“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2
He was at the gateway of His ministry. Now thirty years old, the age of becoming a man, it was time. For forty days and forty nights He prepared for His entrance. For His whole lifetime He knew what His mission was. This final act of obedience and a servant’s heart, would seal the deal. Jesus now faced the enemy with the power of God’s mighty Word.
How often are we in a position like this? It’s unlikely that we would go on a 40 day fast, but we all have our moments in the wilderness. These times of weakness, of hopelessness, fear and dread, are the low points when it seems there is nothing left for us. We may be at the depth of desperation, facing life threatening disease or self destruction. We may have come to the end of our rope and see no light at the end of the tunnel. This is the time when Satan moves in. He’s privy to all our weaknesses, because he’s the one who caused them. Therefore he will use every instrument in his arsenal to break us.
His first arrow is one which creates doubt. It happened at the beginning when he tempted Adam and Eve to question God’s Word. It happens whenever we wonder about God’s plans for our lives. The second arrow, Satan aims and shoots with great cunning and accuracy. It is directed at our personal needs – like hunger, thirst, pain, emotional scars.
Soon Satan has emptied his quiver and we are left filled with anger against God. We blame Him for all our problems. We question His motives. We doubt His power. We think we can do a better job of running our lives. We succumb to the weaponry of the devil and all his lies.
Jesus did not give in. His sinless soul wouldn’t allow Him to cave to temptation. He did so by using God’s Word. He knew them all by heart.\ He’d studied them as a boy. He inspired others to write them as God. He was at a low point. He hadn’t eaten for forty days. His tongue was parched and His clothing smelly and soiled. He was alone in a treacherous environment. He was vulnerable, yet He remained steadfast.
Our time in the wilderness should be a time for us to contemplate what God has done for us – to pull ourselves out of the pit and rely on Him for comfort and contentment. When we turn our thoughts to our Creator, our weaknesses are used to toughen us – to make us stronger – to fit us with the armor of salvation. On our own, we’re incapable of gaining true peace. With Christ and His Word, we’re covered.
When the devil left Jesus, angels came to minister to His needs. When we let God take charge, we receive the same treatment. Trust in Him and He will take care of all your needs. There is no wilderness too great for Him to overcome.