James 1:13 says that God does not tempt men, but Gen 20 says that Abraham was tempted by God to offer Isaac.  How is this reconciled?

To clarify there are two types of temptation.  There is a temptation to do evil, and there are trials or temptations designed to test and display your faith. Temptations of evil are designed to not be escaped.  They are traps.  Traps customized for you personally and you will not escape them without the intervention of God.  Trials, which are also designed for you, are designed for you to succeed.  They are made to show your faith.  True that a temptation of evil can be made into a fiery trial by believing and obeying God.

The operative word being the words WITH EVIL.  God cannot be tempted WITH EVIL, neither tempteth he any man [with evil].  He is not evil, so he can’t be tempted to do evil, and there is no evil in him, so he cannot tempt you with evil.  When the Bible warns against tempting God with evil, it is not because God would be tempted, but because it is evil to temp with evil.  It is motivated by hate and designed for destruction and corruption.  Where as the trials of the Lord are designed for victory and to show His power.

Temptation from the Lord will (vs 7) work in us patience and contentment (wanting nothing).

Both kinds of trials are won with wisdom in the form of faith and obedience.  The wisdom comes from God and he will give it to anyone who asks in spades (liberally) A man who waivers in his faith, will not ask.  He will not receive the wisdom because he didn’t ask (he has not because he asks not) and because he is without wisdom he will be tossed to and fro. Facing the trial in his own strength he will be thrown about emotionally, financially, and possibly even physically. It is important to note the Lord’s prayer which teaches us to ask to be delivered from evil and not lead into temptation.  Asking for deliverance is key to surviving this world.

The fun part about this chapter is the return to the top of the circle – if he lasts through the temptation he will receive a crown of life.  This crown is promised to those who love God.  But love for God is the reason for the success in the first place.  Because you love God, you believe him. Because you have faith you ask for help.  He helps you and rewards you with life.  The promise comes first because God operates outside the element of time and future present and past are all the same to him.  We see a sequence of events ending in reward, but it is all one state to him.

The crown of life at the end is best understood when you take into account that when God promises life, he is not just promising existence.  It is not just a beating heart or breathing air.  It means abundance, joy, thriving, birds singing, angelic choir, heavens opening LIFE!

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And the circle of temptation in James 1 is complete FAITH>WISDOM>VICTORY=LIFE

A crown placed on your head.  a symbol of status, authority, position and rank. It would be great if when we read the word “life” in the Bible we heard the organ, and choir, because it means so much more than we give it credit for.

I don’t know, it seems like such a basic thing, but such an amazing thing. I mean, we all know this stuff.  It is like the water cycle.  it drains, it rains, it sustains. We cannot live without it yet it is everyday. We love, we trust, we live. Asking for wisdom is like taking a drink of water.