The Book of Luke, The Temptation of Jesus, Part III Ė Lesson 36
Luke 4:1-4, And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2Being forty days tempted of the devil And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Matthew 4:4, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
I have this verse quoted from Matthew 4:4 carved into a Dining Room China cabinet that I made for my wife for our anniversary way back in the 1970ís.
I put it on a piece of furniture easily seen by folks eating at the Dining Room table so that all would be reminded that there is more to life than food and the survival it may bring.
Most people in the world are motivated by the need to eat each day and go about their lives making sure that they have food on the table and their lives are basically driven by that motivation.
But a Christian is to live by the word of God regardless even if living by the word of God brings hunger, starvation or hardships.
Why is this?
Jesus provides us the answer in this scripture for we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ understood that God uses deprivation and hardship to test or prove manís faith.
The Lord Jesus Christ quoted to Satan the word of God in Deuteronomy which demonstates this principle.
A manís faith is shown by his obedience to the the word of God even when that obedience may result in doing something that appears risky, dangerous or could even lead to death.
Didnít God tell Abraham to stay in the land even while knowing that a famine was in Abrahamís future?
Abraham, in taking on Godís job to look after his life, put his wife into a position to be violated.
But God expected Abraham to trust Him not only during the times of plenty but also during the times of famine.
Being a Christian is the same as living the vows we take when we marry, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for we know that God is always with us.
Belief of Godís word at all times and in all situations is expected by God. God has no room for unbelief!
Abraham was a wealthy man and had many flocks and family to look out for but God expected him to trust in him for all of those under his care even during a famine in the land.
He was to remember that Israel was Godís land and God was responsible for taking care of him in the land.
Abrahamís life was in Godís hands, and Abraham should not have feared.
His self-saving acts threatened his life and his future. Save your life and you will lose it.
The ultimate test of Abrahamís faith was his willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, through whom Abrahamís future and blessings would come.
When Abraham was willing to obey God, even when it appeared that doing so would be the end of his future, Abraham was proven to be a man of faith and obedience.
Abraham was put though deprivation and hardness for testing and proving purposes.
God tested him in such a way that Abraham could only rely on God to do what was necessary to carry out Godís promises.
He did not get to be the father of faith without that testing and proving.
The passage in Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us of Godís use of deprivation and hardness for testing and proving purposes.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
To humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart!
How do you know that you will obey God unless you are tested?
How do you know your children will obey you unless they are tested.
Donít you test them at times?
And if they fail donít you apply chastisement so they will pass the next test? Isnít that what chastisement is for?
Isnít it aimed at obedience to your word? It is aimed at faith in your word on the part of your children.
Also Jesus Christ, by refusing Satanís offer to turn the stone into bread, shows us that he understood that testing, through deprivation and hardship, often is Godís preparation for future blessing.
Peter tell us this when he said that ďThe trial of your faith is more precious than gold!Ē
Many times we quit just before the blessing.
In Deuteronomy God referred to the lessons which God had taught Israel in order to prepare her for the blessings of the land.
Satan was contradicting this principle of faith followed by blessing by questioning Godís will when he brought up a solution to Jesus Christís hunger.
He was saying, in contrast to God, that hunger was inconsistent with divine affection and blessing but Jesus knew from Deuteronomy that hunger was the evidence of divine love and care, in preparation for blessing.
God was not about to put Jesus Christ through hunger for no reason at all.
But it takes faith in God to walk in this truth. God knows best and he cares for me.
Satan came to Eve and was successful in planting doubts in Eveís mind of Godís care for her.
He is doing the same here with Christ.
He is basically saying that there is no reason for you to starve, if the Father loved you he would not let you suffer the way you are suffering, go ahead and turn that stone into bread.
Why suffer when you can have fresh made bread to satisfy that hunger right now!
These 40 days are taking their toll and you are dying arenít you?
Satanís lie is always that God does not care for you but Satan cares for you!
God does not care for you but the world cares for you.
But Jesus Christ had the correct priority of things by recognizing that obedience to Godís word was more important than holding on to physical life.
For God would not have him or you do anything that does not result in future blessing.
The priority of the spiritual above the physical, of obedience to the Fatherís will, above simply existing is always apparent in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
He continually stressed the priority of manís spiritual condition over his physical state.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that the hungry were blessed (6:21), while He pronounced woe upon those who were well-fed (6:23).
The disciples were sent out without provisions (10:1ff.).
The Lordís Prayer included a petition for daily bread (11:3).
Jesus taught that men should ďseek first the kingdom of God,Ē and that all of the other thingsóthe necessities for physical lifeówould be added (12:31).
Men should be laying up treasure in heaven, and not on earth (12:33).
Jesus taught that men must give up their lives in order to save them:
That is what faith is all about! Faith by obeying Godís word and then comes blessing.
Satan is interested in satisfying your now and now physical needs so as to take away any need to believe God for future blessing.
It is always a sacrifice of the permanent on the altar of the immediate.
The permanent is future and that comes by faith and the immediate is now and that comes with no faith!
Everything that God does encourages faith but everything Satan does is for the immediate and always belittles faith.
The message from Satan to Jesus Christ is, Turn that stone into bread and satisfy your present need but forget about any blessing that God will supply in the future.
On several occasions Jesus Christ revealed to us his complete dedication to the Fatherís word in spite of any danger or damage to himself.
Remember Peterís rebuke to the Lord when he was told by Jesus that he must suffer many things and be killed.
Peter took him and said ďBe it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.Ē
Peter was looking at the now and now, the immediate.
But Jesus Christ would have none of that kind of talk and he rebuked Peter soundly by saying in:
Matthew 16:21 ÖÖ Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
The things that be of men are temporal, but the things that be of God are eternal.
Peter was mouthing the words of Satan for they promoted the program of Satan and not the program of God.
And again he stung Peter with a rebuke in the garden of Gethsemane when Peter attempted to thwart those who came to arrest Jesus by cutting off the ear of Malchus.
Jesus said in John 18:11, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?