Matthew 4:1-11, “1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry”
There is a subtle move of Satan operating in the Christian circles derailing believers from seeking what is most important to seeking what is temporal. And what is appearing to be the move of God having been wrapped up with a distortion of God’s word is causing many believers to drift from the path they ought to be in.
The bible says, Luke 4:1-2, “1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil”. Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit did not make Him less of a target of the devil, if anything it intensified the drive to derail Him from His call and be disobedient to the Father. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights he was hungry. A forty days’ fast was accomplished by Moses (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:18), and by Elijah (1Kings 19:8), and it is a significant fact in this connection that these two men appeared with Christ at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:3).
On this account, Jesus was tempted on three levels, three levels I believe we are tempted with as believers in very subtle ways appearing to be of God when it’s not. The subtle here are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life also stated as the flesh, the world and the devil. When we are at our vulnerable state that’s when he strikes but again in very subtle ways. In this series, I break each temptation and how it presents itself to believers.
First temptation: Vs. 3, “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” What we see here is the challenge to relationship which according to Satan (appearing as man or angel) equates believers relationship to God based on what they have or should have. He says “IF You are the Son of God…” Have you not heard numerous preachers say, “if you are the son of God, you can never be hungry, sick, poor etc.” If you are suffering from any of these, probably you are not a son or your sins or lack of faith is the reason you don’t have them. While this message is popular, it is a temptation that appeals to the present appetite, the impulse of the moment, as many of our temptations do, and its very favorite with the poor, the lacking, and the needy. This what the prosperity gospel thrives on, health and wealth. And what Satan suggests to them is that if they were really the beloved objects of God’s care, their condition would be otherwise. This paints a picture of the believer being the center of God’s plan rather than Christ.
Because the relationship of a believer is questioned on the basis of what we have or don’t have, we find that we neglect what is most important and spend more time chasing ways to “command these stones to become bread”. We run around binding, claiming to receive, in other words blub and grab and we neglect Matthew 6:33. It’s not that these things God will not do if we need them, it’s the order of priority that is the issue.
In response to this temptation, Jesus appealed to the Authority of the word with understanding and clarity, vs.“4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” In His hour of trial He did not look to visions or voices or special revelation for guidance, He used the written Word as the lamp for His feet (Psalms 119:105) in response to the will of the Father. In the conflict of temptation He did not defend Himself by His own divine wisdom, but used that wisdom which God had revealed to all Israel through His prophets. Jesus used the Scripture as of final, argument-ending authority. We could have no higher endorsement of the Old Testament than this use of it by Christ. It was sufficient for Him in His temptations, and with the addition of the New Testament, it is sufficient for us in all things.
Satan’s mission is to make you doubt the word of God and appeal to emotions, steps, plans to satisfy an appetite he knows you crave for so that the Word becomes secondary if it must be used. He also distorts the word through self-deception and the use of other people to make the word of God sound something else and to take us off the path. Our hope is the WORD because it is SUFFICIENT when rightly UNDERSTOOD and rightly APPLIED. “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons (Word) of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”, 2Corinthians 10:3-5. To continue, blessings, Ev