Temptation: Do Not Put the Lord your God to the Test
“5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:5-7 (NIV)
Matthew 4:57 appears to embody dual, and crucial messages. The first, and possibly most important element of interpretation here seems to be that Satan even tested Jesus who is perfect. Perhaps this part of scripture is a forewarning from God implying that we too will be tested during our lifetime. Part two of this scriptural interpretation makes note of the fact that, “the devil knows scripture too!” Christians must not be fooled by people who recite scripture but live lives indicative of one who does not know Jesus. Matthew also points out that Satan took Jesus to the holy city to test Him, using Jesus’s own scripture against him, or so he thought. Satan is evil, and although he is unable to comprehend scripture, he is an expert at reciting it.
Satan did not stop trying to encourage people to prove their relationship with God when he failed at temptation. Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple. In fact, he works around the clock successfully tempting many lost souls today. The reason for the devil’s success is that so many people do not have a strong, solid, relationship with the Father. Satan is the master manipulator, so good some believe he does not exist? However, if he did not exist, we would not need God’s Word, His grace or salvation. “ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
I think it is important to point out that even though Satan appeared without notice, ready to inflict the spirit of temptation on Jesus; Jesus was prepared and therefore did not fall for his misinterpretation of Scripture. Having His Father’s Word hidden in His heart made it possible for Jesus to refute Satan’s misinterpretation of Psalm 91:11-12. Also, Matthew adds to his teaching moment in the above scripture by illustrating how Jesus defended His Father’s Word, which was by knowing the Word for himself. When we know scripture for ourselves it is impossible for anybody to feed us false doctrine. “Scripture calls itself much more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey.” (Psalm 19:10)