Saturday, October 12, 2013

Battle in the Wilderness: How to Defeat Temptation (Luke 4:8)

Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'" (Luke 4:8 NASB)

Once again, Jesus countered temptation with Scripture, a lie with truth.  He was actually quoting from two passages in Deuteronomy. They are so rich that we will just look at Deuteronomy 6:13 today.

The first passage from which Jesus quoted begins with an explanation of the need to obey God's commands. Moses said that God had commanded him to teach the people the statues and judgments (rules and consequences) so that they would both fear God (respect with awe and reverence) and obey for their entire life, in order that:
1) they would have long life
2) they would be blessed and things would "go well"
3) they would "multiply greatly" (many children)
Those are pretty good reasons for obeying God, don't you think?

Moses went on to say that obedience begins by loving God. It's interesting that, even when faith seemed to be based on a stack of laws, God wanted a love relationship with His people. He still does. We are to love Him with every fiber of our being (heart, soul, and might).  With that kind of love, we are to teach our children and make faith such a way of life that it infuses every part of our day, every part of our being.

With that consuming love and all-encompassing obedience comes a lovely promise. God will surround us with blessings we did not procure for ourselves nor do we deserve them. In the midst of all the blessings, He will give us another precious gift -  contentment with what we have. (We will eat and be satisfied) How incredible!

Moses said there is a risk in this extravagant blessing. The danger is that we, in our contentment, can easily forget that every gift we enjoy comes from the hand of God. The way to prevent the danger is to keep our hearts diligently focused on God by fearing Him (reverence,awe), worshipping Him, serving Him. Our love for God should motivate us to worship and action.

Moses went on to say (Leanna paraphrase) that God is a jealous God, and He will not put up with a bunch of mess from us. He means what He says. We can have blessings galore, but we will only have them by doing things God's way.

Right there in the wilderness, the Scripture Jesus had learned as a boy came back to Him. Those words He had hidden in His heart helped keep Him from sin. (Psalm 119:11) What a great demonstration of truth Jesus gives with His answer to temptation!

Pray today that every word of Scripture our loved ones have learned will come back to them at just the right time to guard them from sin and point them to truth. Pray that we (and our loved ones) will live in such a way that we will choose love, choose obedience, choose blessing.