In Luke 4, we read about Jesus being led into the wilderness and being tempted by Satan and we have three of those temptations recorded. It has been good for me to think about them. I can’t say that I enjoyed it but it has been good for me to think about those temptations and how Jesus dealt with them and that they are very common temptations for us today. You have the same Father here as we do in America but we also face the same enemy. The same Satan and he is great, he is mighty but I am thankful that God is greater and God is mightier and God is very anxious to help us as we face the enemy of our soul.
Jesus used God’s word as a sword against the enemy. He did not use a carnal weapon against the enemy of His soul. He did not use His own thinking or human reasoning against the enemy of His soul because they would not work. Every time, it tells us that His response was, “It is written.” So God’s word was like a sword to the enemy. We have that in Hebrews where it tells us that the word of God is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword and I am so thankful that we can use the word of God against the enemy of our soul.
The first temptation recorded here is when Satan said, “If Thou be the Son of God, command these stones that they may be bread.” Jesus answered him saying, “It is written that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God.” Satan still likes to use the temptation of what we feed on, he likes to use that because what we feed on makes just so much difference. He knew that Jesus could, that He had the power, to turn that stone into bread but Jesus understood that there was no strength in abusing power. There are a lot of things we can feed on but they don’t give us any strength. We can feed on a lot of things in this world and maybe they won’t take away our spiritual life but some things that we can feed on will take away our spiritual life. There are some things that won’t take away our spiritual life but neither will they give us any spiritual strength. We can feed on selfish thoughts but they are not going to give us any strength. We can feed on problems, mistakes that our brethren have made, but they will not give us any strength. But every time we feed on the word of God, that word will strengthen us and that word will enable us to grow spiritually. In Numbers 11, the children of Israel, were feeding on what they had left behind. It says that they wept and said, “Who shall give us any flesh to eat? We remember the flesh that we did eat in Egypt freely, the melons, the cucumbers, the leeks, and the garlic but now there is nothing beside this manna before our eyes.” God’s provision was the manna. God’s provision was complete. God’s provision was sweet and God’s provision was fresh each day but they were thinking about what they had left behind. They were thinking about those things and there was no strength in that. There was all the strength they needed in the manna, there was everything they needed in the manna but they thought about what they had left behind. It seems like they forgot the bondage that they had left behind, they forgot God’s great and wonderful deliverance. There is no strength in feeding on the past but there is strength in feeding on how God has delivered us and helped us and will keep us. Then further on, we read about them feeding on the greatness of the enemy and that just left them feeling overwhelmed. Yes, we need to be real about our enemy because our enemy is great, he is greater than us. We want to and we MUST feed on the strength of God because God IS greater and God IS able. That is what Joshua and Caleb tried to tell the people, “We can go in and we can possess the land because God is greater and God will help us.” We need to be careful what we are feeding on because what we are feeding on can either strengthen us or weaken us, as far as our souls are concerned.
The second temptation in Luke 4 is about what we look at. It tells us that Satan took Him up into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and he said he would give it all to Him and that it was delivered unto Him to give it to whoever He will. That all would be His if He would worship him. The Lord said, “Get thee behind me, Satan, for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship God and Him only shalt thou serve.’” What we look at. Satan tried to get Jesus to focus on that, maybe, there was advancement in this world. He took Him up into a high mountain and from that viewpoint, things are beautiful. From that viewpoint, you don’t see the garbage and you don’t see the little things. From the mountain, it all looks beautiful. Satan would like us to look at things in a wrong way and to not see the reality of things. He took Jesus up the mountain and in a moment, in a moment of time, he showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. It is going to take all the countless ages of eternity for God to show us His Kingdom, His riches, His glory, and His power. Jesus came from that, Jesus left that behind when He came to this earth and Jesus knew that what Satan showed Him in a moment of time He would leave behind on this earth and we need to remember that. Sometimes Satan gets us to look at things of this earth, things of this time and gives us a distorted view. Gets us to think that this is important but that which is most important is that which is from God, that which is eternal and that which we can enjoy throughout all eternity. I appreciated what we heard about faith and Lot and Abraham and I have also been thinking about them. Lot looked and he chose and what he chose looked good but it was not good for his soul. Abraham allowed God to lift up his eyes and so often we just choose that which will satisfy our flesh but that is not for the good of our soul and Satan would like us to look at that and choose that but God would like us to lift our eyes. To allow Him to lift our eyes, to show us that which is good and profitable for our souls. Achan, in the book of Joshua, took what they had been told not to take, he said, “I saw, I coveted, I took, and I hid.” It all began when he saw and it led to coveting something that was wrong. That led to him taking something that was wrong, that led to him hiding something that was wrong and that led to his death. We need to be careful because Satan knows that if he can get us to look at something that is wrong then, pretty soon, we will be coveting it. We will want it and we will take it and he knows that it can lead to our spiritual death. So may we rather be like Jesus and just realise that we need to feed on God’s word and allow God to lift our eyes. It is always safe to allow God to lift our eyes and it is always safe to look at God and it is always safe to look at God’s word.
Then the last temptation recorded is when he took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and said that if He was the Son of God then to cast Himself down from there for it is written that He will give Him angels to bear Him up lest at any time He should dash His foot against a stone. Jesus told him that it is said that thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Satan was working with what Jesus believed, he was telling Him, “You can do this, you can do whatever you want and God will save you.” Isn’t that a common lie that Satan tempts us with today? It doesn’t matter what you believe, all that matters is that you love God. It doesn’t matter what you do, all that matters is that you love God. It doesn’t matter how you live, all that matters is that you love God. Satan loves to tell us that, tempting us with what we believe. If we really loved God as God wants us to love Him, we are going to believe what Jesus lived and what He taught and we are really going to believe God’s word and if we really believe it, it is going to affect how we live, we are going to do it. It DOES matter what we believe, it DOES matter how we live, it DOES matter what we do. It MUST be in line with what Jesus taught. I am so aware that the enemy of our soul is just as great as when Jesus faced him but I am also thankful that the help of God is just as great. May we be those that would be looking to God, feeding on His word and getting the strength to say yes to God and the strength to say no to the enemy.