Morning Devotional, WedneSDAY, 12 June 2024

Morning Devotional, WedneSDAY, 12 June 2024

Day 3: The Tempter’s Second Challenge

Text: Matthew 4:5-7

Devotional: “Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”‘ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”‘”

In this second temptation, the devil brings Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, a place of significant religious and cultural importance. Here, he challenges Jesus to throw Himself down, using Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) to suggest that God’s angels would protect Him. The devil’s tactic is subtle: he quotes God’s Word to justify a reckless action, trying to manipulate Jesus into testing God’s faithfulness and protection.

Jesus’ response is both profound and instructive: “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, Jesus references Israel’s failure at Massah, where they tested God by demanding water and questioning His presence among them (Exodus 17:1-7). By refusing to jump, Jesus demonstrates a trust in God that does not require dramatic proofs or signs. His faith is steadfast and does not need to be verified through reckless actions.

This temptation addresses a common struggle: the desire to test God’s promises in ways that go beyond faithful trust. Often, in moments of doubt or impatience, we might seek signs or dramatic interventions from God to reassure us of His presence and care. Yet, true faith does not manipulate God’s Word for our purposes. It trusts in His promises without demanding spectacular displays.

Jesus models a faith that is deeply rooted in the character of God. He knows that God is faithful and does not need to prove it by forcing a situation. This challenges us to examine our own faith. Do we trust God implicitly, or do we demand signs and wonders to sustain our belief? Are we content with His promises as they are, or do we seek to manipulate circumstances to force God’s hand?

Jesus’ response also underscores the importance of understanding Scripture in its proper context. The devil’s misuse of Psalm 91 highlights the danger of isolating verses from their broader biblical context to justify our desires. Jesus’ rebuttal shows that Scripture interprets Scripture, and true understanding comes from considering the full counsel of God’s Word.

As we reflect on this passage, let us strive for a faith that trusts in God’s promises without testing Him. Let us be diligent in our study of Scripture, seeking to understand and apply it faithfully, not for our purposes but for God’s glory.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Are there areas in your life where you are tempted to test God’s faithfulness or seek dramatic signs?
  2. How can you develop a deeper, more trusting faith that relies on God’s promises without needing constant reassurance?
  3. What steps can you take to ensure you are understanding and applying Scripture correctly, in its proper context?

Prayer: Gracious God, forgive us for the times we have tested You or demanded signs of Your faithfulness. Help us to trust in Your promises and rest in Your character. Give us discernment to understand Your Word rightly and to apply it faithfully in our lives. Strengthen our faith, that we may walk in obedience and trust without wavering. Amen.

Application: Take time today to meditate on God’s faithfulness throughout your life and in Scripture. Reflect on how He has been trustworthy in both small and significant ways. Seek to deepen your understanding of Scripture by studying it in its context, perhaps with the help of a study Bible or commentary. Consider sharing with a friend or small group how God has proven faithful in your life, encouraging one another to trust in His promises without seeking dramatic signs.