When I was younger, my mom would always check me from the way I dress to way I behaved. I thought I was smarter than her. She knew I had an attitude, and I would need to check myself. She was training me deal with me. We can get mad when people point out our weakness, but the enemy is checking out to locate your weakness. He is looking for way to tempt you. Temptation is a part of you because of who you are. We all have things we desire and sometimes we can’t control it. We must learn how to overcome temptation. The desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.
The first temptation (vv. 1–4).
This involved the love of God and the will of God.
- “Since You are God’s beloved Son, why doesn’t Your Father feed You?
- Why does He put You into this terrible wilderness?”
- This temptation sounded like Satan’s words to Eve in Genesis 3!
- It is a subtle suggestion that our Father does not love us.
But there was another suggestion:
“Use Your divine powers to meet Your own needs.”
- When we put our physical needs ahead of our spiritual needs, we sin.
- When we allow circumstances to dictate our actions, instead of following God’s will, we sin.
- Jesus could have turned the stones into bread, but He would have been exercising His powers independently of the Father; and He came to obey the Father (30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will. John 5:30; 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.6:38). Check Yourself!
The Lord quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to defeat Satan. Feeding on and obeying God’s Word is more important than consuming physical food. In fact, it is our food (John 4:32–34).
The second temptation (vv. 5–7).
The second temptation was even more subtle.
- This time Satan also used the Word of God.
- “So You intend to live by the Scriptures,” he implied. “Then let me quote You a verse of Scripture and see if You will obey it!” Satan took the Lord Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, probably 500 feet above the Kidron Valley. Satan then quoted from Psalm 91:11–12 where God promised to care for His own.
- “If You really believe the Scriptures, then jump! Let’s see if the Father cares for You!”
Satan had cleverly omitted the phrase “in all Thy ways” when he quoted from Psalm 91.
- When the child of God is in the will of God, the Father will protect him.
- He watches over those who are “in His ways.”
Jesus replied with 16 You must not test the Lord your God as you did when you complained at Massah. 17 You must diligently obey the commands of the Lord your God—all the laws and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Deuteronomy 6:16:
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
- We tempt God when we put ourselves into circumstances that force Him to work miracles on our behalf.
- We tempt God when we try to force Him to contradict His own Word.
- It is important for us as believers to read all Scripture, and study all God has to say, for all of it is profitable for daily life (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
The third temptation (vv. 8–11).
The devil offered Jesus a shortcut to His kingdom.
- Jesus knew that He would suffer and die before He entered into His glory (Luke 24:26; 1 Peter 1:11; 5:1).
- If He bowed down and worshiped Satan just once (this is the force of the Greek verb), He could enjoy all the glory without enduring the suffering.
- Satan has always wanted worship, because Satan has always wanted to be God (Isa. 14:12–14). Worshiping the creature instead of the Creator is the lie that rules our world today (Rom. 1:24–25).
There are no shortcuts to the will of God. If we want to share in the glory, we must also share in the suffering (1 Peter 5:10). As the prince of this world, Satan could offer these kingdoms to Christ (John 12:31; 14:30). But Jesus did not need Satan’s offer. The Father had already promised Jesus the kingdom! “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen [nations] for Thine inheritance” (Ps. 2:8). You find the same promise in Psalm 22:22–31, and this is the psalm of the cross.
Our Lord replied with Deuteronomy 6:13: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Satan had said nothing about service, but Jesus knew that whatever we worship, we will serve. Worship and service must go together.
One victory never guarantees freedom from further temptation. If anything, each victory we experience only makes Satan try harder.