Our scripture this week is Matthew 4:1-11.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
In the desert, Jesus was tested by God and tempted by Satan. There is a huge difference here. Testing and tempting are not the same at all!
God tests us to strengthen us, to teach us to give up even our greatest wants and needs, that we may learn to trust in Him for everything. As the children of Israel wandered in the desert, they learned to rely on God. Conversely, the devil is often known as the tempter, deceiving us into thinking something other than God is the easy way to fulfill our desires.
Temptation leads us away from God; God’s testing makes our relationship stronger as we learn to trust Him to guide and provide. Whenever you feel tempted to take the easy way out, to put your own plan in action, stop and do as Jesus did – rebuke temptation with God’s word and rely on His unfailing grace and mercy for all you need.
Loving Lord, we give thanks for all Your care for us. Teach us Your word and Your way that we may be strong and faithful in our work for Your kingdom. Amen.