Do Not Test
Matthew 4:5 (Satan tempts Jesus)
Matthew 4:7 ESV
Deuteronomy 6:10-15 ESV
To give us a feel for the setting in Matthew 4:7, Jesus had been led into the barren wilderness by the Spirit and it WAS a desert. Everywhere He looked all He could see was desert. To make matters worse, Jesus had not eaten for forty days and forty nights.
He was very hungry.
While I have done my share of fasting for the purpose of prayer and listening prayer, I haven’t come close to fasting that long.
What I can tell you about fasting for the purpose of prayer is that I have experienced great clarity.
God is ever so close and hearing God while fasting is a huge blessing.
What Jesus experienced was exponentially different. I believe that God the Father, and God the Spirit were ever so close to God the Son when He was in this wilderness.
The problem was, the devil was also there.
Satan was there to tempt Jesus and the devil showed up at a crucial time! The evil one knew Jesus was in a tight spot. He was able to know that Jesus was very hungry. In Matthew 4:3 the devil tried to tempt Jesus by getting Him to turn a stone into a loaf of bread. While Jesus could have done that He reminded the devil that bread isn’t the most important thing here. Then in Matthew 4:5-6 the devil took Jesus up to a high place at the Temple and the devil tried to get Him to jump, reminding Jesus that the Angels could catch Him if He would command them to do so.
In Matthew 4:7 “Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
What’s remarkable is that even though Jesus COULD have taken the bait, He didn’t.
That’s because Jesus knew it was a test.
Jesus knew the devil wanted Him to take the bait.
So He flat out refused.
I realized that for many of us refusing to take the bait would be very difficult. In order to stand fast you would need to really set your feelings aside. You would need to ignore pride whispering in your ear that you will really look bad if you don’t
Scripture does give us clues about what we can do when we are trying to refuse to accept a challenge.
In Deuteronomy 6:10-15 Moses was trying to prepare Israel for what they would face. Moses told them, “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.”
Then in Deuteronomy 6:16 Moses gave them a strong reminder that they had tested God at Massah and they were NOT to test God. He told them, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.”
Jesus repeated that same warning in Matthew 4:7. Do not test the Lord your God.
So, don’t fight God.
Surrender. When Jesus (God) faced the devil He stood His ground. When we face difficult times we need to remember that God stands WITH us. Let God fight FOR you.
Isaiah 41:13 tells us, “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
In Joshua 1:9 he knew as the people of God faced many challenges they needed to remember to “be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Moses was 120 years old when he gave the charge to Joshua and the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 31. They were about to cross over the Jordan River to the land God had a promised. BUT…Moses did not cross over with them. In the wilderness they had always counted on Moses. Now, he was staying behind.
In Deuteronomy 31:6-8 Moses charged them to “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Notice that Moses gave the charge twice. He gave it to Israel then he gave a personal charge to Joshua. That same charge is true for us today.
When we are tempted and we are faced with an uncertain future, the best thing we can do is surrender it to God and accept God’s help. Know that God goes with you.
Be strong and courageous because God goes with you. That’s what Moses was telling Joshua and the children of Israel. He was telling them they were not alone!
That’s also what Jesus did. He knew God the Father and God the Spirit were ONE with God the Son. Jesus knew He was not facing the devil alone. It was ONE God facing Satan.
Nothing we face today is any different.
Whatever we face, we do it WITH God.
Spiritual Practice: Surrender
Surrender what you face to God…God will fight for you.
In God, Deborah