For June 22, 2019
Matthew Chapter Four tells how after John the Baptist baptized him, our Lord Jesus Christ went into the wilderness and fasted forty days. There the Enemy met him with a challenge to transform rocks into bread to satisfy His ravenous hunger. The Enemy also challenged the Lord by showing Him “all the glory” of the kingdoms of the world, and offering them; with the provision He bows down and worships him. Succumbing in both instances would have meant a renouncing of His divine calling as our Redeemer to fulfill a selfish want, need, or desire.
Parenthetically, it is unfortunate how so many people choose to worship the “god of this world” even today as men and women, both young and old, “sell their souls” to obtain wealth, fame, and/or power.1 Although, the Lord—the Creator and Possessor of all world has to offer—was challenged to follow a similar path, He resisted the temptation to do so. We are forever grateful He prioritized our redemption over His self-gratification. Hallelujah!
Undaunted, the Enemy tried another strategy by misquoting a section of a Bible passage depicting the Lord’s watchful care over His children using unforgettably stunning imagery:
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91 (NLT)
In His reply, the Lord cited Deuteronomy 6:16 to remind the Enemy that God is never to be tempted (by the misuse of Scripture).2
Our God is to be loved and obeyed because we are always in His care; even to the extent that He maintains a full inventory of each follicle of hair on our heads3, we are assured of His bountiful mercy and faithfulness forever.
This does not mean that we have carte blanche and get everything we want. But, it does mean He always has a better perspective and will do what is best in every situation. His is a better view because His thoughts are infinite, transcendent and flawless. His perspective is loving and omniscient. With goodness and mercy, He acts in our best interest. The Lord gives “good gifts” to those who ask in harmony with His will, which is best for all concerned.
In Matthew 7:11, Jesus teaches how parents instinctively give good gifts to their children, and yet our Heavenly Father surpasses our capacity to give. He provides us with the things that accomplish His perfect will when we ask with a sincere, humble, reverent, selfless, confident, and Christ-honoring disposition. When we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, we can find true peace, comfort, joy, along with the satisfaction that He will meet our needs as well.4
God has always desired to have a loving, eternal relationship with us. Through Adam, we lost that relationship, but Jesus Christ has restored it by His death and resurrection. Through faith in Him, we can experience His love, forgiveness, and restoration. Now as a result, His Holy Spirit comes to live inside us to watch over and provide for us while the Lord dispatches His angels to guard us from all danger as well.
We are certain to experience some form of adversity in this life. And as did the three Hebrew Boys presented in Daniel 3, we too may find ourselves in a “fiery furnace.” During those perilous moments, we may experience strong feelings of doubt and fear, which may cause us to doubt the Lord’s presence and/or His faithfulness towards us.
Nevertheless, He has not abandoned us. He remains with us; faithfully providing the extraordinary “measure of grace” allowing us to “count it all joy,” knowing our final reward is not on earth—it is in Heaven! In other words, hardships are not indicators of the Lord’s desertion, nor do they negate His abundant love, grace, and mercy. As Romans 8 tells us, nothing can separate us from His love,5 and He causes “all things” to work together for our good.6 Amen!
Our human suffering is a reminder of the presence of sin in our world, which contrasts the magnificent splendor of His glorious Kingdom. There, all memory of toil and suffering will be obliterated by our first glimpse of the Lord in His majestic splendor.
Because He has promised to be with us—through adversity as well as through success—unto the end in Matthew 28:20, we can be sure our Lord, Savior, Creator, and Sustainer shall keep us safe and keep His promises.
What a wonderful Savior!
- History yet recounts the tragic stories of misguided, yet often well-meaning individuals whose intent may have been to advance the common good. Instead, they became destructive tools for the Enemy to devastate personal lives, families, churches, communities, and/or nations.
- Matthew 4:7.
- Please see: Matthew 10:30 and Luke 12:7.
- See: Matthew 6:33.
- Romans 8:35-39.
- Romans 8:28.