Nov 11

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After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, declared to be the Son of God, had the Holy Spirit descend upon Him, and was about to begin His public ministry, “Then was Jesus led up of the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matt. 4:1).
The time was Satan’s. He would give it his “best shot.” He tempted Christ in the three classifications of sin (1 John 2:16) as he had done with Eve (Gen. 3). However, the outcome was different; Jesus fell back on the Scripture and responded with “it is written” and turned neither to the left nor to the right. (A lesson in how we must fight Satan’s temptations.)
But what was meant by Jesus’ response to the second temptation? Of a certainty it was correct; Jesus Himself spoke it, and even Satan understood that he had been answered.
The account and the dialogue went as follows:

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and he saith unto him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Jesus said unto him. “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.“

Satan was saying: “Prove that you are the Son of God. It is written in Psalms 91:11-12 that God will so protect you that you will not even have to stump and hurt your foot upon a rock. I do not believe that you are Him. Prove to me and all the world that you are this Great One. [Satan was tempting Jesus’ pride of life.] If you jump off of the pinnacle, the angels will catch you as God promised.”
To this, Jesus responded. “Again it is written. Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God” (from Deut. 6:16). How does this reply apply to and answer Satan’s challenge? It is this: True, God would protect Jesus as He said he would; Satan did not misquote nor misapply it. Rather, Satan misunderstood it!
Jesus pointed out that while God gave Him (and us) protection, we are not to daringly test God! We are not to be reckless and without caution! For example: One would be making trial of God if he prayed for a safe journey and then, with a book in his face, drove down the wrong side of the road.
Yes, God makes promises to us, but we cannot be reckless about it, and we cannot daringly test God. This applies both physically and spiritually.

Gary Henson

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