The Way of Escape
Matthew 4:1-11 (1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Subsequent to His baptism where God the Father had declared Jesus to be His beloved Son (MAT 3:16-17), Jesus was “...led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (MAT 4:1). There are perils in the wilderness (2CO 11:26) but none moreso than the “...the devil, as a roaring lion....seeking whom he may devour” (1PE 5:8). He is more subtil (crafty, cunning, treacherously or wickedly cunning) “...than any beast of the field...” (GEN 3:1). Being thus led would underscore to Jesus' disciples how important it is for us, as weak sinners, to pray “...And lead us not into temptation...” (MAT 6:13). David prayed, “Incline not my heart to any evil thing...” (PSA 141:4). NOTE: The paths of righteousness through which our God leads us may well by His pleasure take us through the valley of the shadow of death as much as beside still waters (PSA 23:2-4). God is pleased to prove us, as with Israel, “...to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no” (DEU 8:2). God so tempted Abraham (GEN 22:1) and the children of Abraham/faith (GAL 3:7) may expect similar tests. We may take heart, though, that even when led into lonely conflict with dark spiritual powers (EPH 6:13), “...God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1CO 10:13). And Jesus here shows us the way of escape: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (PSA 119:11). Temptations are NOT to be fought with charms, potions, incantations, rituals, nunneries, monasteries or worldly wisdom which are all only so much foolish Satan casting out Satan, MAT 12:26. Nor should temptations be met with one's own righteousness for this is only so much dusting the adversary with a filthy rag (ISA 64:6) that waves like a matador's cape inviting attack. Temptations must be met with Scripture. Those who overcome do so by faith (1JO 5:4) which “...cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (ROM 10:17). “...I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one” (1JO 2:14), John observed. By contrast, those who insist that other means are better or necessary have not acknowledged the truth that the Lord Jesus demonstrated here and it should be no surprise if Satan takes them captive at his will (2TI 2:25-26). Sin's entrance into this world was facilitated by someone adding to the word of God while resisting Satan (GEN 2:15-17 c/w GEN 3:1-7). Eve's invented tradition of not touching the tree did not render Satan of none effect; it rendered the word of God of none effect (MAR 7:13). It is the word of God that works effectually in believers, not the word of man (1TH 2:13).