Wilderness Day 5 Purposed Desolation: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why was it necessary for Jesus to enter the wilderness for 40 days? (verse 1)

2) How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptations? (verses 4, 7, and 10)

3) Did Satan truly possess the authority to give Jesus the “kingdoms of the world”? (verse 8)

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:

He will give his angels orders concerning you,
and they will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike
your foot against a stone.”

7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan!
For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.

Original Intent

1) Why was it necessary for Jesus to enter the wilderness for 40 days? (verse 1)
The Gospel of Mark records, “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.” (Mark 1:12-13, emphasis mine) Other versions say the Spirit compelled Him. This almost seems to imply He was forced to go. Neither do any of the accounts say that He went to pray. Are we wrong to assume that He went to pray? The Preacher’s Complete Homiletics Commentary observes, “The human soul of Jesus, which shrank (back) from the cup in Gethsemane, would naturally shrink also from close contact with the prince of evil. But, abhorrent as such an encounter was to His pure and holy nature, it could not be avoided. Nay, it must needs be the first act of His official life.” The Second Adam must triumph where the first Adam fell. (1 Corinthians 15:47-49) Through the first Adam, sin entered the world (Genesis 3), through the Second Adam (Jesus), righteousness entered the world. Death came through the first Adam, the second Adam became the Life Giver. (Romans 5:17-21) Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness would show His disciples and all people that there IS hope. It IS possible to resist Satan through the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of heavenly angels ministering to us. (Psalm 34:7, Hebrews 1:14)

2) How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptations? (verses 4, 7, and 10)
Each time Jesus responded to Satan’s attacks with Scripture; each response originated from the instructions given to Moses in Deuteronomy, which would have been the most common biblical foundation for Jews at the time. Satan tempted with food, but Jesus responded, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Deuteronomy 8:3) It’s interesting to note that Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35), was tempted with bread. Satan often attacks our identity. Then Satan taunted, “Throw yourself down,” but Jesus responded with Scripture, “Don’t put the Lord to the test.” (Deuteronomy 6:16) Satan implied, “Ah, you trust God, do you? Let’s take it to another level.” Satan attempted to lure Jesus to display His power, but for what purpose? The power of God is not for arrogant demonstrations of His greatness. Christ’s power was for a God-glorifying purpose, which was reserved for the cross at His death, resurrection, and Satan’s total defeat. Lastly, Satan offered Him all the Kingdoms of the World, but Jesus’ purpose wasn’t to rule the nations as an earthly king. His plan was much bigger and far-reaching. Once again, Jesus responded with Scripture from the Torah, “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” His quote came directly from what every good Jew recited daily, the Shema prayer. (Deuteronomy 6:13)

3) Did Satan truly possess the authority to give Jesus the “kingdoms of the world”? (verse 8)
I often thought this temptation strange. Didn’t the kingdoms of the world already belong to Jesus? He created them. And one day He will rule over them again at the seventh trump. (Revelation 11:15) Ah, but there’s the key, “one day… rule again.” If we look at Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptation, the devil said to Him, “I will give You their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want”. (Luke 4:5-7) This is confirmed by the apostle John in 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” God has given Satan permission to rule the world, temporarily. (Piper, Desiring God) When was this authority given over to Satan? In the Garden of Eden, God gave dominion over the earth to Adam. (Genesis 1:26) When Adam and Eve sinned, Adam gave that authority over to Satan because he deferred to obeying Satan rather than God. Praise God, Satan’s authority only goes so far! Note the story of Job (Job 1) and the scene of Heaven where Satan came to talk with God. God gave permission to Satan to test Job but not kill him. (Job 1:12) Satan has authority over the kingdoms of man but only under the permission of God. Even this is only permissible for a certain length of time. One day, Christ will return to earth, capture Satan, and rule the earth!

Everyday Application

1) Why was it necessary for Jesus to enter the wilderness for 40 days? (verse 1)
Temptation is never greater than when one makes a public declaration of faith. It has been so throughout biblical history. For example, Elijah won a great victory, then fell into depression. (1 Kings 18:20-19:18) Temptation happened to Jesus following His public baptism, and it can happen to us. Sometimes, the wise approach is to retreat after a spiritual victory as the battle can leave us wearied and weak. We retreat to be renewed by the Lord. A retreat, however, differs from an unchosen wilderness. I recently discovered that if Paul had never been in prison (his unchosen wilderness), he wouldn’t have had time to write letters to the churches. He would have preferred to be out preaching, instead through merit of his wilderness, he had time to write of the deep things He was learning like, “Be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the day of evil, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13) From Machiavelli, to Churchill, to conventional wisdom, “never waste a good crisis.” Look for how the Lord is teaching and strengthening you as He faithfully leads through the wilderness. Listen for God’s direction! Years ago when I was driven into a wilderness, I preferred teaching children, but now I’m writing Bible studies, publishing devotions, and encouraging everywhere! On entering the wilderness, we cannot know how the Lord will mature and change us!

2) How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptations? (verses 4, 7, and 10)
D.A. Carson commented, “Our Lord had to contend with the same invisible adversary whom we must encounter, but He had to meet him just as we have to meet him-not as God, but as man. The man Christ Jesus was tempted, and in His human nature He triumphed.” Did you notice that Jesus responded to every attack with Scripture? Satan couldn’t battle the Word of God centuries ago, and he still can’t. God’s Word is the very best way to resist temptation and disarm Satan’s fiery darts. (Ephesians 6:16-17) Therefore, I strongly encourage Scripture memory when I teach and mentor others as well as for my own personal discipline training. The Bible is our Sword to fight the enemy. If we meditate on it and memorize its truths, the Spirit of God will bring it to mind when we need it during battle. King David said, “I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) Scripture memory isn’t just for kids. We, adults, need to practice it too. Are you treasuring His Word in your heart today? It could be your lifeline for an upcoming battle!

3) Did Satan truly possess the authority to give Jesus the “kingdoms of the world”? (verse 8)
Jesus’ resurrection defeated sin and death for eternity. When Jesus died and rose again, “all authority was given back to Him” and He gave that authority to us to accomplish His work on earth! (Matthew 28:18-19) Satan now has no authority over believers in Christ, for Christ accomplished our victory through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead. He has overcome the world! (John 16:33) Therefore, we have overcome the world! (1 John 5:4) His Spirit provides a way out from temptation so we can bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Christ has definitively won, but Satan still rules the kingdom of men upon earth and we live in a fallen world of sin. Paul indicates Satan is the “god of this age”. (1 Corinthians 4:4) Jesus told His disciples we would still have trouble on earth but to be encouraged for He has overcome! (John 16:33) In the end, Christ will return to earth and defeat Satan and his demons. Finally, He will set up HIS Kingdom and rule the whole earth. (Revelation 21) (Bible Study Tools) Until then, let’s follow the Great Commission and tell the world that Satan has been defeated. We win when we trust our souls to the Final Victor, Christ!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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