God is for us. This is what we need to hear over and over again. This is why we have the Holy Spirit of God. He reminds us that His promises are true, we can believe them. He reminds us that we can trust our relationship with God and don’t need proof since we are His righteousness. We can believe in His power and provision and truth no matter what we see. The devil gives the illusion of being in charge but he was defeated and judged on the cross.
These basic truths of believing in His promises, right relationship with our Father and dominion over the enemy have been with us from the beginning. These are also the same areas where the enemy comes against us. God is for us. He has always been for us. We are the ones that have been against Him. Our ignorant, sensory dominated flesh is easily convinced that God is against us. Our temporal understanding sucks us into twisted perspectives of an eternal God. Only in the Spirit of God can we know and understand the nature of God. In Christ we get to believe and trust in Who gives life to our eternal being. We get to trust the breath of life. We get to trust in God. We walk in the confidence that God is for us.
The devil challenged these truths in his tempting of Jesus. Jesus was hungry, very hungry. The flesh of Jesus was in desperate need of life-giving food. The will to survive was likely dominating His every thought. The devil then rolls in and tests Jesus to see what he believes. It isn’t to see if Jesus can deny His hunger (flesh deprivation). It isn’t a test of will power. He likely has none at this point. It is a test however concerning God’s promises. This first test is about what God has said and if Jesus believes it. His flesh is telling Him how hungry He is. When we are hungry we are “experiencing” lack. When we agree that our circumstance is a reflection of God’s love for us we are living in the flesh. So this first temptation is to see if Jesus believes what God has said. Here are the verses:
Matt 4:1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.” 4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (The Message)
The promises of Deuteronomy were about God providing for Israel in the wilderness. They may have been hungry on occasion but they were always provided for. God gave them mana, water and even clothes that didn’t wear out. Jesus is telling the devil “I believe in God’s promises.” Oh by the way these promises are active and alive. Jesus just had the most important promise spoken over Him “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” That is pretty awesome!
The next test was about relationship. The devil challenged Jesus’ understanding of His relationship with His Father. He taunts Jesus by asking Him to test God’s resolve in the relationship. “If God really loved Him then He could jump off the Temple and not get hurt.” Here are the verses:
Matt 4:5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.” 7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.” (The Message)
We have taken that verse out of context so often. God wants us to know that He loves us. We don’t need a demonstration to prove it to satan. God has given us proof. King Ahaz had one of those “out of context” moments when he rebuked God by saying “I will not put the Lord to the test.” This is what God said to Ahaz (and to us):
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ESV)
The last test was about dominion. Jesus already knew the outcome. Jesus came to take back from the devil what was rightfully ours. We gave it to him in the garden when we agreed that “God is against us.” We agreed that God had held back something. The devil tempted Adam and Eve and they fell for it. Since then (and even now) we are plagued with the poison of shame and condemnation. We are still hiding in the bushes. Jesus however is not taking the bait. Check out these verses:
Matt 4:8-9 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.” 10 Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.” (The Message)
When you go back and look at this reference passage in Deuteronomy you discover some amazing promises of God. Moses is reminding the people who in a right relationship with God (which we have by faith) they will come into the land God promised and God will put out all their enemies ahead of them. This is our same promise today. This is what Jesus knew.
The enemy is using the same tactics against us today. He challenges the promises of God. He challenges our relationship with God. He challenges the victory of Jesus and our dominion in the Earth. He uses our circumstance to test us. He uses his influence to pound us with doubt and despair. He uses all his power in this world to provide seemingly insurmountable evidence against what God has said. That is why we need the Holy Spirit. Remember His job?
8-11 “When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted. (The Message)
The Holy Spirit loves His job. He loves to remind us: It is all from Him. God is for us! He is with us! We are His kids!