Ever heard of the Greek word – ekbasis?
It’s a military term that’s used in a situation when an army is trapped in an ambush.
In the Middle East, there are lots of mountains and ravines, and sometimes, an army would be marching through one of these ravines and would discover that the enemy is behind them and in front.
They would find themselves trapped with no way out. They would be absolutely locked in by enemy forces. No way ahead, and no way back.
They would then look around for a track up the cliffs, and this track, they called an ekbasis.
“Is there an ekbasis”, they would say.
“Is there a way up these cliffs somewhere?”
They would send scouts and these scouts would come back and say, “It’s difficult, but there’s a path up there, and I think we can get out of the valley that way”
They would then make for the ekbasis and they would get out.
More often than not, the climb would be hard and difficult, but it would be a way out.
In other words, when they were in this situation, and when they would say, “There’s no way out, we can’t go forward or backward”, there was still hope of finding one.
This same word, ekbasis, is used in 1 Corinthians.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes,
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
And the word for ‘a way out’ used in this verse is ekbasis.
The promise is that God will always provide a way out. It may not be an easy climb. It may not be a broad road. It may be a climb out of the valley.
But God will say, “This is the way out.”
“You are not trapped. You are not hemmed in. There’s a way out of this seemingly impossible situation.”
Some people think that when they are being tempted very badly, there’s no way out. They say, “Whichever thing I do, it’ll be wrong. I’ve got my life in such a complicated mess that I can’t step anywhere without doing wrong.”
God says that He has promised to give you an ekbasis. He has promised to give you a cliff route out. He’ll show you how to deal with the situation if you climb.
That’s the promise.
Claim that promise this week because you will be tempted this week.
Don’t claim a promise that God will remove the temptation because He didn’t promise to do so.
Claim that He will cut that temptation down to size so that you can deal with it. And ask Him to show you the path out. There will be one.
There is always a right thing to do, however impossible it may seem.
This promise should lead us to realize that a Christian never needs to do wrong.
If that is true, then the eye-opening truth is this – that we are as holy as we really want to be.
You and I need not succumb to temptation.
There’s an old proverb that says “You cannot stop birds flying over your head, but you can stop them from building nests in your hair.”
You cannot stop temptations from coming to you. Jesus Himself was tempted. But you can stop yielding to temptation.
Being tempted is not a sin. But yielding is.
And no Christian need ever yield. Because there is always a way out.
We get to ask for that way of escape. We get to ask for the ekbasis.
– David Pawson