Hard times come and go, don’t they? When they come they hit hard and fast and our first thoughts are not always of the enemy and how he gets in to wreak havoc with our souls. No, we don’t always think of his sly techniques and his outright lies whispered into our hearts! We don’t often see clearly just what’s happening above our heads in the unseen world around us. I find it so intriguing in Matthew 4: 4, that Jesus, after he had been baptized by John and stamped with God’s approval, through His Spirit descending like a dove to light on His shoulder, was then led by this same Spirit of God into the wilderness to be trained for spiritual duty. How was He trained? Yeah, through fasting and prayer but also through rigorous demands of the Devil, the Father of lies, the enemy himself. This perfect, spotless, sinless One, confirmed by God to be His beloved Son, was taken to the cleaners after he was taken to the wilderness, to be weakened with hunger! Today, our old enemy was our Lord’s enemy as well for those forty days and nights as he tempted Christ to show His credentials and turn stones to bread to satisfy His hunger. Jesus answered him well, in verse 4,
“Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
So devil, that didn’t go so well, did it? Second round then and a visit to the Holy City, to stand on the highest point of the temple and then, the sly guy that he is, our enemy quoted scripture from Psalm 91:11, in verse 6, as he blatantly tempted Jesus to throw Himself 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.”
Ahh, but Jesus also had an answer, “It is also written:
“Do not put the Lord Your God to the test.”
Yet, a third temptation was put forth from a very high mountain with an offer of all the splendour of the Kingdoms of the world and again Jesus answered, this time with a rebuke,
“Away from me Satan! for it is written, Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”
So when we’re on a rough road and the way daunting and we find ourselves at our weakest point, weary and worn from the boot camps of life’s training and when selfish passions make their play for us, remember who the enemy really is. Remember he was brash enough to quote scripture to Jesus in His wilderness and in His weakness, to get his way and ultimately take Our Lord down.
He does the same to those that God has called forth and given His stamp of approval. The enemy prowls around seeking whom he may devour but, At Christ’s word to leave, the devil left and angels came and ministered unto Jesus. God’s Spirit leads us into some troublesome times to prepare us for troublesome times, and we can know if He’s taken us to it, He’ll take us through it and what a glorious moment when He sends His angels to minister! It’s a glorious time when God’s angels care so much for our weakened, beautiful souls, to lift us up!