Matthew 4:4,7,10 – BE ATTITUDES part one – The Test
v4 – “The TRUTH is: Man was not made a physical being only. Therefore his life cannot be sustained by physical food alone. Being primarily a spiritual creation, man must have the nutrition in every word that comes from God’s mouth.”
v7 – “The TRUTH is: You shall not exasperate the Lord your God with silly faith games.”
v10 – “Get out of my sight, Satan! It is a written law for everything in this whole universe: YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND YOU SHALL SERVE HIM ONLY!”
Temptation #1: YOU’RE HUNGRY?!
“You don’t have to stand for that! You’re a child of the King and therefore you can have whatever you need! A King’s kid isn’t meant to be going around hungry! You have the authority to turn that stone into a loaf of bread. Confess it with your mouth and it will be done!”
Sounds like a current message from a local pulpit, doesn’t it? That’s not its origin. That was the first of the three categories of temptation launched at Jesus in the wilderness. In Matthew 4:1 Jesus was taken into the desert by the Holy Spirit where He fasted for 40 days and was hungry. At that point the temptations began. We’ll talk about the significance of the categories later. Let’s hear what Jesus’ response to the tempter is:
“The TRUTH is: Man was not made a physical being only. Therefore his life cannot be sustained by physical food alone. Being primarily a spiritual creation, man must have the nutrition in every word that comes from God’s mouth.”
These words come from the mouth of the One who IS those words coming from God’s mouth.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14
“He was with God. He was God. All things were made and came into existence through Him. Not one thing that exists came into being without Him.” John 1:1-3
So we can safely assume that He knows the ingredients and requirements associated with man, God’s prize creation. Here He is reminding the devil and announcing to all the earth that man is meant to draw his life directly from God’s mouth.
In John 1:13 He defines the child of God as one who “owes their birth neither to bloods, nor to the will of the flesh (physical impulse), nor the will of a natural father, but to God”!
NOTE re: spiritual nutrition: If our spiritual eyes were opened and we looked at the multitudes who call themselves Christians today, what had been a well-fed, healthy looking group of people in the physical realm would suddenly look like a group from a fund-raising spot for the starving in Ethiopia!
Man has been desensitized to the need for intimate transmission of nutrition to his spirit. The deceiver has been so successful in keeping man’s attention on his physical existence that we don’t realize that just as the flesh needs food, so does the spirit. In fact, the parallel is much more grave than eating or not eating. Jesus’ illustration shows us that the flesh can go 40 days without being fed, but the spirit cannot be “alive” for even a moment outside of God’s Spirit (breath).
Temptation #2: TAKE A FLYING LEAP!
Matthew 4:5 tells us that Satan took Jesus to Jerusalem and made Him stand on the highest point of the temple, then said, “GO AHEAD! Throw yourself out into apparent destruction! Let’s see if God is with you. He said He would take care of you, didn’t He? Go for it!”
Jesus replies, “The TRUTH is: You shall not exasperate the Lord your God with silly ‘faith’ games.”
Jesus uses words directly from Deuteronomy 6:16, “You shall not tempt and try the Lord your God, as you did at Massah.” In Exodus 17:7 God called the place Massah (proof) and Meribah (contention) where the Israelites tempted and tried the patience of the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
The commercial brand of “faith” regularly says, “Ask for a miracle! Expect a miracle! Buy your miracle here!” And when we are walking through a dry place it is common to say, “Where are You, God? Why don’t You do something to prove You are still with me?”
This perception of God and our relationship with Him is designed to erode our REAL faith. In a moment of desperate worked-up “faith”, we jump out into whim and impulse expecting “IF He is there”, God will bear us up on wings of eagles.
Instead of learning a valuable lesson from what happens, we begin to doubt that God even exists when He lets us “eat the fruit of our deeds.” God is either God, or He’s not. And if He is, I wouldn’t insult Him if I were you! Establish a true understanding of what real faith is. Start by reading Hebrews 11 – over and over if you have to – until you get the point. And… DON’T LET YOURSELF BE A TRIAL TO GOD!
ON PROVING GOD
“Proving God” is not a demand and a leap. If you are really interested in proving God, you will take the time to look into the Word and find out the proper way of doing it.
Proving God begins with and proceeds from bent knees and a contrite heart. In Romans 12:1,2 we read, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of (all) the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world – this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the entire renewal of your mind – by its new ideals and its new attitude – so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect in His sight for you.”
Temptation #3: WORSHIP ME!
In Matthew 4:8 the devil takes Jesus to a high vista point and shows Him a panorama of the splendor of all the earth’s kingdoms and says, “Look! All the glitter, all the wealth and beauty and power of all the kingdoms of the world, it’s all yours. Just submit to me and worship me!”
Here Jesus is offered an easier, yet still spiritual, path to buying back ALL that His hands had made. He didn’t come to buy all of it back – just you; and He knew there was only one path that would truly accomplish your redemption.
Jesus replies, “Get out of my sight, Satan! It is a written law for everything in this whole universe: YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND YOU SHALL SERVE HIM ONLY!”
With these words Jesus finishes the necessary confrontation with Satan’s almost ceremonial series of temptations. The devil must have at least suspected that it was useless to try to stumble the Son of God.
For Jesus it was simply part of what He had to endure. Like His first words to John concerning what seemed to John an unnecessary baptism, it was “necessary in order to fulfill everything that righteousness demanded.”
That episode becomes a preliminary demonstration of what Jesus is about to teach verbally about the Attitude of a Child of God. The “Sermon on the Mount” was illustrated by Him toe-to-toe with the most formidable foe to our walk in Christ – Satan himself. And it wasn’t even a contest! In baseball terms: Three up – Three down! Hallelujah!
CATEGORIES OF TEMPTATION
Looking at the kinds of pitches he was throwing can give us some insight into the devil’s tactics toward us. Here are his targets:
1. FLESH “Turn that stone into bread. Satisfy that hunger”
2. MIND (soul) “See if God is with you. Make Him prove it”
3. SPIRIT “All the power is yours if you worship me”
Man is a 3-part being: Body, Soul and Spirit. Satan has temptation for each part of you.
John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the FLESH (craving for sensual gratification), and the lust of the eyes (greedy longings of the MIND) and the PRIDE of life (assurance of ONE’S OWN resources or in the stability of earthly things) – these do not come from the Father but are from the world. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden craving (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life, abides (remains) forever.”
(All Bible quotes are from the Amplified Bible ©Zondervan Publishing House, Library of Congress Catalog #65-195000)
IN A NUTSHELL
1. Your true life is sustained from God’s own mouth or breath (Spirit)
2. Don’t be a trial to Him
3. You must be dedicated to that intimate time of fellowship with Him and obedience to what you may hear Him say and to producing in Him the smile, even laughter, of pleasure.
NEXT ISSUE: BE ATTITUDES part two, THE I AM TEACHING US TO BE.