If God cannot tempt anyone, what is the meaning of the following scriptures?
James 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:
1 Kings 22:20-22 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he
may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and
another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and
stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD
said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be
a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou
shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
The phrase "I am tempted of God" might be better translated "God is soliciting me to sin". (Wuest translation).
God does make use of the willingness of others to sin;
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God
meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much
Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant
Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an
upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Judges 9:23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens
of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek.
God does limit some some from responding to truth who do not seek truth.
Matthew 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they
seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
God does judge those who have rejected him.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 And with all deceivableness of
unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the
love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God
shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
God has sovereign authority over his creation.
Rom 9:15-23 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will
have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of
God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even
for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my
power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the
earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom
he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet
find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art
thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that
formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power
over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and
another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and
to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels
of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the
riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore
prepared unto glory,
God allows evil spirits to influence, oppress and even torment some so that his purposes will be achieved.
1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and
an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.
The discomforture of Saul (who had forfeited his position through disobedience) was to lead to the summoning of David.
1 Samuel 16:18-19 Then answered one of the servants, and said,
Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning
in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in
matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. Wherefore
Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son,
which is with the sheep.
God does not try to draw people into sin, but does make use of the willingness of people and spirits to sin.