I just started reading Matthew’s Gospel and decided to take it slow and deliberate through the text. It is very easy for us to skim over the words because we think we know the story, but this is the Word of an infinite God and I am fully certain that no one could exhaust the text in their lifetime. I was in chapter 4 when something profound hit me. This is the recount of Jesus’s temptation in the desert. He was baptized and immediately the Holy Spirit led him into the desert to be tempted, you remember this story, right? Well, go back and read it slowly and deliberately. One of the most fascinating things I noticed this time around is in the second temptation.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6and 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.'”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Matthew 4.5-7.
If you have a good Bible, the reference section will tell you where the quotations come from. If you do not have such a Bible, I recommend you get one! The fascinating thing here is that the Devil knows Scripture. Think about that a moment, absorb it, search the ramifications of the enemy of God knowing the revealed Word that brings salvation to the lost through the message of the Crucified Lord. What is the Devil doing with Psalm 91.11-12 here? He is abusing the text to try and trick the Son of God! Ponder that one! If the Devil, in his hapless rage against God attempts to use Scripture to manipulate Jesus, who John tells us is the very Word of God, what do you think Satan will do with your life when it comes Scripture? Scary isn’t it? Here is another bit, if the Devil can so easily manipulate Scripture, what do you think sinful humans do to it? What has your pastor said concerning Scripture? Does he manipulate it to tell a story about his own life? Does he read two verses, then devote 30 minutes to a topic that does not relate, and to top it off, never come back to the text? Does he say that the miracles of Jesus, like the feeding of the five thousand, was not a miracle? Or how about Jesus walking on water? Does your pastor manipulate Scripture to say something other than what it says? Read what Paul writes to Timothy.
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4.16
Here, Paul is writing to Timothy about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins. Does your pastor say something else? I am not equating pastors with Satan, I am merely showing two things. 1) Read your Bible slowly and deliberately, and 2) Know your doctrine. Listen to your Bible and if someone says something contrary to the Word of God, you must decide who you follow. The Savior of your soul, or a sinner.
Free Nugget of Info: Jesus is wandering the desert during his temptation for forty days. Israel wandered the desert for forty years. Each one of Jesus’s responses to Satan during his temptation come from the book of Exodus during the time of Israel’s wandering. Who says the Bible is bifurcated?