What was going on during Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness that we use everyday in our lives? How does memorizing Scripture help protect us from the attacks of Satan and how does he use Scripture against us?
Also, did you know that every major civilization has a “flood story” as part of its oral or written history? What does the biblical account of the flood teach us about God, His character and His sovereign control of world events?
Genesis 7 & 8
Satan, Swords & Fighting Temptation
The Sword of the Spirit
As we read the story of Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness, we see the importance of having a storehouse of God’s Word in our hearts. It is the sword of the Spirit as Ephesians 6.17 refers to it, the only offensive weapon listed among the pieces of the armor of God. The word properly understood and applied helps protect us from attacks and temptation.
Psalm 119.11 says, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
But notice that the devil knows Scripture, too. In verse 6 see how he took it and twisted its meaning to fit his purpose. That’s why it’s important to study and understand God’s Word and to read it in context, both the immediate context of the story, chapter, and book in which it is contained, and also, in the context of all of Scripture. Doing so helps us recognize false teaching and poor Bible interpretation.
Jerry Bridges in The Pursuit of Holiness says this about memorizing Scripture, “The Holy Spirit wrote the Scriptures; we learn the Scriptures; the Holy Spirit brings to our mind what we learn; we apply what He brings to mind.”
But if we don’t learn God’s Word, we short circuit the whole process. We are faced with tests, trial, decisions, and temptations all the time. Instead of being able to respond based on the truths the Holy Spirit brings to mind, we’ll respond based on our feelings or what seems right to us. So we end up leading weak, anemic Christian lives!
There are numerous ways to memorize Scripture, but one of the simplest is to write out a verse or passage on a 3×5 card (or use a smart phone application), carry it with you and read it over and over throughout the day. It’s a great way to redeem those little moments of time spent waiting in line at the drive through or waiting for an appointment, etc. In the beginning you may want to write the passage out several times to help you learn it more quickly.
If you’re just starting out in this process of reading and memorizing God’s Word, don’t get overwhelmed with it, just be faithful. When you do, it’s amazing how God will help you. If you are one of those people who say, “I can’t memorize things,” remember God wouldn’t ask you to do anything He won’t enable you to do. Again, just be faithful.
For those of you who would like to be challenged and have some accountability with memorization, Lydia at Journey of the Word has a memory challenge for the month of January. Be sure to check it out.
Today’s Other Readings:
Noah & the Flood
The narrator made the comment that at some point in the history of man, humanity was reduced to just a handful of people. He called it an unexplainable “bottleneck.” My husband and I were practically shouting, “Hello … it’s called ‘the flood!”
Did you know that every major civilization has a “flood story” as part of its oral or written history? Even though mankind was dispersed after the tower of Babel, and many truths were perverted or lost, the magnitude of such a worldwide event caused it to be embedded in the stories handed down. And yet, many scientists do everything they can to explain away the evidence.
John MacArthur lists four key points in his Daily Bible:
1. “God retains ultimate control of world events.” (This should be a great encouragement to those of us who belong to Him.)
2. “God can and will judge sin.” (Even though God is patient and merciful, He is also holy and just.)
3. “God can and does exercise grace even in judgment.” (We can come into the ark of salvation. While God disciplines those He loves, we will not suffer the judgment of eternal separation from God if we have accepted God’s offer of salvation by grace and the forgiveness of our sins.)
4. “An even more universal and final judgment will be carried out on the world based on God’s timetable.” (The Book of Revelation makes that truth apparent.)
If you struggle to align the Bible’s record of history with much that is taught as fact today, study the world’s geography, the fossil record, and other scientific data in light of a worldwide flood. When you do, things begin to make perfect sense. Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research are two places to start. Although, I want to emphasize that the Bible is true because God says it is and not just because science proves it out.
But You, O Lord …
I love how the psalms express the feelings and emotions we all feel at times, but I also love how they take us from a focus on the circumstances to the “but God.” In this case, David was on the run from his own son and former friends who had turned against him. How discouraged he must have felt when he focused on the pain and disappointment. But then he turned his focus to God and remembered His faithfulness.
Verse 3, “But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.”
What are some of the “But-God” truths that you need to consider in your situation? Is there a passage of Scripture or a promise to which you need to shift your focus? How has He been faithful in the past? How might He be working in the present?
Remember who He is and ask for His help to grow in faith and trust as you wait on Him.
Wisdom Cries Out
I love the picture in this passage of wisdom portrayed as a woman calling out. She calls out to us in all the affairs of life: in the open squares, concourses, and gates of the city.
It reminds me that God is not interested in withholding His wisdom from us. He wants us to have it! But we must take it, learn it, and incorporate its truths into our lives. The only way to do that is to become intimately acquainted with His Word.
As you meditate on Jesus’ response to temptation in Matthew 4, ask yourself:
In what area am I fighting a spiritual battle?
What passage of Scripture addresses that issue?
Commit it to memory.
Set a goal to learn one verse or passage each week.
And as we read through God’s Word together, be sure to share what God is showing you in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
Why not sign up for the “Bible in a Year” daily devotional posts. They will take you through all of God’s Word in 2017.
“Be holy, for I am holy,” commands God. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian’s daily life. According to Navigator author Jerry Bridges, that’s because we’re not exactly sure what our part in holiness is. In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we should rely on God to do—and what we should take responsibility for ourselves. As you deepen your relationship with God, learn more about His character, and understand the Holy Spirit’s role in holiness, your spiritual growth will mature.
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