“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matthew 4:2-3)
Jesus had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After having fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. And don’t you know THAT’S when the devil, the tempter, came to Him. When He was at His weakest in the body of flesh He had taken on. And in the flesh, that first temptation must have been the hardest.
The devil told Jesus, “IF thou be the Son of God…” – challenging His Godly authority – “…command that these stones be made bread.” Of COURSE, He could have, with no problem, and so it was “tempting” because He hadn’t eaten in 40 days and nights.
But Jesus answered the old tempter with the Word.
Next, the devil tried another approach. He tried to use the Word against Jesus, telling Him to throw Himself down, because it was written, “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee…” He knew Jesus couldn’t deny the Word, but Jesus came back, again, WITH the Word. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
The third time he tempted Jesus, the reasoning always seemed kind of funny to me. Imagine tempting the Creator with His own creation! But there’s so much more to it than that! But Jesus continues to use the Word to hold His ground, commanding the tempter to leave.
As you read this passage of Scripture today, there are a few things I hope you take away from it.
The first is that you can expect that you will be tempted and tried when your fasting seems to be taking the hardest toll on you. Your enemy bides his time, waiting for just the right moment to strike. And having studied you YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, he knows exactly what kind of formula to use to cut you to the core. Do not doubt that! And he will wait until you are literally famished, either physically or spiritually, to do it.
The second thing is that we already have, in our possession, the means to defeat everything the enemy throws at us. Our sword. The Living Word of God. When we use the Truth found in that Book, the same way Jesus did, there’s no way the devil can stand under the weight of the Truth. And… in resisting Him in the only feasible way possible, He MUST flee.
The third, and final thing, is that there IS rest after the trial! Aren’t you glad of that? Just as the angels came and ministered to Jesus, we will also receive a refreshing or restoration when, having done all to stand, we STAND, THEREFORE.
These days in which we are living can bring us to dire straights, leaving us hungry for the things of God. They can strip us of our strength, or cause us to see others stripped of theirs. But as we continue to persevere under even the most trying circumstances, let’s remember that Jesus gave us example after example to follow, and authority to be His Ambassadors here on this earth.