June 12 I Saturday
“[Jesus] ate nothing during those days, and at the end of [forty days] He was hungry. The devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’” —Luke 4:2-3
Temptation is negative, while testing in positive. The temptation of the devil was designed to weaken Jesus, but the testing of God was designed to strengthen Jesus. When we examine Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness from God’s perspective, we see that God was out to qualify and equip Jesus for ministry.
The first test Jesus encountered was His attitude towards His resources. The devil said to Jesus, “‘If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3). The context is that Jesus had not eaten for 40 days, He was hungry and almost at His limit. The devil offered Jesus a solution, “Turn these stones into bread.” The choice that Jesus had to make was either to trust that His Father, who led Him there by the Spirit, had not forgotten Him—knowing that God was able to provide Him with what He needed—or panic, and manipulate His circumstances to meet His own needs by turning the stone into bread. The temptation the devil offered to Jesus was driven by material needs.
One of the biggest realities we face every day is our material needs. Material things are necessary; we need food to eat, clothes to wear, cars to move around—all of these require money. Although there is nothing illegitimate about material possessions, we need to be careful if we make choices driven by money. When we become motivated by materialism, we are mastered by materialism.
As we come to know God, we learn that He does not always meet our needs in the way that we think He should. Paul tells us, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). But Paul also said, “I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:27). For Paul, there were days when he lacked food, clothing and sleep. He could have claimed, “But my God will supply my needs and my needs are three good meals everyday.” Yet, that was not the case.
God often takes us beyond our natural resources, to the point where we can either manipulate events as the devil tempted Jesus to do, or we can persevere in the situation with integrity and obedience to what we believe to be right, trusting God in the situation for His timing to bring about the resources—which may not happen until after the fortieth day. As we face material needs each day, may we stand firm upon God to act and not manipulate our circumstances.
Prayer: O God, thank You for being the One who is able to meet my needs according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus. Grow my faith to stand firm upon Your promises each day. Amen!