Temptation 1: Worries , Cares and Concerns of this World
After Yeshua had fasted forty days and nights, he was hungry. The Tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, order these stones to become bread.” But he answered, “The Tanakh says, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of ADONAI'”Matthew 4:2-4 CJB
You are to remember everything of the way in which ADONAI led you these forty years in the desert, humbling and testing you in order to know what was in your heart–whether you would obey his mitzvot or not. He humbled you, allowing you to become hungry, and then fed you with man, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand that a person does not live on food alone but on everything that comes from the mouth of ADONAI. During these forty years the clothing you were wearing didn’t grow old, and your feet didn’t swell up. Think deeply about it: ADONAI was disciplining you, just as a man disciplines his child. Deuteronomy 8:2-5 CJB
Many of us have experienced some type of hardship at one point in life. Growing up in poverty, I know what it is to not have enough food to pass around. I have experienced what it is like to be unsure of where your next meal is coming from. I grew up wearing, for the most part, second hand clothes. And it was not until I reached the latter of all the years allowed me thus far that I experienced what it is like to live in a house without holes in the walls and with running water inside the house. Even with all that, I had to encounter my wilderness experience as I developed real faith in God.
Your life experience may not have been as extreme as mine; however you may have gone through a point in time when your basic needs were lacking. Maybe it was that time you had to fight to complete college or university. Or when, as a single parent, you had to care for your babies, go to school and work to give them the best life you can. Or that period where you lost your job, home, spouse, loved one, sanity. Or even when you moved to a new city or country and have to start over from scratch.
During this time, we struggle to survive and try to make ends meet as best as we can. I believe times like these are tests that strengthens our faith in God and teaches us that our sustenance lies in Him. Our sustenance does not come from food. It does not come from material comforts and luxuries. It comes from our Sustainer – from the very breath of God, the Holy Ghost.
The enemy may come at us with jeering thoughts like, “You say you are favoured, yet you are suffering? Where is your favour?” Or “You are a child of God yet look at your life! Look around you! Where is your Father?” Or “So the LORD told you to make this move or move here and do that, eh? Where is He now?” He tried it with Yeshua. And he uses the same old tactics with us.
These experiences are our wilderness experience. Whether you were born into that experience or encounter it later on in life, the enemy of our souls will try to tamper with our faith in God; using our identity – who we are – to doubt who He is by trying to shift our focus from the eternal perspective and distract us with a temporary situation.
The enemy was basically saying, “You say you are the Son of God, why are you suffering from hunger when you can easily transform these stones to bread?”
Yeshua knew who He was but He also was aware of His experience and its purpose as well as the enemy’s motive.
When you know who you are, you do not need to prove anything to anyone. The enemy tried to change the focus of the experience of the wilderness from an eternal perspective to a natural one.
The wilderness, however, experience is designed to get you to the level of intimacy, faith and authority necessary for the purpose for which you are destined.
It was more than going without food and satisfying a temporary condition. It is more than having new clothes. It is more than having a house. Yes we need these things as part of this life and we should desire the good things in life. Nothing is wrong with wanting nice clothes, a big house, being able to live well and enjoy life. The LORD is aware of that as stated in
Matthew 6:25-33 “Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life–what you will eat or drink; or about your body–what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest, nor do they gather food into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to his life? “And why be anxious about clothing? Think about the fields of wild irises, and how they grow. They neither work nor spin thread, yet I tell you that not even Shlomo in all his glory was clothed as beautifully as one of these. If this is how God clothes grass in the field–which is here today and gone tomorrow, thrown in an oven–won’t he much more clothe you? What little trust you have! “So don’t be anxious, asking, ‘What will we eat?,’ ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘How will we be clothed?’ For it is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (cf Luke 12:22-31)
We must remember that the enemy will try to use the satisfaction of a temporary discomfort to take our eyes off a training of discipline that is meant to bear an eternal, lasting fruit. If you are currently in a wilderness experience, stay focused on your time of discipline looking ahead at the goal the LORD is bringing you to. This allows you to get to the level of intimacy, faith and authority necessary for the season of life the LORD is preparing you for. Do not be distracted by the temporary discomfort of worldly needs that may be lacking. Let us realign our focus and be focused.