“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Matthew 4:5–7
I’ve known people that exploit the affection and compassionate instincts of their parents, and sometimes siblings, by carelessly, and sometimes intentionally, getting themselves into trouble. They’d engage in underage drinking, shop lift, create a public nuisance by their loud and inappropriate behavior, pick fights, and vandalize other people’s property. These are just several examples of the things they’d do, and when they were caught, right away, they’d turn to mom, dad, or a brother or sister and beg them to bail them out just one more time. Many times their families would step in and shelter them from the consequences of their poor choices.
Most of us when we see this kind of behavior happening know that it’s not a healthy situation. We can clearly see that these people is presumptuously taking advantage of the people who love them and that their loved ones are rewarding them for their disrespect and selfishness.
In our focus text, Satan, having failed in his attempt to lead Christ to doubt and disbelief of this Father due to appetite, now tries to tempt him to doubt by enticing him to needlessly engage in behavior that would require God to intervene to save him.
“If you’re the Son of God throw yourself off the pinnacle of the temple. The Bible says that the angels will save you and you’ll prove that you really are who you say you are.”
Had Jesus done as Satan told him to do his behavior would have been no better than that of a weak or rebellious adolescent. He would not have been acting on faith. Rather, he would have been presuming on the promise of God for his own selfish satisfaction.
The promises of God are not given so that we can be confident in our carelessness and disobedience. God has given us his “exceeding great and precious promises” so that we can have confidence and boldness as we step out to do the work he’s called us to do. Sometimes going to the places God calls us to go and doing the work he’s directed to do does entail significant risk. God’s promises are given so that we can know that we don’t need to be hesitant, anxious or afraid to follow God’s call. Our Heavenly Father is always with us providing for all our needs.
Had Christ done as Satan suggested he would not have been doing what God had called him to do. Instead he would have been following Satan’s plans and his own doubts.
God’s faithfulness doesn’t need to be proven, rather it needs to be trusted in and relied on. Genuine trust doesn’t require meaningless demonstrations of ability. Rather it trusts that our Heavenly Father, who has already proven himself capable, will, when a genuine need arises, be there to provide the support and care we need.