By Zhang Yue
It was a fine day today. In the morning, a ray of sunshine touched upon my face through the window and I was in a pretty good mood. Then I took up the Bible and turned toof Matthew, chapter 4 verses 1-11: “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Then the devil takes him up into the holy city, and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple, And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.” I had read these verses before and just felt that the devil was so shameless and detestable that it actually dared to tempt the this way. However, today, when I read these verses again, it occurred to me: “Since the Lord Jesus allowed Satan to tempt Him, His will certainly lies within this. Then what is the Lord’s will?”
While I was pondering over this question, I suddenly saw the book which my friend gave to me some time ago. Then I opened the book and saw a passage of words: “Now, does man live by bread alone? The Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. Did He starve to death? (No.) He didn’t starve to death, so Satan approached Him, prompting Him to turn the stones into food by saying things of this sort: ‘If You turn the stones into food, won’t You then have things to eat? Won’t You then not have to fast, not have to go hungry?’ But the Lord Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,’ which means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God. … This truth, this phrase—whether its content is long or short—it can let man live, give him life; it can enable man to find, within itself, truth, clarity about the path of human life, and enable him to have” (“God Himself, the Unique V”).
This passage of words gave me some enlightenment. When Satan tempted the Lord Jesus, it clearly knew that the Lord Jesus is God incarnate Himself, but still tempted Him. This fully revealed Satan’s evilness. However, the Lord Jesus fought back against Satan by saying: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Such a short sentence with authority caused Satan to retreat in humiliation, and also told us this truth: Man shall not live by bread alone but by God’s words. This made me more aware that the value of our life depends on whether or not we have the truth and that only when we gain the truth can we have the true life. At that time I couldn’t help but think of some brothers and sisters in the church. Because they didn’t know the value and significance of the truth for our existence, some of them went to pursue the world when they saw others enjoyed a better life than them; some were not short of money, but due to coveting the enjoyment of the flesh, they followed the evil trend of the world, falling into the temptation of money and unable to extricate themselves. From their failure, I saw that if we don’t understand the truth, when facing various kinds of temptations, we can’t see through Satan’s trickery: It wants us to covet the pleasures of the flesh and gradually shun God and even betray God, so that we will ultimately lose the opportunity for salvation and be eliminated by God. However, people who understand the truth know that God’s words are the truth, the way and the life, so gaining the truth means gaining life from God; by contrast, there is not the slightest degree of significance in pursuing fleshly enjoyment; no matter what enjoyment of the flesh we have, it is empty and can’t bring us life or change our fate and outcome. From this two kinds of people, we can see that only by knowing the truth can we discern Satan’s cunning schemes and gain. So after knowing this, we should choose the correct path, lest we be abandoned by the Lord at this crucial moment of His arrival and left outside the gate of the heavenly kingdom.
Then I read these words in this book: “It said, ‘If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down,’ and then it quoted from the Scriptures, ‘He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.’ How do you feel when you hear Satan’s words? Aren’t they very childish? They are childish, preposterous, and disgusting. Why would I say this? Satan is always up to something foolish, it believes itself to be very smart; and it often quotes the scriptures—even the very word of God—it tries to turn these words against God to attack Him and to tempt Him. Its purpose in doing this is to destroy the plan of God’s work.” “Satan, the devil, having failed at its previous two tricks, tried yet another: It showed all the kingdoms in the world and the glory of them to the Lord Jesus and asked Him to worship the devil. What do you see about the true features of the devil from this situation? Isn’t Satan the devil absolutely shameless? (Yes.) How shameless can it be? Everything was created by God, yet Satan turns it around and shows it to God saying, ‘Look at the wealth and glory of all of these kingdoms. If You worship me I’ll give them all to You.’ Isn’t this a role reversal? Isn’t Satan shameless? God made everything, but was it for His enjoyment? God gave everything to mankind, but Satan wanted to seize it all and afterward it said, ‘Worship me! Worship me and I’ll give this all to You.’ This is the ugly face of Satan; it is absolutely shameless, right? Satan doesn’t even know the meaning of the word ‘shame,’ and this is just another example of its evil. It doesn’t even know what shame is. Satan clearly knows that God created everything and that He manages it and has dominion over it. Everything belongs to God, not to man, much less to Satan, yet Satan the devil brazenly said that it would give everything to God. Isn’t Satan once again doing something absurd and shameless? God hates Satan even more now, right? Yet no matter what Satan tried to do, did the Lord Jesus fall for it? (No.) What did the Lord Jesus say? (‘You shall worship the Lord your God.’) Does this phrase have a practical meaning? (Yes.) What sort of practical meaning? We see Satan’s evil and shamelessness in its speech. … After Satan had tempted the Lord Jesus several times without success, did it try again? Satan did not try again and then it left. What does this prove? It proves that Satan’s evil nature, its malice, and its absurdity and preposterousness is not worth a mention before God. The Lord Jesus defeated Satan in only three sentences, after which it scurried away with its tail between its legs, too ashamed to show its face again, and it never tempted the Lord Jesus again. Since the Lord Jesus had defeated this temptation of Satan, He could now easily continue the work that He had to do and assume the tasks that lay before Him.”
Through reading those words about the dissections of Satan’s temptations of the Lord Jesus, I saw clearly that Satan’s every word hides too many cunning schemes and that its essence is evil, treacherous and deceitful. Satan tempted the Lord Jesus and wanted to make Him fall for it and thus deny His identity and status as God, so as to achieve its despicable intention of disrupting and tearing down the Lord Jesus’ work of saving man. Since it dared to tempt the Lord Jesus like this, judging by its evil essence, it can also tempt and disturb every one of us who has come before God and accepted God’s salvation. Take Job as an example. He was recognized by God as a blameless man who feared God and shunned evil. But Satan didn’t want God to gain Job, so it came before God to accuse Job and rushed to tempt him. Satan took away Job’s herds and flocks that covered all the hills and his ten children, and finally caused sore boils to appear all over his body. However, because Job had true faith in God, he said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). When he stood witness for God, Satan retreated in humiliation and no longer dared to tempt him. We can see from this that when encountering Satan’s temptations, as long as we maintain our genuine faith in God, we can strike back at its deceitful schemes and bear witness for God.
From the Lord Jesus defeating Satan’s temptations, I saw that God’s words are the truth, the way and the life; only when we gain the truth, can we see through Satan’s schemes. Meanwhile I understood that we need not fear Satan; regardless of what temptations and beguilement of Satan we encounter in the future, so long as we seek the truth and pray and rely on God more, we can see through Satan’s plots, stand witness for God, and completely humiliate and defeat Satan.
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