Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
July 16, 2006
9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
11 And in their
hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
1901 ASV Translation
9 And he led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to guard thee:
11 and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.
13 And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a season.
- I. Satan's Use of the Word of God.
- A. On the face of it, the "promise of God" was that His Son would have angelic oversight in His earthly sojourn to protect His physical well-being.
- B. The "suggestion" was that he deliberately put that to the "test".
- 1. It is posited on the foundation of "If you are the Son of God."
- a. This is exactly the terminology of the first temptation: "Since you are the Image of the Executor of Power...".
- b. The setting is the "wing" of the Temple in Jerusalem -- one of its highest parts.
- 1) The devil goes straight to the central, physical, focus of the central city of Israel.
- 2) The issue focuses upon "Israel" and its "worship" of Yahweh Elohim.
- a) Jesus would not "worship" the devil.
- b) The devil, then, turned to the issue of "worship".
- c) The issue seems to be a very strong challenge to whether Jesus' "worship" was real -- did He really trust the Word of God?
- 2. It directly challenges a text (Psalm 91) that makes the claim that, "I will set Him on high, because He has known My name."
- a. The issue here is a "catch-22": if He "believes" the Word, will He not have to "prove" it?; and if He "refuses", will that not "prove" that He is simply unwilling to trust?
- b. It's easy enough to claim love for God and confidence in Him; it's another thing to have love for God and really trust Him.
- II. Jesus' Use of the Word of God.
- A. His quote is from Deuteronomy 6:16, which refers to Exodus 17:1.
- 1. The "setting" is that the Lord had led them by the pillars of cloud and fire to Rephidim to "camp" and there was no water.
- 2. The people "strove" with Moses and he called it "tempting Yahweh" (Exodus 17:2).
- 3. This led to the "smiting" of the Rock in Horeb that gushed forth sufficient water for all the people.
- B. His "setting" was "exactly" like the "Massah" setting.
- 1. Though it was the devil who had determined the exact location of Jesus for this "test", it was the leadership of the Holy Spirit that had brought Him to the situation where the "test" was going to occur.
- 2. The "test" of faith in very difficult circumstances is the question of whether one's confidence in the Word of God is sufficiently "strong" to not feel a "need" to "prove" it to anyone.
- III. At Issue.
- A. The issue of this "temptation" was the issue of distrusting the leadership of Yahweh because it had led to physical discomfort.
- 1. There was no water apparently available.
- 2. The people were thirsty.
- 3. The Exodus 13:17 text gives "reason": the people needed to be "toughened up" so that they could "handle" the discomforts and fears of this physical life so that they could pursue the will of God through thick and thin.
- 4. The issue was not merely "distrusting", but "unwillingness" to face what "trusting" brought.
- a. There is a reality to the issue of being willing to be led but not "trusting" in the good intentions of the Leader.
- b. Then there is the reality that one often simply does not wish to be what the Leader seeks to produce.
- 5. Why wasn't the "lesson" of the day, "Whining works"?
- B. Part of the "issue" was also the fact that one could easily be accused of "refusing the promise of God" out of fear -- which only works for one who does "fear", not the possibilities, but the opinions of others.
- IV. The Overall Issue of "Temptation".
- A. The production of the will of God in a fallen creation is a daunting task that is often addressed by means of shortcuts that give the appearance of success while actually laying the foundations for total disaster downline. Ecumenical, mass-evangelism, is the classic illustration in our generation. It appears to be a good and effective method of getting the witness out, but it undercuts the training of the believers to witness and it sets the stage for total doctrinal confusion. There is nothing that has contributed more to the current state of pluralistic disaster in our generation than "mass evangelism" pursued in an ecumenical setting.
- B. The lesson of "temptation" is that one must pursue the will of God according to the Word of God and let God work out the "success" issues.
- 1. One must be aware that "success" seldom looks to men like "success" (who would have thought that the Cross was a "successful" event?).
- 2. One must be aware that "success" is the accomplishment of the will of God as it is expressed in the Word of God. Period.
- C. The issue of this element of the Temptation is the question of whether one is going to "bend" the Word of God to achieve the "exaltation" most deeply desired by the spirit of man...and the devil.