Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous: Bible Study Matthew 4:1-11

I was studying in Matthew some time back and I wrote part of this then. I found it while doing some "housekeeping" on my blog last week. It's still so inspiring, I decided to finish it and post it.

Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation of Christ

Verse 1, "Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."

Okay, I've read this a thousand times and never noticed the way it reads, as though the entire purpose of this time of fasting was for Jesus to be tempted!

I run from temptation. If I know it awaits me in a certain place, I quickly and deliberately turn the other way. But Jesus went toward it. Why?

He went toward the temptation so he could give us an example to follow when we are tempted.

Satan tempted Jesus three separate times before giving up.

Jesus continually faced Satan's assaults with Scripture.  "It is written..." was his standard reply.

Even on the third temptation, Jesus didn't say, "You can't offer me that! It's already mine! And by the way, I created you, so it's not likely I'm gonna worship you. Sheesh!" (which would have made perfect sense to me). Once again, He quoted Scripture.

Verse 11 "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."

Satan admitted defeat and left. He didn't leave forever, Luke 4:13 says, "And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season." (emphasis added). He wasn't finished, but he admitted defeat for the moment and went off to torment someone else for a while, I suppose.

My most favorite part is, "and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." How long had it been since He had stood in the presence of His adoring angels or partaken of the good things Heaven offers? His body was tired, sore, and hungry from weeks of deprivation. But the angels came and ministered to him bringing - I believe - Heavenly rations to restore and strengthen Him for His coming ministry.

So what does all this mean to me? Well, I think I've boiled it down to three basic facts.

1. Satan will not give up easily.
If he went three rounds with the Son of God, Creator of the Universe, how much more will he bring against me, a mere mortal.

I realize that's a pretty dismal view to take, but don't give up yet. There's more, and it's really, really good.

2. Satan cannot stand against a defense based on Scripture.
The Bible is the only weapon we can use to defeat Satan. But what a weapon!

Inside this unassuming little book (or perhaps your copy is large and forbidding) lies an arsenal powerful enough to defeat the greatest enemy that ever came against mankind.  And it is at my disposal.

If I take Jesus's example and fire Scripture at Satan every time he comes at me, he cannot defeat me! (yes, I really think it deserves all that emphasis). Eventually he'll get bored and move on, at least for a while.

3. I will receive Heavenly rations when I resist Satan with Scripture.
Okay, so angels may not come down from Heaven bodily and minister to me with food and drink. I'll admit that. But there's something much better than food or drink.

After Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well, he told his disciples, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of." Of course he meant spiritual nourishment. The good stuff!

That's what Jesus gives us when we resist Satan in His name--peace that surpasses understanding and joy rooted deeply in our souls that Satan cannot reach it to corrupt it.

Each time we defeat Satan with Scripture, we grow stronger. Resisting will be easier and easier. Then one day we'll see him coming and whip out that old "Gospel Gun" and send that rascal running with his forked tail between his legs!

What a great God I serve!

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