#10 What the Gospels Teach - Putting to the Test - Matthew 4:5-7

Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'" Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" (Matthew 4:5-7 NASB)

It seems that every time I sit to write about this passage I get interrupted by something, so this morning I read the passage and its context yet again and I noticed something that I had never noticed before. I never really took into account the importance of where Satan wanted this jump to take place. First let’s notice that Satan brought Jesus back out of the wilderness and into the holy city, and even to the top of the temple nonetheless. Note that this is a public place that swarmed with people, and Satan is telling Him to throw Himself off of the top of the temple. Of all the three temptations this one always seemed to me to be the easiest to resist, but when you take into account the location this little temptation of Satan becomes far more enticing. Jesus could throw Himself off of the temple and have angels show up in all their glory and save Him from being killed, and it all would have been public! Do you see the temptation? He could have received honor from the masses in the center of the holy city in the primary local of the worship of God.

Of course Jesus does resist the temptation, and speaks clearly that you are not to put the Lord your God to the test. This is another passage that is difficult, because in a sense every time you act in faith you are ‘putting the Lord to the test’ at least in some sense. If God calls you into the mission field, in some sense you have to test Him at His word and trust Him for provision. If God calls you to anything, even to marriage, or to just walk down the street to give someone a drink, in all instances you have to trust Him and put Him to the test believing His word to be valid. Now Satan properly quotes scripture concerning Christ, so why should Christ not put the Father to the test? We are to be ‘testing’ Him by believing the scriptures and acting in accordance to them believing God will supply and work according to His word. There is one reason Christ should not put the Father to the test here, and it is the same scenario in which you should not put the Father to the test either. If Christ were to throw Himself off of the temple it would only give Him great honor, and not the Father. Do not put God to the test, presuming you will receive some great benefit, to your own glory.

You see so many preachers, teachers, and leaders calling on congregations and people to pray Jabez prayers, get your best life now, name it and claim it, health wealth and prosperity, and so on... but they should not be putting God to the test! Why? Because it is self focused! The purpose of life is the glory of God, and we can faithfully put God to the test to glorify Himself in us. However for us to walk into the temple and presume upon the grace of God in order to get ourselves glory, well that is the great temptation of the master tempter, and it is the very temptation that is spoken of in the above scriptures.

If you are putting God to the test, in order to get some benefit, then your sin is presumption and you have fallen for the tempters scheme, the very scheme Christ resisted here in Matthew 4:5-7. If you are tithing so that God will bless you for your own sake, you are falling into temptation, and you may very well be blessed because His word says you will, but you are still in sin and will receive no eternal benefit for your tithe. Just like Christ surely would have been swooped up by angels according to God’s word, nonetheless it would have been sin. It is time to stop being pragmatic, because God blesses a man and enlarges his territory because of a Jabez prayer still does not mean that the man is in the will of God, or even pleasing Him. Name it and claim it may indeed produce blessing according to the word of God, but it is temporal blessing because it is only focused on temporal needs. Do not put your God to the test, and when reading this passage always remember where this is happening, and what the real temptation was.

Not sure if that made sense, but I am going to post it and move on.

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