Day 4 - The Word as a Weapon

Day 4 - The Word as a Weapon

Written By: Katelyn Boyd

Matthew 4:1-11
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 the 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.

I have two little boys, and in their world, anything can become a weapon! It astounds me how many common household objects become make believe weapons–brooms become spears, their sister’s headbands become slingshots, and even kitchen utensils become swords! Using their imaginations, whatever they have at their disposal becomes a weapon in the games they play. As we walk through the Gospel of Matthew during this season of Lent, we are looking at the life and ministry of Christ and seeking to walk in the way of Jesus. In Matthew 4, we see our Savior modeling for us what it looks like to use the most powerful weapon at our disposal–the Word of God–as a weapon against the lies of the enemy! 

We see in verse 1 that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness; so, he was being guided by the One who would equip Him to use Scripture correctly to combat the enemy!! We must also rely on the Spirit, the one who inspired the Word of God to be written and illuminates its meaning for us, as we approach Scripture in study and as we seek to stand against the enemy’s attacks. 

Our enemy, the devil, is crafty and manipulative–he uses the same old approaches to try to trick Jesus that he used against Eve in the garden, and he uses the same tactics against us today. The first temptation in this passage was an appeal to the lust of the flesh: “Since You’re the Messiah, why are You allowing yourself to be so deprived? Do a little something for Yourself.” He enticed Jesus to use the power of God for self-serving purposes. He was successful in tempting the first man (Adam) with his stomach, so he tried it with Jesus! After 40 days of fasting, Jesus was hungry, and food would have been his most emergent physical need. Satan asks him “Why starve to death?” He tempted Jesus with the desire for physical pleasure and comfort, but Jesus countered Satan’s attack with Scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3. He knew that the Word of God offered Him lasting sustenance that physical bread could not! Very often, the enemy prays on our desires for physical pleasure and comfort in order to draw our mind’s attention and heart’s affection away from God; during this season of Lent, as many of us are fasting or giving up some of the comforts we normally enjoy, we can fight the lust of the flesh by spending time relying on God in prayer and committing His Word to memory, in order to be reminded that it is much better for us and offers longer lasting nourishment than mere food.

In Satan’ second temptation, he asks Jesus to throw himself down from the temple and then exhibited his own knowledge of Scripture: “Go ahead, Jesus; if You do this, then the Bible promises angels will rescue You, and it will be spectacular self-promotion and evidence to show you are who you say you are.” The enemy appealed to the pride of life here; he tempted Jesus to force God into a miraculous show of protection, essentially asking Jesus to put His Father to a test. Jesus knew He didn’t need to do this; His Father had already moved miraculously at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16, 17) to reveal Jesus as His Son, and He refuses. Satan misuses Scripture, twisting it to be used for his own purposes, whereas Jesus understands the whole counsel of Scripture and uses it correctly to refuse to test His Father. 

The last temptation in this passage appealed to the lust of the eyes. It was an invitation to win the kingdoms of the world. Satan would give them to Jesus, if he would worship him. Satan is doing much more here than offering Jesus earthly authority (though he already had supreme authority over heaven and earth); he is insidiously undermining God’s redemptive plan! Jesus came to earth to win the kingdoms of earth back from Satan’s domain, but the Tempter was offering him a way to do that without having to go to the cross. The Father’s plan for Jesus was for Him to suffer first, then enter His glory. Satan offered Jesus a way out of the suffering.  If Jesus accepted this, our salvation would be impossible. He might have gained some sort of earthly authority to rule, delegated by Satan, but then He would not have redeemed individual sinners through His sacrifice!!!

-I LOVE Jesus’ response to Satan here: He resists the devil by countering with truth from Deut. 6:13—“You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only”--and commands him to leave. Nothing the enemy could ever offer us could be better than that which our Father offers us–salvation through Jesus, a place in His family, a part of His mission to see the damage that was done in Garden, because of the enemy’s first temptation, be reversed because of Jesus’ complete and final victory over him! Because of Jesus’ victory on our behalf, we have the same power to resist the enemy, and when we do, James 4:7 tells us that he flees!

Jesus consistently and successfully resisted temptation because he walked in the Spirit and knew and used the Word as a weapon! Satan is not stupid; he will not continually put his limited resources into an ineffective battle. We must continually resist him! This week, take some practical steps to know, understand and use Scripture against the enemy. You can’t know or understand what you don’t consume; commit to spending consistent, daily time in Scripture this week; read and meditate on it, then choose a verse or passage to memorize and/or pray back to the Lord each day. Be intentional about identifying the lies with which Satan attacks you, and search Scripture to find TRUTH that combats each lie. For example, when you hear the enemy whisper “God doesn’t love you,” read/memorize/speak out loud the truth of Jeremiah 31:3: “He has loved you with an everlasting love!.” Keep a list of lies and coinciding truths to use against the enemy when he attacks or tempts you!

Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for showing us, through His example, how to use your Word to stand against attacks of the enemy. And thank you for sending Him to the cross and bringing Him out of the grave to defeat the enemy once for all! Would you remind me this week that I am engaging an enemy who has already been defeated, and help me to prioritize time in your Word so that I will know and properly use truth to be victorious over him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.