This Week's Focus Passage

Matthew 4:10 ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God.’

Matthew 4:10 ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God.’

This passage is conspicuous as the narration of ‘The Temptation’ of Jesus by the Devil. It is most worthy of notice that Satan chose to make this attempt [no pun intended] immediately after His baptism by John, of which we may read:

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John would have hindered him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. and Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.—Matthew 4:13-17.

While we are not expressly told any reason for Satan determining upon this timing to assail our Lord with his temptations, it is more than noteworthy that the Word which immediately precedes the Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted is the pronouncement, by the Father, that this Jesus is decidedly pleasing, yea, well pleasing, unto Him. It would not be any strange notion that this fiend actually imagined that he could tempt Jesus into trying to usurp His Father’s throne, and thus trip up the Son of God; the Son that was eternally and infinitely beloved. This incredibly evil spirit has hopes that he will be able, by thrusting and parrying, to find a chink in the Son’s armor, or a weakness in any of His defenses. But alas and alack for him, the only-begotten is well-armed with the Sword of the Spirit. After all, He is the incarnate Word of God, which is the Sword of the Spirit. And not only so, but He is well acquainted with it as an armament for defense. He needs not to say, as young David spoke to Saul, ‘I have not proved them,’ for He had in eternity proven the Word infinitely well, for it was His Spirit who inspired men of old to pen the words contained between the covers of the Bible.

So we read about the wiles of Satan spoken of in Scripture; what wiles may we anticipate him using for this enterprise? He challenges Jesus from differing perspectives, looking steadily for some soft-spot; some weakness somewhere. We are told by the evangelist of Christ’s condition after having fasted forty days and forty nights that He afterward hungered. It may fairly be presumed that the devil was well aware of the hunger that Jesus was experiencing. With that in mind, his first thrust was in that direction, as he said, If [notice that snide ‘if,’ implying a question about the identity of Christ and challenging the remarkable voice out of the heavens], If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. Go ahead, he insisted, and prove that you are truly the Son of God. If you are the Son of God, it would be a small matter for you to perform this miracle of turning stones into bread. Now mark well the response of the all-wise God, in the Person of the Christ, when He responds with Scripture; with the very Word of God coming from the lips of the Son of God, and declaring, reminding this roaring lion, that It is written man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Here, the Mouth of God, Jesus Christ, shut the mouth (at least momentarily) with the Word of God from the Scriptures. It is written, resounding in the ears of the devil.

But even as ‘his enemy’ sowed not simply one, but a multitude ‘many’ tares in the field (Matthew 13:25), so in this confrontation, this slippery serpent has more than one trial to seek to employ. He then takes Jesus into the holy city, and setting Him on the very pinnacle of the temple, once again utters the blasphemous ‘If,’ thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written. He wickedly takes upon his mouth the word of God from Psalm 91:11-12 where the promise was made that the angels of God would bear Him up—here is blasphemy, this wicked creature taking the Word of God upon his own foul lips, trembleth not to do so. He rightly deserves to be humbled by another It is written, as so he is when our Lord Jesus says, Again it is written, thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God, from Deut. 6:16, and under the call of Moses to Hear, O Israel; Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, vs. 6:1, followed by vs. 16, Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your God. Of course, this usurper had no reticence whatever to violate this word; even as he had begun his sordid work in the garden with his insinuating query, Hath God said? But our Champion, Jesus, continues with His rebuke from the Word, challenging from the beginning any and all prohibitions from God, his mortal enemy.

On heels of this setback, he charges at the Savior of the World once more by taking Him unto an exceeding high mountain in order to display all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, followed by his arrogant assertion All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Jesus, once more, drew His response from the written Word of God, and sending this dumbfounded adversary away in no uncertain terms; Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. This, at least for the time being, was the coup de gras, and Satan quit the field. Yea, we are informed that he left, and angels came and ministered to our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are, in this portion of the narrative of the life and experiences of our Savior, undoubtedly, several lessons for the people of God. We are suggesting that, perhaps, the prime lesson is the huge importance for Christians to be-coming sound in the Word of God. Paul has told us that Christ has provided us with every necessary means to fight the warfare against the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life. But as Bunyan’s pilgrim learned of this sword of the Spirit, there is nothing like it. The psalmist points out very early in the psalms of the Word, or the Law, saying of the righteous that, His delight is in the law of Jehovah; and on his law doth he meditate day and night. In order to wield the Sword to good effect, the Christian soldier must know his weapon, practice with it, meditate upon it, and be thus prepared to stand against Apollyon or any of his minions in this world.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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