The Tale of two temptations


“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:1-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:1-6, 23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬,23-24.niv

Now the serpent was more crafty…

I’ll say!

Jesus was starving.  He hadn’t eaten in 40 days; forty days of testing and preparation.  He was in a wilderness.  The terrain was uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable.  The landscape was against Him.  This area was neglected and abandoned.  It was a place of great danger.  The very Holy Spirit of God had led Him to this place of temptation and chaos.  Though He found Himself in this hostile terrain, He used it and drew strength from it.  The wilderness experienced infused Him and nourished Him because in this place of solitude He feasted on revelation from His Father.  Instead of turning from the wilderness and crying bitterly, He relished in it’s solitude and in the hardest of moments He turned to His Father allowing God to fill whatever He needed.  If He cried of thirst, He drank from God’s living water.  If His belly ached from hunger, He feasted on bread from heaven.  In the wilderness, Jesus saturated himself with the Word of God.  In the wilderness, He got prepared for the tempter; for it wasn’t if Satan would come, it was when Satan would come.  Jesus sensed the Vile Ones’s presence.  Jesus knew his ways.  Jesus knew he slithered in the dark crevices of the dead bushes.  Jesus had fought the attacks of the enemy since before creation.  He was the One who had cast Lucifer out of heaven.  Jesus had been there as the crafty one had slithered up to the woman.  Now, when he could smell his putrid form approaching him in this inhospitable terrain, Jesus pulled out His weapon; it is the only weapon that would defeat the tempter; THE VERY WORD OF GOD.  “IT IS WRITTEN!” Jesus quoted words His Father had once written on stone.  Jesus quoted His Father’s Words which were once given in a wilderness very much like this one.  His weapon were words received in desperate times.

The woman loved the garden.  She wanted for nothing.  She needed nothing.  The garden supplied her every need.  The Creator made sure of that before He put her in the garden.  The Creator took care of her.  The garden was cultivated.  The LORD GOD had taught them how to take care of it.  The Garden of Eden was plush and vibrant green dotted with every color of food imaginable.  Antioxidant rich food abounded through out.  Eve reached down to pluck a strawberry off the vine.  She walked up to the orange tree and smelled the deep scent of citrus perforating the atmosphere.  There were no dead bushes in this area.  She ate her fill and when she became hungry again she just reached up and grabbed more fruit.  When she thirsted, she cupped her hand and drank deeply from the flowing rivers that cascaded through the garden.  She had everything.  She had the Presence of the Living God.  He came and walked with them in the cool of the evening; all she had to do was call out to Him and He was by her side.  This garden was the place of her innocence until the serpent slithered up.  He was crafty.  He took advantage of her.  He came when she was vulnerable.  She was alone.  She hadn’t been on her walk with the Lord.  Her shield was down so he attacked.  “Did God really say…”  She didn’t immediately rebuke him; instead she entertained his words.  She allowed his words into her thoughts.  She never pulled out The Word of God.  She never quoted all the Creator had taught her on their walks.  She didn’t take command of the situation.  She who had everything tangible at her disposal didn’t pull out her greatest weapon.  Jesus who had nothing tangible at his disposal used his greatest arsenal, “The Word of God.”

Both were tempted, “Did God really say?” and “It is written…”  One was in the land of plenty, the other in a desolate wasteland.  One was His creation; the other was THE SON OF GOD!

Jesus came to show us the way.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  Jesus showed us how to defeat the tempter.  He gave us our greatest arsenal.  He gave himself for He is the VERY WORD OF GOD.  Eve succumbed to the serpent because she allowed him to get into her thoughts.  She didn’t shield her mind with the Word of God.  Jesus commanded with authority, “Away from me Satan for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'”  Then, the snake slithered away from Jesus.

After Jesus defeated the tempter, angels came and attended Him.  After the tempter defeated Eve, an angel guarded against her return to the garden.

A tale of two temptations.  Which outcome would you prefer?