(Second Milers also read Psalm 21 – 25; Memorize Mark 16:15)
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4)
“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” – (Matthew 4:7)
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” – (Matthew 4:10)
In our reading passage today in chapter 4, we have the account of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. The devil made three attempts here to get Jesus to yield to his will, but Jesus stood strong through all that the devil threw at him. Jesus proved that He is Who He claimed to be by resisting the devil. Theologians have argued through the years about whether this was a genuine temptation. In other words, they say that since Jesus is God He cannot be tempted. I guess that is true, but it didn’t stop Satan from making the attempt. I once heard an analogy that illustrates this point pretty well: it is possible for a rowboat to attack a naval fleet; the attack would be real, but the probability of success is not very great. Satan’s attempt to seduce Jesus was real, but because Jesus is the omnipotent God, Satan could not possibly win. Consider what God said through the writer to the Hebrews:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” – (Hebrews 4:15)
The thing that I find very interesting about this account is that Jesus quoted from the Word of God each time that He was tempted by the devil. Now I hasten to say that everything that came from the mouth of Jesus was the Word of God, because He is God. However, in our passage, Jesus quotes from something He previously said in the Old Testament: something that was already recorded in the Scripture. I believe the main reason that Jesus did this was because He was giving us the formula; the secret to resisting temptation, which is memorizing and quoting Scripture. Consider these verses:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Notice the phrase, “a way to escape”. God’s way to escape is quoting Scripture. And you cannot quote Scripture unless you have it in your heart:
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – (Psalm 119:11)
This is why it is absolutely critical for us to be in the Word of God all of the time. We need to saturate our minds with the Scripture through our daily reading, writing, studying, meditation, and memorization of the Bible. We are now even learning how to sing the Scripture (see Scripture Memory Songs), which also helps us to keep God’s Word in our heart and mind.
The sad truth, however, is that most believers do not know enough Scripture to resist the devil’s tempation. What a shame. There is no excuse for it. I believe that this is one of the greatest needs for the people of our church today. We need to strengthened and fortified by the Word of God so that when the flesh, the world, or the devil try to get us to yield, we can stay inside the perfect will of God.
One final thought. You will notice from this passage that Satan also said, “It is written”, but it is important to note that while Satan “quoted” the Scripture, he conveniently left out part of the O.T. verse. He is still using that same method today by re-writing the Word of God in all of these modern versions. He changes words, and leaves out words as it suits his purposes. Stick with the old King James!
Posted in Thoughts from Matthew by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.