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Testing…1-2-3 The Second Temptation

Would you find it surprising that Satan knows scripture?

In the second temptation of Christ, the devil whisked Jesus to the highest point of ancient Jerusalem, the pinnacle of the temple. There, perhaps snaking an arm around the soiled robe of his adversary, Satan whispered, “So you are the Son of God, hm? Then throw yourself off the temple, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”

Satan is tempting Jesus to put his Father “to the test.” He does this by quoting part of Psalm 91, which describes the protection given to a God-trusting man. How could the Son of God possibly argue with the Bible?

Testing God can come in various forms. Usually we present a trade-off: “Lord, if you will remove this cancer, I will serve you for the rest of my life.” “God, if you really love me, then make my life easier.” “If I tithe to my church, then I expect blessings in return.”

Demanding that God prove Himself shows a lack of genuine faith. God does not need our promises, but we surely need His. God has promised new life to anyone who receives Christ (2 Cor 5:17). He promises that all things are working toward the good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). And He promises to complete the good work that He started in those who believe (Phil 1:6). These promises do not need to be tested. They are sufficient in themselves because the Lord Himself has made them.

Don’t get sucked into making God prove Himself. Look up – He proves Himself through the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1-3). Look around, “for since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen” (Rom 1:20).  Look inside — in Him, you know in your heart of hearts that you “live, and move, and have your being” (Acts 17:28).

The Christian life is based on trusting God, not testing Him. Jesus knew this. When Satan tempted Him with an out-of-context scripture, He shot back with a more relevant verse: “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Deut 6:16).

Let us learn from Jesus. He did not test God, but He did trust Him. In trusting God, we, too, will prove Him right in all the promises He has given us.

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