Wednesday, January 03, 2007

High and Lifted Up

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple…
(Matthew 4:5 – ESV)

Here is our Lord Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Actually, He wasn’t in the wilderness here, He was in the city, and no doubt many were able to see Him on top of the temple. It would seem, if we were in a similar situation, a logical thing to do. If we would throw ourselves down, we could prove what we are saying is truth; how then would people respond!

But Jesus rejected this false “spiritual” stance. He knew that there were to be no shortcuts – He had to go to the Cross before He went to the right hand of the Father. To take the shortcut, glory and power without pain and suffering, was to presume upon the power of God. Jesus could have snapped his fingers and wiped the Devil out. He could have flown down there at the temple and commanded everyone to obey. But He didn’t, and He knew the Father’s will for His life was to do more than assume His place at the throne. He was sent to save mankind, and He had to be lifted up at Calvary before He could be lifted up into Heaven.

Christ was obedient to the scriptures and His faithfulness, when tested, was strong. Had He not been obedient to scripture, His faith would have presumed upon God, and He would have accepted Satan’s scripture twisting tactics.

Knowing what God intends for us by highly regarding the in depth study of scripture is a key to obedience; if we only know some scriptures without knowing God’s will, we will accept others’ interpretations and proof texts. “To the extent that one is disobedient to Scripture, yet respects its authority (at least with his lips), he will twist the text. Cf. 2 Pet 3:15-16. Conversely, to the extent that one is obedient to Scripture, he/she will be in a better position to understand it and deal with it honestly” (Daniel Wallace).

Please don’t miss the relevance for today that we see here. A “knockout punch”, a show of God’s power, an irrefutable miracle depends entirely upon the will of God, and it is not for us to try and help the cause. God may have given you a specific mission, but the journey will probably take you to places that you didn’t expect. Don’t presume that every obstacle, every mountain that stands in your way is test of your faith for victory, and in His power to overcome. It may just be a test of your faith to endure, and trust in God’s ultimate plan, not in His immediate power.

The road of God’s will is not always the shortest path, or the path of least resistance, or the path of moving mountains. As we see here, with Paul and with all the great heroes of the Bible, the path of God’s will lies in OBEDIENCE. Beware of those who would tell you that you need more faith to overcome, or that God doesn’t want you to suffer at all. That is the presumption of faith. Rather, be like Paul in the Roman jail, where he wrote to the Philippians about joy even as he was in bondage. Be like Job, who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).

Never presume that faith is always about victory in the immediate sense; ultimately we have the victory, but here on earth, faith is often about perseverance, trusting in God through trials.

Like Jesus did.


One Sheep's Voice said...

I will have to remember that thursday at my "voice stress test" for that job I applied for. I guess it is much like the polygragh test.
I'll try to remember those bibles tomorrow night.

Even So... said...

The road of God’s will is not always the shortest path, or the path of least resistance, or the path of moving mountains.

Or the post with the most comments...

One Sheep's Voice said...

Hey JD, I found a sight I was wondering if you would look at when you get a chance. It has a 9 minute vidio of the recovery of the Ark of the Covenant. I was wondering what your opinion of it was. Thanks

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
So profound, isn't it?

One Sheep's Voice said...

I guess the site address would be helpful huh? thanks again.