Jesus was driven out to the desert by the Holy Spirit just before his public ministry began.
He withdrew from his daily life, abstained from food, and prayed without ceasing for 40 days. While there, the tempter came to him. Satan offered the fasting Christ all of the pleasures the world could offer–things that would satisfy immediately: food, comfort, ease, power, glory. He urged Christ to turn stones to bread, to leap from the temple and command angels to save him, to receive all of the power, fame and glory the world had to offer. Three times Jesus replied, “No, it is written….”
Jesus shut down each temptation by claiming scripture; reminding Satan to whom He yielded.
Matthew 4:11 says,
Then the devil left him and behold angels came and were ministering to him.
Behold! angels did come and they did minister to him, but not by Satan’s hand. They came when the testing was over. And behold Jesus was fed food. And behold Christ did (and will) receive more power and glory than Satan could ever have offered. All that was promised by Satan, Christ did receive, but it would not come by the hand of the enemy. It came from the hand of his Father, God.
Consider though what would have happened if Jesus had allowed himself to have been fed from the hand of the enemy. What if he took up Satan’s prompt and turned a hot rock into a crusty, buttered piece of bread? What would have been so wrong with that?
What would have been the big deal if Christ had commanded the angels to do as he pleased? He could have really flexed his spiritual muscles and shown Satan who was boss!
What if he would have succumbed to even one single temptation that is common to man? What then? Would any of that have been so bad?
The answer is a resounding YES! it would have been so bad. If Jesus had yielded to Satan instead of God and stumbled on even ONE point of the law, he would have been guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10). But we have a perfect High Priest who was tempted in every way and yet was still blameless.
Jesus did not merely set a good example for us here. This was him maintaining his life as a spotless sacrifice. The spotless lamb whose blood we need to be washed from sin. Jesus is the victor and he won some critical battles those days in desert.
And yet Christ is always also an example to us. All that was promised Christ in the desert was given to him, but by the hand of God not by the hand of the enemy. Christ waited upon the Lord and he received his provisions from God. This is a critical example for our own lives.
A person fixed on this world and the desires of the flesh won’t care from where her provisions come. I recently heard a great teacher say that worldly thinking looks at one’s own feet. She doesn’t care what lies down the path. She wants what she wants right now.
But a person with discretion is fixed on eternal things. She looks down the road and examines the path, discerning what is true and pressing on until she is fed from God’s hand. She will not sell her birthright for a bowl of soup. She will go through the desert if necessary. She will go hungry until the provisions come.
What good works are you tempted to bail on today? How are you settling? Being fed from the immediate hand of the enemy rather than waiting on the Lord?
Is God refining your marriage and it’s hard?! Don’t quit. Don’t take the easy path of disrespect and an unforgiving, critical spirit. Seek out and follow God’s word for you as a wife. It will not prove to be in vain!
Are you striving to remain pure in the midst of this sexually charged culture? Press on, wait upon the Lord. Don’t sell your birthright for a measly bowl of soup!(Hebrews 12:6)
Are you seeking to raise kids according to His word? Are you ridiculed and scoffed at? Keep watering seeds and tending the soil of your children’s hearts with God’s word. In due time, pray, it will yield a harvest of righteousness.
What else are you waiting for? Physical healing? A loved one’s repentance? Mended relationships? Freedom from a sin? Relief from a difficult work situation? Loneliness?
Though it is tempting to settle for lesser things, may we wait upon the Lord, actually obeying what his word commands and may we see how he will supply all we need. May it be HIS hand that feeds us…bread which truly satisfies and water which makes us thirst no more.
In Christ’s love,