January 15

Text: Matthew 4:5-7

 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"  Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" (NASB)

People who declare themselves to be Christian do all kinds of things in the name of Christianity.  They divide, hate, slander, practice guilt-by-association, attack, misrepresent, lie, etc.  However, it is claimed evil acts/behavior are not evil because the act/behavior occurred for the sake of a religious motive.  oweverHWrong doing suddenly becomes righteousness if the wrong doing is performed in the name of religion.  Such people declare it is right to do evil if the evil act achieves God’s objectives.

It is no accident that the second temptation occurred in a religious environment.  For a first century Jew the environment could not have been more God-centered!  Satan did something he rarely did—he quoted scripture.  Everything had the feeling of correctness.

“Jesus, you know who you are.  You need to verify you know your identity.  If you are correct (and you are), God promised to protect you.  Demonstrate you trust your identity and God’s promises—jump!”

Jesus replied that there was a major difference in trusting God and testing God.  In this situation if he jumped the motivation would be to prove something to him.  The jumping would in no way benefit God.  Trusting was declared by not jumping.  He did not need to prove anything.

The incident Jesus referred to occurred in Exodus 17:1-7.  The statement referring to the incident is in Deuteronomy 6:16.  The God who delivered Israel from Egypt would not let them die of thirst.  God had proven Himself to be trustworthy.  Jesus also knew God was trustworthy—God had nothing to prove!

Suggestion for reflection: In today’s world, distinguish between trusting and testing God.  (Read Psalm 95:6-11.)

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