January 14

Text: Matthew 4:2-4

And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" (NASB)

Jesus fasted for focus.  Note that Satanís efforts occurred after Jesusí period of focus.  Satan picks his moments.  Often when we feel our strongest we are actually at our weakest.  The moment after we focus on God we find it simple to depend on self.  We get ourselves in trouble when we ďgo it alone.Ē

There is a strong tie between Israelís deliverance and Jesusí answers.  For Israel, the easy part of ending slavery was leaving Egypt.  The hard part was learning Godís ways after they left.  For us, the easy part is leaving the slavery (domain) of sin.  The hard part is learning Godís ways after we leave sin.  Transitioning from sinís values to Godís righteous values is a lifetime challenge!

The first temptation centered in what we call physical need.  Physical need is at the height of its power when it is upon us!  Jesus was hungry from fasting.  Satanís simple proposal:  Turn these stones to bread (to satisfy your physical need).  What good will be achieved if you die in this wilderness?

Ah . . . the pragmatic justification!  ďIt is in Godís interest for you to follow my suggestion--which actually achieves Godís purposes.Ē  As if evil is ever concerned about Godís righteous purposes!

The word translated ďifĒ may also be translated ďsince.Ē The temptation is not in, ĒDo you know who you are?Ē  (He knew who he was.)  Nor is it in the suggestion that the physical is, by nature, evil.  (Is not God the Creator of the physical?  Read Genesis 1:31 and 1 Timothy 4:4, 5 lately?)  Nor is the focus on an abuse of power.  (Did Jesus not walk on water in John 6:19?  What about verse 21?)

Jesusí response declared the issue involved something more important than preserving physical existence.  Examine Deuteronomy 8:3, 4.  God sustains.  Physical existence is not the ultimate.

Suggestion for reflection: In your life, what is the relationship between physical and spiritual survival?  (Read Matthew 6:25.)

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