“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” 1 Co. 10: 11-13.
He had gone without food for forty days. He had watched the sun rise forty times as His stomach growled and grumbled. No doubt He lay awake at night wondering how long He would be required to endure the desert. His name was Jesus who slipped into the flesh…who can relate to our challenges. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus knew up front that He would be there for forty days. We as the readers of the Word have this knowledge, but we have to assume, like our wildernesses, only God knew the duration of His wilderness stay. The days in the desert were getting harder and harder as His energy drained from His body. One hour must have seemed like a day and a day like eternity. Following His baptism He was carried off by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested. The test would not be until He was at His weakest, the time when He would no longer be able to operate in His own strength or power. There were three areas in which Satan tempted Jesus…lack, will and desire.
These are the same areas where we will be taken into the valley and tested by God. In our tests, God allows Satan to tempt us in these three areas. Satan will wait until we are emotionally famished and physically depleted. He will offer whatever our lack may be. ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ (Matthew 4:3) He also tempts us in our will as He bids us to jump when God has told us to stay. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down.’ (Matthew 4:6) Lastly, he tempts us in the desires of our hearts. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said… (Matthew 4:9) The one thing that Jesus’ responses had in common was that they were the direct words of God. He used these words as weapons ‘against the power and principalities of evil’ (Eph. 6:12).
Our chosen passage this morning is the answer to standing firm against all temptations from Satan. God in all times of testing has already provided the way out…His word…His final say on things. How can we take the escape hatch if we lack the knowledge of what God says in every situation? I love the manner in which my Bible Study author phrases this thought. ‘At times I’ve abused my body, nurtured thoughts that led me to dark places, withdrew when I should have pursued, and challenged when I should have submitted.’ Spirit Hunger, p. 35. Through knowing God’s word and applying it to our wilderness, we will be fitted with the armor of God to stand strong in our faith. This steadfast footing will keep us safe until our forty days are done.