Series: The Crucible
Message: The Crucible
Preacher: Tommy Eickmann
Daily Walk: Tommy Eickmann
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 109:1-5.
Read: Matthew 4:1–11 (ESV). Re-read in the English Standard Version for new insights or questions.
Reflect: The last temptation Jesus faces while in the wilderness can be seen as idolatry. The Bible clearly states, in Exodus 20:4, that we are to have “no other gods before the Lord our God.” Israel was very bad at remembering this commandment. Douglas Hare notes that
The concern between the third temptation and idolatry was probably clearer to Matthew's first readers than it is to us. First, the gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon were regarded by Jews as demons (1 Corinthians 10:14–22) and hence as Satan's minions. Second, idolatry was a genuine temptation for many Jews who wished to participate fully in the politics and economics of the Greco-Roman establishment. It is unlikely that any of Matthew’s readers believed that Jesus had been so tempted. They were well aware, however, of the compromises that public office seems to require of even the best-intentioned. (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, p. 25)
Yet again, we see Jesus refuse to betray His Father. He would not bow to Satan or even settle for what Hare calls a “pinch of idolatry” (p. 25), but instead held His ground and remained faithful to the Lord.
Recalibrate: What kind of king would Jesus have become? A common saying that is much-debated is “The end justifies the means.” Would Jesus have sacrificed the means for good ends? Would you be willing to sacrifice the means for good ends?
Respond: Pray for patience and guidance.
Research: What are the various definitions of “temptation”?