Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

Have you ever noticed that when you are diligently seeking God that things just seem to go better in your life? How when you read the Word and meditate on it that you are reminded more often of His Word? For instance when I am most hungry for the Word it seems that on more occasions than not I will hear that same message during the day, I will have an opportunity to learn from that Word that day, and I will more than likely have an opportunity to share it with someone else that same day. Things may seem coincidental, but they’re not. God is speaking to you through His Word and desires good things for those who will listen and follow Him.

When Jesus was in the midst of spending His forty days and forty nights in fasting and prayer in the wilderness He was tempted by Satan himself. I don’t know if I have ever been tempted by Satan himself, but I know that I have had his demons on me more than my fair share of times and they are sneaky and deceptive and they are relentless so I can’t even begin to imagine the temptation that Jesus was going through when He was faced with Satan himself. Matthew 4:1-12 says this,

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Satan and his demons are crafty and they will hit us where we are the weakest. The very first temptation that the Devil sent Jesus’ way was of the flesh. Jesus was hungry and anyone who has ever fasted knows, as we are instructed to do, eating food is a deep craving when you have not eaten for a period of time. The Bible tells us that Satan waited until Jesus has spent forty days and nights in the wilderness and that Jesus was hungry because he wanted Jesus to be more susceptible to his deception. So when Satan swooped in to begin tempting Jesus he did so by hitting Him where He was the weakest at the moment. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

At first glance this is a simple request and something that Jesus could have very easily done and likely desired to do since He was hungry, but what was Satan really asking of Jesus? Was He just asking Him to do a miracle and turn stones into bread? This was something that Jesus could have very easily done. Turning the stones into bread would not have been a sin, so what was the sin that Satan was tempting Him with?

With each and every temptation Satan was trying to get Jesus to turn away from God and to follow him. Satan is smart and he was smart in his tempting of Jesus. You see Satan knows the Word because he was once one of the mightiest angels in Heaven until he turned against God and sought to have people worship him. Satan will use anything to try to deceive us and to get us to follow him, even the very Word of God. But he does not have plans to give us a good life; he only has plans to give us the illusion that we will have a good life by following what he has said.

Psalm 32:8-11, (New Living Translation)

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

When we follow God there is nothing else in all of creation that will lead us down a better path for our life. God has the best pathway for our lives and He will guide us down that pathway accordingly, but we need to follow Him willingly and we need to be aware of who we are following. He will not force us to follow Him, but He will advise us if we seek Him and He will watch over us. It is when we turn away from Him that we get into trouble.

Satan went on to tempt Jesus two more times by urging Him to jump off of a cliff in order to test God in protecting Him and then finally Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and told Jesus that all He had to do was to bow down and worship him. Every temptation that Satan sent Jesus’ way was something that the Father already promised Jesus and we have the same promise.

God promises to care for us and to provide us with all that we need from His glorious riches (Phil. 4:19) just as He provided for the Israelite’s with their daily bread as they spent their forty years going to the Promised Land. When we follow God we do not need to worry about our needs because God will always provide for us.

Matthew 6:25-27

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Satan tempted Jesus to test God and his protection, but Jesus replied saying that, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’

Deuteronomy 6:16-19

You must not test the Lord your God as you did when you complained at Massah. You must diligently obey the commands of the Lord your God—all the laws and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to give your ancestors. You will drive out all the enemies living in the land, just as the Lord said you would.

Finally Satan tempted Jesus by promising Jesus something that he could not provide in exchange for worshipping him. Satan likes to promise us great things, but great things he cannot provide. He likes to promise us the world and a good life, but all he can deliver is death and destruction. The things that Satan can give us may be by all appearances good, but nothing that comes from Satan is good for us and when we stop following God to follow Satan we will have many sorrows in life (Ps. 32:10).

Satan and his demons are out to kill and destroy us (Jn. 10:10). They have no intention to give us life because they cannot do it only Jesus can (Jn. 10:10). When Satan was tempting Jesus his promises were only half-truths and some were old faced lies. Jesus saw through the deception though because He was grounded in the Word of God and He used the Word to fight back against Satan and finally He just told Satan to leave.

We have the ability and the power to do exactly what Jesus did, but we need to embrace it. We need to be seeking God in all things. We need to be seeking to honor God and glorify Him in our actions and to follow Him always. We need to remember that Satan does not have plans to give us life, he only seeks to kill and destroy us, but Jesus has come so that we could have life.

When we follow Jesus and diligently seek God’s will for us our lives begin to change. God doesn’t desire for us to live a treacherous life. God desires for us to have a full life and He will take care of our every need when we follow Him with all of our heart. When we are regularly in His Word we are able to better fight off the enemy from the harm that he intends us. Jesus did not fight against Satan by any natural means, He fought off Satan with the Word of God and He stood on the promises that God has made us all when we choose to follow Him.

When you choose to follow God your life WILL change as you begin to realize God’s will for your life. Do not be surprised though if you meet resistance, especially at first. When you walk in the ways of Satan he pretty much leaves you alone, but when you choose to follow Jesus Satan does not want to lose your obedience so he begins to do things to try to get you to change your mind. Satan knows how good God is and he knows that once you truly decide to follow God and live a life that reflects that decision that it is extremely difficult to persuade you back to following him. It is much easier for him to keep you by trying to dissuade you from following God in the first place by speaking lies to you about who God is and about himself. Satan would have you believe that by following him you will have a good life, but that is an utter lie straight from the pit of hell. Satan wants you to worship him, but God has a better plan for your life if you choose to follow Him.

Following God may seem difficult and at times it is because we live in a world in which Satan has been allowed to roam around with his demons and it is their desire to get us to turn away from God. It is their desire to see us so lost in our sin that we do not even realize that we are following the path that leads straight to hell. But, God’s plan is perfect and is good and when we follow Him we are guaranteed life through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected to be with the Father so that we too will one day be resurrected to be with our Father in Heaven, but we must follow Jesus. We must give our lives over to God and follow Him with all of our heart. He will ask us to do many things, but He will not force us. He is kind and loving, but He will not force us to follow as a horse with a bit in its mouth. No, we must choose to follow Him. “Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure (Ps. 32:10-11)”!

Father thank you so much for your love and your watch over us. Thank you for sending your angels to care for us and for your Holy Spirit who guides us through our lives. Helps us to follow you God in all things. Help us to see the deception of the enemy for what it is. We long to follow you God and to follow you alone. Father help me to learn your Word and to stand on it so that I will have the courage to fight against Satan and his demons when they seek me out. Protect me from them Lord so that I can keep on the straight path that you have chosen for me. Guide me and help me to know your good and perfect will for my life. Lord I want to know you more, please reveal yourself to me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

  1. Pingback: Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

  2. Pingback: Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

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