Friday, April 15, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 4:5-7 - The Temptation of Divine Protection

Matthew 4:5-7 - The Temptation of Divine Protection

It is said here that Satan "took Him" physically to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem. There is no reason to spiritualize the passage. The challenge in this temptation is whether or not the Father would supernaturally protect Jesus from such a fall.

Satan's Misuse of Scripture - Note that Satan uses scripture in this passage, saying "For it is written". Satan quotes Psa 91:11-12, and in so doing committed the classic error of taking scripture out of context. Psa 91 is talking about divine protection from harm that seeks us. Satan is tempting Jesus to test God. Psa 91 cannot be used within the context of the passage to conclude that God will divinely protect us if we do something to test Him.

2Chronicles 7:14 - It is a common practice today to select individual verses in the Bible and apply them to people or events that have nothing to do with the text. One that is used a lot is 2Ch 7:14. The timeframe for this passages is when Solomon warnings and assurances that result from their keeping the Mosaic Law.The 2Ch 7:14 passage is tied up with Israel, the temple, and the Mosaic Law. (Read 2Ch 7:12-14.) God warns Solomon what will happen if the whole Israelite nation, believers and unbelievers, do not turn from their wicked ways. The context is national blessings or curses based on adherance to the Mosiac Covenant in Deuteronomy 28. (Read 2Ch 7:19-22.) So the context of 2Ch 7:14 is a reminder to Solomon in regards to the covenant promise that God will rescue them if they repent, and curse them if they don't, according to the Mosaic Covenant.

So properly in context, 2Ch 7:14 only applies to the nation of Israel, as the church was never a part of the Mosaic covenant. Yet Christians in the church today use this verse as an out of context rallying cry of sorts for America calling for political, moral and economic healing. America is not Israel, and if like principles were to be in play, all Americans, believers and unbelievers would need to repent. We can't quote passages incorrectly and expect God to honor our quotation of the passage.

Having said all that, should we as Christians pray and turn from our wicked ways? Absolutely. It is just not on the basis of 2Ch 7:14. 1Ti 2:1-2 correctly indicates how a Christian should pray for our nation.

The point of this sidebar is Satan's misuse of Psalm 91, and how even we as Christians get fooled into doing the same thing. People can become disillusioned when thinking they are following biblical principle, they misquote passages, taking them out of context, and then nothing happens. Frequently, they are asking God for something he never promised. It is more important to understand scripture in context, then applying scripture out of context to parties it was not intended for.

2Ti 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

The Response of Jesus to the Temptation - Jesus addressed this misuse of scripture on Satan's part by partially quoting another passage (Deu 6:16). Satan was tempting Jesus to put a test before God. As we previously discussed, temptations take one of two forms, that of enticement to sin, and that of testing. As we have also discussed, while God will test His saints to prove their righteous character, we are told not to put God to the test. God is faithful and needs no test and we should take Him at His word. What Satan was doing here is enticing Jesus to put God to the test by putting Himself in a precarious position to see if God would save Him. The response of Jesus was to remind Satan that we are not to put God to the test.


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