Posted by: dhkrause | December 2, 2017

More Than Conquerors

In Matthew 4, Jesus demonstrates how to win the victory over the devil who seeks to derail our lives in many clever ways.  Jesus stands on the written Word of God in meeting each of the devil’s three temptations.  Later, as the  resurrected Lord, Jesus makes this promise to all who follow in His footsteps to win the victory in their own lives:

Revelation 3:21
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne,
as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Revelation 3_21

To understand how Jesus used scripture to defeat the devil, it helps to examine the context of each scripture he quoted.

The First Temptation

The devil first appealed to Jesus’ physical need for food after having fasted for forty days and nights.  He cleverly challenged Him to do something that would both prove He is the Son of God, and provide Him with food to eat.

Matthew 4 (NKJV)
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “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 by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4_4

In this declaration, Jesus quoted from the following passage:

Deuteronomy 8:3 (NKJV)
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

Application:
God sometimes allows us to experience hunger or some other need that He intends to satisfy in a supernaturally natural way.  The devil likes to step in with an unrighteous alternative, something outside of God’s will.  If we hold faithfully to God’s commands and promises, we will see Him meet our needs “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20Trust in the Lord with all your heart!”  (Proverbs 3:5)

The Second Temptation

The devil next gave Jesus a mocking challenge, this time cleverly using scripture in an attempt to trap Him into losing face if He refused the dare.

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him,
If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.
For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone
.’”

Psalm 91_11

The devil was quoting here from Psalm 91:11-12, which reads in context:

Psalm 91 (NKJV)
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

The Psalm is promising those who have taken refuge in the Lord, and dwell in Him, that He will protect them, and send His angels to watch over them to keep them safe in all their ways (which are also His ways, because they belong to Him).  The angels will bear them up as they walk, so that they will not even stub their toes against a stone.  (Notice the Psalm does not promise angels will rescue a fool who leaps from a tower to put on a show.)

Jesus ignores the devil’s false use of scripture, giving a rebuttal based on the true use of God’s Word:

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:

16 “You shall not tempt the Lord your God as you tempted Him in Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.”

Matthew 4_7

The reference to Massah takes us to Exodus 17, where we find the children of Israel contending with Moses, tempting the Lord to deal harshly with their rebellion.  They were not trusting God to fulfill His promises, and they were almost ready to stone Moses, God’s appointed leader.

Out of compassion, God met their need supernaturally, causing a huge flow of water to come forth where Moses struck the rock, instantly carving a massive well and fountain.  (Interestingly, in recent years archeologists exploring in that area have found a massive stone with a deep vertical crevice that appears to have been formed by tremendous hydraulic force of water erupting from below.)

God spared the people from judgment on this occasion, but He warned them not to tempt Him again as they had in Massah.  In referring to this scripture, Jesus was conveying that jumping off a high pinnacle on a dare would be an act of rebellion such as God had warned His people not to do.

Application:
When we experience thirst or other hardships, God is calling us to keep believing in Him as our Provider, and never turn back.  He answers our faith with supernaturally natural provision, and we will come out of the testing spiritually stronger than ever.  Trust and obey!

The Third Temptation

 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him,
All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written,
You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Matthew 4_10

Jesus here refers to Deuteronomy 6:13, where God commands His people to worship and serve only Him.  The confrontation ends here, as He sends the devil packing.  The devil had fired his best shots, and Jesus had defeated him, referring each time to the written Word of God.

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Application:
The Lord our God is calling His people to be completely committed to Him.  If we are worshiping some other God, or seeking benefits outside of His will, we do not belong to Him.  His passion for us will not be fulfilled until we turn fully to Him, and reciprocate his undying love.  Give it all to Him!

By faithfully following Jesus and standing on God’s Word, we too will be
more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

We will be overcomers, sitting with Him on His throne.  (Revelation 3:21)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 12/2/2017, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
http://flickriver.com/photos/daily-bible-verse/tags/cross/
https://weheartit.com/entry/176220430
http://karinforeman.com/psalm-91/psalm-91-11-wscripture/
http://slideplayer.com/slide/8691809/
http://slideplayer.com/slide/7049919/


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