Summary: examines the second of Jesus’ responses to the temptaions of Satan
Testing God Matt. 4:7
INTRO.: this week and next I want to continue my treatment of the three responses of Jesus to the temptations of Satan. There are a few things interesting to know about the temptations of Jesus.
First, they were instigated by the Spirit of God. V. 1 That being the case, we know they were not intended to seduce Him into sin. That may have been the Devil’s design, but not God’s intent.
God’s intent was to strengthen Jesus and make Him aware of the help available to Him.
But, I think the main reason is to let us know He was tempted just like we are. After all, we would never know about these events if Jesus hadn’t revealed them. He was, remember, alone in the desert. The story was recorded for our benefit.
If we will surrender our will to Him and learn to use His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation, then God will use every temptation to strengthen us. God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son. Abraham was blessed when he passed the test. Job was also blessed when he passed the test. Certainly, Jesus was blessed when He passed the test.
In response to the second temptation, Jesus replies, "It is also written . . ." he quotes from Deut. 6:16 When I looked up that reference, I found He didn’t quote all the verse. It says, "Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah." this led me to wonder just what happened at Massah.
I. Let’s look at the story of what happened at Massah:
A. It’s recorded in Exod. 17.
1. Israel had refused to enter the Promised Land following the visit of the 12 spies.
2. Now they had begun their wanderings in the wilderness. They soon proved themselves to be a nation of whining complainers.
3. Now, they are complaining and quarreling and even wished they had stayed in Egypt.
B. These are the same people who had seen God perform great miracles in Egypt:
1. He had sent plagues and freed them from slavery
2. He split the Red Sea for them to cross and destroyed the pursuing Egyptians.
3. First they grumbled because they didn’t have water and He gave them water. Then they complained because they didn’t have bread and meat. He gave hem quail and manna.
4. Now the water again! They still haven’t learned to trust the Lord. After all they have seen, how can they ask, "Is the Lord with us or not?" v. 7
C. They were really testing God’s patience. God was angry with them for forty years. Ps. 85:10
1. They were questioning God’s Presence and care.
2. This is what Satan put before Jesus: "If you are the Son of God . . ." He even threw in a little Scripture to bolster his argument.
3. Have you ever doubted God’s Presence and love? Have you tested His patience? Have you complained because He didn’t give you what you wanted when you wanted it?
II. A N. T. story of a couple who tested God: Acts 5:9.
A. Ananias and Sapphira conspired to test the Holy Spirit. They were putting God to the test.
1. They sought recognition Barnabas had received for his sacrificial gift, but didn’t want to pay the price.
2. They were not lying to men, but to God.
3. The Church was in its infancy and the reputation of the Church as well as the credibility of the apostles was at stake.
4. Clearly, they were testing the Lord, Peter says so.
B. Let’s look at what they really did:
1. They were pushing their limits. "Let’s see how much we can get away with," they may have thought.
2. Ananias and his wife were expressing the same doubt as the Israelites: "Is there a God among us?"
C. Apply this to modern day:
1. How often do we Christians act as if God is just imaginary or impotent? We come to Church on Sunday but act much different Mon.-Sat.
2. Has it ever occurred to you to see how much God would let you get away with? A little lie? Gossip? Cheating on taxes?
3. We may not pay for testing God in this life, but we will pay.
III. Believe it or not, there is a place in the Bible where God invites His people to put Him to the test. Mal. 3:10
A. The situation in Israel was dismal:
1. About 100 years after returning from exile, they had become complacent.
2. Sacrifices were being neglected and cheapened.
3. They were intermarrying with the heathen women again. Divorce was common.
4. They weren’t supporting the temple and priesthood with their tithes. They were robbing God.