Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. –Matthew 4:1
Our eyes often play tricks on us. One day, when my daughter was younger, she was looking through a bag of candy and burst out in elation when she pulled out a “Health” bar. That’s right, a “Health” bar. She was so excited that candy could be healthy that she was ready to consume it in an instant. Of course, the truth was that it was really a Heath™ bar, a chocolate-covered toffee treat. Although I’m sure the makers of the candy would love for consumers to believe the treat was in fact, healthy, the truth was just the opposite.
In Matthew 4, we see Jesus handle this type of deception. After forty days of fasting and solitude in the wilderness, Satan arrives to tempt Him with three very basic desires: food, material possessions, and power.
Knowing that Jesus was hungry, Satan suggested, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” I can only imagine that Jesus was actually insulted by this. Of course, He could command the stones to turn into bread! I’m sure He had already thought of more creative ways to feed Himself. But His answer came directly from Scripture. “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
The second invitation came after Satan took Jesus to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple. Eugene Peterson’s Bible paraphrase, The Message, reads, “The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: ‘He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.'” I love what follows. Jesus again quotes directly from Deuteronomy, “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
The last temptation gave Jesus the offer of material wealth and power if, and only if, He would bow down and worship Satan. Jesus curtly replied, “Away from me Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only!'”
Satan is described throughout Scripture as the Deceiver, that crafty old serpent, and the Father of Lies who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. What is our best weapon to fight against him? It is the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…” The catch is that we must know it to be able to use it.
Today, when the opportunity to believe a twisted truth presents itself, look again. It may not really be as “healthy” as it looks.
Temptation is all around us. When you are tempted, how often do you use the Word of God as your defense?
1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6: 10-18