Matthew 4:1-4 – “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” NASU
Someone asked me, “Why was Jesus tempted by the devil?” There are many ways to approach that issue but one, which has comforted and encouraged me is He is our Example and Pattern for life. He was tempted for multiple reasons, not the least of which was to validate his tried holiness and purity before the Father. That is the legal aspect of His life and ministry in which through His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension he stripped the devil of his legal hold on mankind and opened the door for salvation for ‘whosoever will’.
But, back to my first thought of Jesus living as our example and pattern. In this passage, the devil, as do too many trying to make a religious point, misquoted Scripture or misapplied it. He is the master twister and counterfeiter. Jesus was naturally hungry after a 40 day fast. Therefore, the devil took advantage of natural desire, need, and inclination to eat and satisfy that hunger. He took a point that he knew Jesus had the power to do and suggested that he simply satisfy his natural and legitimate craving and need in a supernatural manner. Jesus was not fooled.
The LORD said, “It is written…” I like that because that gives us a clear pathway for finding a defense against the temptations of life and the devil. The Word of God! We can go to the logos and from the Bible find answers to life’s problems and how to handle life’s difficult situations. What does God say? That is one of the first things that comes to my mind when I encounter a time of difficulty, temptation or trial. Not just what would Jesus do but what does the Word of God say on this matter? What does the Bible say about yielding to temptation and what are the promises of God that can be applied to this situation?
Jesus said, speaking to the natural need, desire, craving, and want, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It is not the natural, that sustains us but the supernatural. It is not the natural that gives us strength but the divine. It is not what man can produce in an attempt to satisfy his cravings, longings, needs, desires, or wants, it is God! That may sound overly simplistic but if you remember Jesus said, in Matthew 6 regarding life and how to approach it, “Don’t worry about life!” He anchors His words with this incredible truth and rock to which we can anchor our lives, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” That’s the key! God is to be our focus, not our needs and if we pursue Him, He will sustain us.
I am not suggesting that the Bible, by name, deals with every situation you encounter, but that it speaks to Life and how to Live! Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” In Matthew 6:7 there is a powerful reminder that God is never unaware of our needs. That leads to the example or pattern for prayer that Jesus gave His disciples and to each of us who are modern-day disciples. Our focus is first and foremost, God and His Name, Kingdom, and Purpose. It is secondly, on our needs both in natural provisions and divine forgiveness and the need to be forgiving. It identifies God’s power and ability to keep us and sustain us and keep us from temptation and evil and highlights the greatness of God’s Love and Power. Hallelujah!
My hope and prayer for each of us are that we will develop a lifestyle in which God is first in everything. He is our first thought. He is our first source of help. He is our Lord as well as our Savior. If we put God first He will hear from heaven, heal our land and our lives, and provide that which we need to live, love, and labor in His kingdom.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!