Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. No, He wasn’t lost, and He wasn’t sightseeing. He was brought there by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the Devil. Now the Devil was very clever, because he knew Jesus hadn’t had anything to eat during this time. The Devil made his pitch: If you are the Son of God, make these stones become bread. Pretty simple, very straight forwarded regarding what Jesus needed during this time of food deprivation.
All that Jesus had to do was to change the stones before him into bread. After all, Jesus was and is the Son of God. He is the One who made those stones; certainly, He could change then into a few loaves of bread. But Jesus knew the evil that he was dealing with; the ruthlessness that Devil would shower on God’s children if the Devil succeeded in this temptation.
And so, Jesus responded with, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. He was referencing Deuteronomy 8:3 when the Israelites were being reminded that their food, or manna, was being supplied by God himself. Men do not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. The Devil had two other temptations for Jesus, which Jesus also answered by quoting the Old Testament.
But why? Why would Jesus keep quoting Scripture? Because the Scriptures were not only the right answer for Him, but they are also the right answer for us. The Scriptures are what we need to defeat the evil desires of the forces of evil. They are powerful and are the words from “the mouth of God.”
IT IS REFRESHING
It is these words that the Psalmist spoke about in Psalm 119: Oh, how I love your law. I meditate on it all day long. (v. 97) He also said, Your commands make me wiser (v.98) and then he said, I have more insight than all my teachers (v.99). I believe you get the picture as to why the psalmist fell in love with God’s law. It is “sweet” to the taste. It’s like biting into a red delicious apple on a hot summer day. It is refreshing.
TASTE THE SWEETNESS
This law, these commands, or these precepts did for the psalmist what they can do for each of us today. Jesus made this point when he quoted the Old Testament and declared victory while standing in the presence of the evil one…the Devil. But believers today don’t always love the Word of God as they should. Many Christians today only pay lip service to the Word of God and never allow themselves to “taste” the sweetness that it offers.
HOW DO WE BEGIN?
So how do we do that? How do we offer scriptural answers to the many temptations that we face daily just like Jesus did? I believe it begins with a desire. A desire to want to get closer to God by knowing His heart, His mind, His plan for our lives. We fulfill that desire every day when we take time to read His word, and to study the deeper parts of the Bible. Some people say, “That’s for the preachers and Sunday School teachers.” Nonsense! Anybody can learn from the Bible. Remember what He taught us in Ephesians 4:11, It was He who gave some to be Apostles, some to be Prophets, some to be Evangelists, and some to be Pastors and teachers.
THE ULTIMATE TEACHER
God has given us help and above all, he gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
WHAT IS NEEDED: DESIRE
Immerse yourself in the Word of God and begin to love it and to “taste” it. The only thing it takes is desire. Do you have the desire? My editor has a sign hanging in her office which reads: “Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out”. Why not change that to: “Sometimes I open my mouth and the Words of God come out!”