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Matthew 4:3

The Trap

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.


"In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the "sundew." It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew. Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance on it. Although its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly. The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky and will imprison any bug that touches it. As an insect struggles to free itself, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around it. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim. (Our Daily Bread, December 11, 1992.)

All temptation is like the sundew plant. It looks so attractive and it gives us the idea that we will enjoy ourselves and be perfectly happy and content, if we indulge ourselves. Then, we find ourselves stuck to it. Slowly we struggle to quit, but it seems that each of our efforts trap us more securely. Ask a smoker, alcoholic, or drug addict if this isn't true. Finally, the temptation will consume us like bugs on the sundew plant.

The tempter came to Jesus after forty days and nights of fasting, when He was hungry. This is not to say that Jesus was not tempted during His fast, for He certainly was. He was constantly tempted, as we all are, but He was with God the Father, and these temptations were easily brushed aside. It is only when He is no longer actively in fellowship with God that Satan is able to get His attention.

The Tempter is an appropriate name for the devil, because he works full time trying to entice us to fulfill the desires of our bodies. He lays out his sinful schemes like the sundew spreading her flowers. After catching his prey, he goes right to the Father with his accusations. How he loves to accuse us saints for sinning! For that reason he is also called Satan, the accuser.

In this particular instance he misjudged Jesus, because although He was very hungry, He was not weakened. Instead, He was full of the power of the Holy Spirit.

"If thou be the Son of God..." was not spoken to question or to cast doubt on Jesus' relationship with the Father, but to call His attention to the power and authority that He had and to encourage Him to misuse it.

Satan understood hunger to be a weakness and he wanted to use it to tempt Jesus to misuse His strength. "...command that these stones be made bread. Use your authority and power to indulge yourself! You've given forty days and nights to God. Surely you deserve a break today. Change these stones and eat."

Which of your weaknesses is the Tempter trying to use against you? He says, "If you really cannot lose your salvation, do whatever pleases you. If God will really forgive you, what have you got to lose?" He sets the trap thinking that you will step into it, because you are weak and, if you have not been in fellowship with God, you just might take the bait.

It was the forty day fellowship with His Father that made Jesus strong and able to resist. You too can draw upon God's power to live a holy life and prove yourself to be acceptable to Him. Spend more time with your Father.

Before The Throne:

Ask God if you are using the talents and resources that He gave you in the manner that He intended. Pray that you will not be tempted to take the easy way out. Jesus could have quickly and easily satisfied His overwhelming hunger, but God's way usually doesn't look like the easiest or safest way. Pray for the wisdom and strength to resist the Tempter's trap.

For Further Study:

(v.3)
** the tempter. Job 1:9-12; Job 2:4-7; Luke 22:31-32; 1Thess 3:5; Rev 2:10; Rev 12:9-11; ** if. Matt 3:17; Luke 4:3, 9; ** command. Gen 3:1-5; Gen 25:29-34; Exod 16:3; Num 11:4-6; Ps 78:17-20; Heb 12:16;

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