Matthew 4: Wilderness Victory (4)
Pray Psalm 110.5-7.
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.
Sing contemplatively Psalm 110.5-7.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
The Lord at Your right hand, Lord, in wrath shall shatter kings,
when judgment by His strong Word He to the nations brings.
Then, all His foes defeated, He takes His hard-won rest,
in glorious triumph seated with us, redeemed and blessed!
Read Matthew 4.1-10; meditate on verses 8-10.
1. What did the devil offer Jesus? What was he trying to get Jesus to do?
2. How did Jesus overcome the devil?
Jonathan Edwards once referred to the devil as the greatest blockhead ever, because he actually believes the lies he spreads among the peoples of the world. One of those lies was that the kingdoms of the earth – all those nations and empires that came before Jesus – were actually his to do with as he pleased. Had he forgotten the lesson of the book of Job? God, Augustine wrote, has Satan on a leash; and he can only do as much as God allows.
So there is something almost comic about Satan offering “the kingdoms of the world and their glory” to Jesus. They weren’t actually his to give! God permitted him temporary dominion over the earth, until the time that Jesus should come and bring the eternal Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. And that time was now. Jesus knew it, and so did Satan. But Jesus would not exchange the Kingdom of heaven for all the kingdoms of the earth, and He certainly was not about to bow down and worship the devil.
As He had done twice previously, Jesus drew on the Law of God to rebut the devil and send him packing. We don’t hear much about the Law of God in our day, and we are weaker because of this neglect. But Jesus’ example of how to resist the devil, so that he will flee from us (Jms. 4,7), offers wise counsel for overcoming temptation. The Law of God is holy and righteous and good (Rom. 7.12). The more we know of it, the better able we will be to recognize the sin Satan proffers in temptation, and to wield the Sword of the Lord in resisting the devil and continuing to seek the rule of King Jesus in our lives.
1. Are you ever tempted to “fall down and worship” anything other than the Lord? How do you resist that temptation?
2. To overcome temptation we must first recognize for what it is, then oppose it with the truth of God. Why does this make the Law of God so important (cf. Rom. 7.7, 12)?
3. How can we better prepare ourselves to prevail when we are confronted by temptation?
No sin of diabolical scourge could come close to the body of the Lord. Therefore the Lord withstood temptations from the enemy that he might restore victory to humankind. Chromatius (fl. 400), Tractate on Matthew 14.5
Help me to recognize temptation, Lord, so that I…
Pray Psalm 110.1-4.
Rejoice in the Lord, Who is King of all nations! Seek His Kingdom today as you go forth, one of His volunteers, to bring the grace of Jesus to the people in your Personal Mission Field.
Sing Psalm 110.1-4.
Psalm 110.1-4 (Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
“Sit by Me at My right hand,” the Lord says to my Lord,
“Until I make Your foot stand on all who hate Your Word.”
From in His Church the Savior rules all His enemies;
while those who know His favor go forth the Lord to please.
Filled with the Spirit’s power, in holy robes of love,
from early morning’s hour they serve their Lord above.
Christ reigns a priest forever, the King of Righteousness
and King of Peace who ever His chosen ones will bless.
T. M. Moore
What really happened in the wilderness? What did Jesus accomplish? Our book Satan Bound: A Theology of Evil, can help you to understand more completely the magnitude and importance of Matthew 4.1-11. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).