Last week we did not manage to properly cover Matthew 4:1-4 which says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”” So that is where we will pick it up today.
We know that Jesus was out in the wilderness fasting. The verse says, “During that time the devil came…” Question is during what time? When Jesus had just entered into the wilderness? Or when Jesus had finished fasting? I went to a few translations on this, and I think the consensus is this, which is in the Passion Translation, “And after fasting for forty days, Jesus was extremely hungry. Then the tempter came to him and said, “How can you possibly be the Son of God and go hungry? Just command these stones to be turned into loaves of bread,” Matthew 4:2-3.
We can see from that that the devil waited until Jesus finished fasting. He is an opportunist. He didn’t go to Jesus on day one because we have to remember 2 things, 1, Jesus had just been baptised by His cousin John the Baptist and the heavens had split open and everyone had heard Father God say that Jesus was His Son. 2. Jesus would not have been all that hungry on the first day of the fast. The devil waited until Jesus was in a position where what the devil was saying could have seemed right but it was not true. Just because something seems right does not make it right or true.
I found it fascinating how the devil came at Jesus on two fronts. Sometimes we think the devil will just attack one thing and leave us alone but no. He’ll get you on as many fronts as he can. The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” or “How can you be the Son of God and go hungry?” Either way we phrase the question, the devil was throwing shade at Jesus’ identity. Knowing who we are is key to us getting victory over the enemy. The moment we lose our identity, we begin to lose the battle. The moment we forget who we are and who God says we are, the devil is winning.
Without God or outside of God, we can’t get the victory over the things the devil throws at us. That is how we find ourselves quitting, because we are trying to do things in our own strength that we do not have the capacity for. The battle belongs to the Lord, every single time. Not sometimes. There is no fight against the devil that we can handle on our own. We may think we are winning but sooner or later we will realise that we have been played, and we have lost terribly. We always need Jesus and we need to know our identity is in Him. We are found in Him.
Second thing the devil did was to take a natural fact, Jesus was hungry, and try use that against Jesus. See Jesus was so submitted to the Holy Spirit and to our Father that He refused to do anything that Father God did not tell Him to do. (If we were more like that, we’d save ourselves a lot of trouble!) We have two verses that confirm this, John 4:34 which says, “To clarify, Jesus spoke up and said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and bring it to completion.”” And John 6:38 which says, “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” Jesus was focused on His mission.
If Jesus had let His feelings, because you have to remember, He was fully human and He had just spent 40 days alone in a desert, He was bound to have some feelings. If Jesus had let those feelings (His soul) or His hunger (His body) make the decision in that moment, we would be reading a different Bible altogether. But Jesus approached the temptation from His Spirit being and answered the devil with the word of God. God lives in us, but the part where He lives is our spirit, not our body or our soul.
Although the attack from the devil may come at us in those realms, we cannot respond from there. We have to get wisdom from God deep within our spirit. He gives us the strategy on how to have victory over our situation. Matthew 4:4, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Our victory is in the mouth of God if we will listen and obey. We don’t have to quit or succumb to the devil, we just have to pay attention to the voice of God within us. And it goes a long way to know the word of God too. #justsaying #readyourbible lol.
Love and blessings