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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Responding to Satan's Wiles
Date Posted: May 8, 2016

In the Bible study I hold in my home (open to anyone who would like to come!), we walked through the book of Matthew. It was as if we were singing that song, Today I Walked Where Jesus Walked. Chapter 4 is particularly interesting, so here are some of my thoughts, some stuff from Matthew Henry, and a point to ponder.

While Jesus was fasting the 40 days and nights, He was not hungry… He was filled with sustaining spiritual food. We do not know if He had water, but He was in the desert. We do know that the human body can only survive without any water for 3 days or 72 hours; it can live for 3 weeks without food. That is only 21 days. Jesus survived for 40 days. That tells us that He was supernaturally sustained as He prepared for His temptation. Only after the 40 days does Jesus become aware of His hunger.

It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition, to exploit our environment, and to sew seeds of discontent through our quandary.

Want and poverty are a great temptation to discontent and unbelief. Using unlawful means for our relief from any plight (as in Jesus' case, hunger), under a pretense that necessity has no law is no excuse for doing something dishonest and illegal. The law of God ought to be stronger to believers than any condition we find ourselves. Yes, I know, what must it be like when your baby is squalling because of hunger. This is the crossroads of the point.

1) Christ was declared to be the Son of God when He emerged from the Jordan River after being baptized. Here, after 40 days without food, the Devil tempts him to doubt His Sonship; If thou be the Son of God... If God were your Father, he would not see you starve, for all the beasts of the forest are His.

The first thing Satan tries to do to believers is to cut off their fellowship with God. He tries to drive a distrusting spirit into the heart. Outward afflictions, wants and burdens, are the great arguments Satan uses to make people of God question their relationship with Him, and question their standing as His child. The Devil aims to shake our faith in God, and bring us to question the truth. When believers think the only way to feed their baby is to steal food, then the devil has won. Their faith has withered. God has never failed a believer! Miracles happened because of people's faith! But Satan won't rest until he can whittle our faith into a splinter.

Satan is not as subtle with us as he was with Jesus.

The Devil carries on his designs very much by possessing people with hard thoughts of God, as if he were unkind, or unfaithful, and had forsaken or forgotten those who had ventured their all with him. He planted in Adam and Eve the seeds of a notion that God forbade them the tree of knowledge because he grudged them the benefit of it; and so here he insinuates to our Savior, that his Father had cast him off, and left him to shift for himself. - Matthew Henry

Then Satan tries to make Jesus prove He is the Son of God by using the power of God to turn stones into bread. He does not say, “Pray to the Father that He turn the stones into bread,” but urges Jesus to command the stones.

It is so subtle.

He tries to get Jesus to turn from dependence upon the Father and to strike out under His own power. Doing that would question the truth of the Father, distrust the Father’s love, providence, and care, set Himself up as a separate power, and gratify Satan by doing his bidding.

It is written in Deuteronomy 8:3…man does not live by bread alone . The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. Jesus answers from the book of Deuteronomy, which is the moral law and the marriage covenant. Christ did not need to turn stones into bread because He trusted God to keep him alive some other way as soon as hunger enveloped Him. This took extreme self-control, but not nearly as much self-control that it took to stay on that painful cross.

Remember how the angel told Satan, "The Lord rebuke you!" God's word is powerful. So powerful it defeats Satan before he can begin if we stay fueled up and plugged in to that power. Roy Stedman once said that we may be pots of clay, but let’s never forget the explosive power that is inside the pot.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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