TO CHEW ON: "But Jesus answered him, saying, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alined, but by every word of God."'" Luke 4:4
Play a little word association game with me. What do the words "wilderness," "hungry," and "test" bring to mind?
- Jesus' temptation of course—our reading today.
- And the Israelites wandering through the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt?
Jesus here quotes Moses, where he explained to the Israelites the meaning behind their wilderness testings and what God was trying to accomplish through them, specifically the test of hunger. Jesus is referring to Deuteronomy 8:2-3.
Of course we know how the Israelites failed again and again. When they got hungry, they showed their lack of trust by complaining and becoming fearful and rebellious. In today's reading Jesus is experiencing the same temptation but He is overcoming it. What is the secret to His success?
My Bible's study notes give an explanation:
"Jesus' appeal to Scripture provides the clue for interpreting the Temptation narrative. Using the Word of God He is victorious over the same temptations to which Israel had succumbed in the wilderness..." - J. Lyle Story, notes on Matthew 4:4, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1294 (emphasis added).
We see the use of this weapon borne out twice more in our reading, when Jesus replies to Satan "'...For it is written...'" and "'It has been said...'" - Luke 4:8,12.
I believe capitulation to temptation can be engrained in our psyches. And so we say things like "My family has always had a problem with weight," or "Broken marriages run in our family," or "My grandmother and mother were grudge holders, and so am I"... etc. Here Jesus shows us how we can break out of the bondages of heredity, how we can change the ending to the story we've been telling ourselves about the way it has been and always will be. How? By resisting temptation with words from the Bible.
Which is why Scripture memorization is so important. For how will we be able to use this weapon against temptation if we don't have it in our arsenal?
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be more consistent with memorizing and reviewing Your word, and using it to resist temptation. Amen.
MORE: A verse to memorize
Joshua's advice to the Israelites at the beginning of his leadership is still relevant for us, and another good arrow for your quiver. You might want to memorize it, if you haven't already:
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" - Joshua 1:8 (NKJV).*********
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.