Thursday, July 3, 2008

Matthew 4:1-11 "Hungry"

Read Matthew 4:1-11.

"For it is written...." NIV

This passage always makes me feel so understood and empowered. Jesus knows exactly the temptations that the enemy will throw at us, and He has demonstrated for us a way to combat them. We have been given a weapon more powerful than anything the military can come up with -- the Word of God. Really good reason to be memorizing Scripture. The enemy is rampant, and I need to keep my arsenal full. I certainly don't want to be caught empty-handed when I face my opponent.

It's very interesting to note the areas that Satan tempts Jesus, 1) hunger for food, 2) hunger to be invincible, and 3) hunger for power and wealth. Aren't these the same temptations that people face all the time? Let's look at them individually.

Hunger for Food: This could mean anything that encompasses our area of needs. We need food, air, shelter, warmth, clothing, jobs.... And often we are tempted to either worry about them or scrape and claw our way to get them. But the Father has already promised to supply all our needs if we will trust Him and do as He has told us to do. We must still work; He commands that as well. He's not going to just hand everything over freely. But we must resist the temptation to over-inflate our "need" and confuse them with our "wants."

Hunger to be Invincible: As humans, we are so tempted to live each day as if we had a million of them left. We think we've got everything under control; can meet any challenge and overcome it. We can eat, drink, and be merry because we always have tomorrow. But the reality is we are frail human beings who need a Savior. We have dug a deep pit for ourselves and many don't even realize it. So many are running around the pit thinking they are on top of the world when their circles are futile and their destination unrealized. We must humbly accept that we are fallible and frail, and we need Jesus to rescue us. We cannot make it on our own. He truly is our salvation -- here and in the beyond.

Hunger for Power and Wealth: Boy, has this ever reached such heights in any other time in history on such a grand scale? I started to say this is such an American problem, but it's worldwide. So many are struggling to climb the power ladder and accumulate more and more things. Maybe it's a search for happiness. Maybe it's an attempt to build their self-esteem. Whatever the motivation, we have all at one time or another yielded to this temptation. How many of us would have resisted Satan's offer on that mountaintop? But these offerings are fleeting. Our power is in the Word and counsel of the Holy Spirit and our wealth is in Christ and an eternity with our Father. Jesus did not die on a cross so I could have more stuff. He never even promised that I would never suffer. In fact, just the opposite. He said that we would suffer for our faith and face many trials. But I don't need power and wealth when I can have hope and joy. That is what lasts forever.

Thank You, my Lord, that You showed us how to combat the enemy, and You understand our struggles. Thank You, that I do not serve a distant god who doesn't care, but One that empathizes and provides a way out of the temptations. I am not left alone; the King has got my back.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Notice that the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan. The Father also allowed Job to be tempted. Read his story and how he handled the temptation coming from all around him. Job 1-42. Especially note: When hungers become greater than fear of the Lord, read chapters 38-40 and be reminded that we serve the Almighty Creator of the Universe and be humbled.
  2. What should we be hungry for? Read Matthew 6:33, 5:6. Find other verses that tell us what to "hunger" for.
  3. How invincible are we? Read Psalm 39:4-11, Psalm 89:47-48. Find more verses.
  4. Where does our strength come from? Support with Scripture.
  5. What temptation is the enemy throwing at you right now? Hit him with Scripture and believe and trust that the Lord is your protector and provider.

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