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”
Another subtle way satan works among believers is to disguise himself with the temptation of presumption. Presumption is a behavior perceived as arrogant, disrespectful, and transgressing the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.
Satan tempted Jesus with presumption, Matthew 4:5-6, “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: and, ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Satan, by divine permission, and with the consent of Christ had power over his body to move Him from place to place. He took Him to holy city to Jerusalem as commonly called, being the place God had peculiarly chosen for Himself. And here again the call was to question His Sonship on the basis of misusing the provision and God’s ability to advance Self. Jesus was not about advancing Himself, He said, Hebrews 10:7,”…, ‘Behold, I have come– In the volume of the book it is written of Me– To do Your will, O God.’ “
Not to long ago a pastor fond of handling snakes was killed by one of his snakes. He took the passage in Mark 16:18, “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; …” and foolishly used it to put God to test. While we think this is outrageous, don’t we many times do similar things? Many run from one conference to another hoping for a zap to take away everything that is troubling them. Some give away all their money foolishly because God will provide double or even triple. A number of sick people cease to use God given medicine (providence) because God will heal them through a faith healer. Some neglect their wives and children chasing one thing after another because God will provide, all in the name of being in high places. Some leaders abuse their offices to advance themselves instead of God. This is like saying, “you jump and God will send His angels to catch you” and He does, but should believers abuse the provision of God for self gratification?
All high places are slippery places; advancements in the world makes a man a mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at. Satan’s words appealed to Jesus to be more religious; to put more trust and reliance upon the promises of the Father; and he puts Him in the place–the temple–where He might argue that God could not at least afford to let His promise fail. As a rule, the greater the desire the greater the temptation.
Jesus in addressing this temption responded, Matthew 4:7, “… “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” as if He should say, “True, it is so written, and on that promise I implicitly rely; but in using it there is another Scripture which must not be forgotten.” Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. “Preservation in danger is divinely pledged: shall I then create danger, either to put the promised security skeptically to the proof, or wantonly to demand a display of it? That were ‘to tempt the Lord my God,’ which, being expressly forbidden, would forfeit the right to expect preservation.”, Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown.
The danger here is to presume God’s provision based on half quoted scripture to suit a good thing pursued in a bad way. When Satan quoted the verse, “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee“, the enemy, like a false adviser, quotes from Psalm 91:11 to justify his request, but he garbled the Scripture, leaving out “…to keep thee in all thy ways,” which follows the first clause. The promise is limited to those who walk in the way appointed to them not those who create their own and presume to use God’s provision.
We have enough false advisers out here calling themselves pastors, teachers, prophets subtly used by the enemy to give half verses, taken out of contexts to cater for believers craving wants. Jesus knew the word, rightly divided it and rightly applied it. Good soil is always equated with he who hears and UNDERSTANDS. Understanding is the means by which we have good application and good application battles the subtle ways of Satan. To finish, blessings, Ev