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”
The third temptation in my judgement is the most subtle work of satan so clearly working among believers and yet so blindly received. In the age of feelings and emotions, vast majority do not plumb line feelings and emotions by God’s word and that is a recipee for disaster. Satan appears as an angel of light pretending to fight for believers however his aim is to turn men against God, rebel against God like he did. While pretending to be an angel of light and even using people in authority, he speaks fluttery words to create an appetite. 2Corinthians 11:13-14, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light”
Matthew 4:8-9, “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Satan took Jesus to the highest mountain and showed Him everything he would give Him if He worshipped him. He tempted Christ to idolatry with the offer of the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. This is humanism which declares that the chief end of all beings is the happiness of man.
This is the temptation to be satisfied with temporal things which takes focus off God and places it on believers. The temptation is to turn away from the path of self-denial, the cross and the tomb, and to establish an outward, worldly domain.
Notice that in this temptation Satan does not quote scripture as before because there is not one to quote or rather misquote. There was no passage to say “worship me” so he defaulted to providing men’s heart felt needs rather than bring God as he earlier quoted. The devil is not content to be worshipped by men, but seeks for adoration from the Son of God: this opens at once his proud, ambitious, and aspiring views, to be as God himself; for with nothing less can he be satisfied.
Satan wants us to be satisfied with here and now, with the present kingdom and forfeit eternity. What does he do, he appeals to man with what his ear is itching for with a promise to provide. His mission, “don’t seek God’s kingdom first and His righteousness and everything will be added, no, but seek how I have made the world successful when it turned to me and I will do the same for you”. How many churches are building by the ways of the world and are even successful but not according to the ways of God? How many people are turning to self help materials, gurus of some sort for healing, prosperity etc and are not turning to God? How many are elevating some preachers because of their status and fame? God’s kingdom cannot be secularized and that is what satan wants. If he can get believers focus off Christ and dwell on what they could gain, he has succeeded. Romans 14:17-18, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men”
Matthew 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Here Satan clearly shows who he was. Accordingly Christ answering this suggestion, calls him by his own name, which he had not done before. While Satan had no scripture to quote, Jesus used all SUFFICIENT word readily available at all times to combat even that which was not misquoted.
Our safeguard against temptation is the word, used by the discernment of a perfectly pure heart, which lives in the presence of God, and learns the mind of God in His word, and therefore knows its application to the circumstances presented. It is the word that preserves the soul from the wiles of the enemy. Our feelings and emotions can fail us and many times have, however rightly dividing the word of truth will not.
If we seek only the glory of God, that which presents no other motive than my own power, status, wealth, or our own gratification, whether of body or mind, will have no hold upon us; and will shew itself in the light of the word.
Paris Reidhead defines temptation “as the proposition made to the mind to satisfy a good appetite in a bad (forbidden) way, and sin is the decision of the will to satisfy a good appetite in a bad way”. Jesus was tempted with good things in a bad way, but because He knew the word, He rightly divided and rightly applied defeating satan in His game.
Matthew 4:11, “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” That is, they brought Him food of their own preparing and dressing, as they formerly did to Elijah, 1Kings 19:5 to satisfy His hunger, and refresh His animal spirits; which had underwent a very great fatigue during this length of time, in which He fasted, and was tempted by Satan. That which He never sought to have was given to Him because He needed it, this is similar to when God gave Solomon a blank check to ask for anything. Instead of Solomon asking for temporal, he asked for important thing “wisdom” to discern. For this reason God gave more, 1Kings 3:11-13, “11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days…”. May we seek wisdom to discern and apply God’s word rightly, in that we will silence the subtle works of satan and the Lord will send His ministering angels to minister to us on those things we did not seek as priority but need for day to day sustenance. Blessings Ev