A child riding in his mother’s shopping cart grabs a pack of gum when she’s busy paying the cashier. A young woman has maxed out her credit card, but decides to buy just "one more thing." In the quiet of his home, though he’s promised both himself and his wife he would stop, a middle-aged man powers on a computer holding images that will harm his relationships.
Tempted—driven by our feelings—we reach for that which we think will satisfy.
Between the Dead Sea and the inhabitable part of Judea was a dry, dusty wilderness. It’s name, Jeshimmon, means "devastation." Simmering with dry heat, its cliffs reached up to 1,200 feet. In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Scripture called The Message, he says Jesus was in this wilderness for "the Test," which the devil was ready to give. Peterson continues, "Jesus prepared for the test by fasting forty days and nights (Matt. 4:1–3). Though modern readers might easily imagine that the forty days of fasting was the test, Jesus was preparing His spirit for the actual exam!
"The Test" Satan delivers is the same kind we face. "Can you really trust in what your Father provides? You can turn this stone to bread!" "Do you really believe you’re God’s Son? Prove it!" "Why wait? Worship me and all this can be yours!" Though the desert is the geographical antithesis of the fullness of the Garden of Eden, the scene resonates with Eve’s temptation, when the serpent slyly suggests, "Are you sure God’s got your back? Reach for the fruit!"
Today, we stand between the desert and the first Garden, faced with the same temptations. May our voices join Jesus’ in saying, "Worship the Lord your God and serve him only" (v. 8).
Apply the Word
Most of us can recognize some ways we are tempted by the deceiver. Whether we’re tempted to reach for a pint of ice cream or to swallow a drink from a bottle, we—like Jesus—can trust in our Father’s faithfulness. Today, find one opportunity to join Jesus, saying to temptation, "No thanks, I’ll trust in what my Father provides."