Yahweh’s very own. It now explained his dark handsome looks and unusual accent. I lit up as if I had found a long lost friend and asked him what tribe he belonged to. He broke into laughter and told me that was so ancient and archaic, and nobody bothered with that anymore. I was disappointed because I did bother. It mattered to me. Judah, the tribe our Lord came from. Levi, the priestly line. Maybe He was a Benjamite, related to Saul. Or was he from Naphtali? I always liked the name.
I was so disappointed that he did not know. He was so amused that I would ask about his tribe. I told him how special he was to be one of God’s chosen people. He seemed amused that I knew so much about the Israelites. See in my naivete, I assumed he was a practicing Jew, and a lover of Yahweh. I assumed he knew how special He was to the one who had chosen Abraham, his ancestor.
I asked his name – he told me his name was Ran. And that is when I should have run from Ran. But I did not want to run. I told him I would be back in the evening to buy the products. My lunch hour was already over. I returned to the office excited at the pit of my stomach. I ignored the gentle warning of the Holy Spirit to be careful. I am only going back to buy the nail products, I assured the Holy Spirit.
After work, I drove the short distance to the mall. I went straight to his stall, which was along the aisles of the mall.
I found his assistant – a lady who was willing to sell me the products. That very moment, my intentions were revealed. I did not buy. I would be back when Ran was present. I went home that Friday evening disappointed. Not because of the nail products from the Sea of Galilee, but from the handsome Jew.
The entire weekend I was distracted.
He is married. Stay away.
I knew that voice. It was so familiar. He was the voice of truth. The voice of the Holy Spirit.
But I allowed myself to be haunted by Ran’s good looks and charm. I had memorized his face and his dark hair and kept playing it over and over in my head that Saturday.
I could sense the Holy Spirit still pleading with me as I cruised on the highway that Sunday afternoon and defiantly headed to the mall.
I am only going to confirm that he is married, I assured the Lord.
There was Ran.
“I knew you would be back,” he said, studying me with his dark handsome eyes. My heart raced.
I picked some of the nail products from the Sea of Galilee and paid.
“Call me, my number is on the products,” Ran said with a smile.
“You are married,” I said – half a statement, half a question.
For the first time, I seemed to catch him off guard.
He shrugged his shoulders and said “We can still hang out.”
“No.” I said.
And then I left the mall. Miserable.
The following week, I was not prepared for the tornado of temptation that swept over me. I would be sited at work and all I wanted to do was run after Ran, who I already knew was dark poison, whether he was from the tribe of Judah, Simeon or any of the ten tribes. It did not matter. Interacting with him would be poison.
Why Lord, why this severe temptation? I do not want to be involved with him but the pull is too much.
I want you to obey me because I tell you so not because you have gone and confirmed. I wanted you to stay away from the mall because you trust me. You did not need to go confirm.
I knew I needed accountability. I shared my struggle with my sister, who prayed for me and sternly told me “You know you must stay away from the mall,”. “Yes,” I whimpered.
It was painful, but the temptation passed.
I learned a lesson. If my loving Father tells me this is bad for me, then I will simply believe him. I don’t need to touch the fire to know that it is hot. Let us not toy with sin. We don’t need to push God to see how far we can go without falling. The Lord’s instructions are for protecting us, which is better than constantly being rescued from messes that could have been avoided.
Tim 2:22 “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
James 1:13-15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”