Thursday, February 27
This episode in Jesus’ life is a parallel to the trials faced by Israel as they fled Egypt and wandered in the desert for forty years. The Hebrew people fleeing Egypt were forced to learn to trust in God. When they were faced with hunger, they received bread from heaven. When they faced thirst, they received water from a rock. But the wilderness proved too much. They turned away from God and created golden idols to worship.
With each temptation, the gospel writer connects Jesus to Moses and the people of Israel.
Hungry, thirsty, and alone, Jesus is faced with temptation, but he does not give in or give up.
He quotes from Deuteronomy, again making the connection between his ordeal and the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness.
While there is a strong connection between these two stories, there is one important difference.
The people of Israel did not learn to trust in God despite God’s constant care and provision. They responded by turning away from God. With each temptation, Jesus shows that the only response to God’s care is to “worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”
Jesus refused to cooperate with Satan to find food, and to achieve status and power. Evil had no power over Jesus and should have no power over us.
God is surely with us during our wilderness times and during times when we are tempted.
It is so very easy to give in and believe that God has no place in our lives. We are tempted every day to put ourselves first, creating idols and relying on our own abilities to get through life.
How do we respond to God’s infinite care, even during wilderness times?
Do we respond by turning away from God and worshipping idols of our making?
Or do we, like Jesus, acknowledge the temptation and resist it?
It’s your choice. Make it a good one!
Prayer: Gracious God, I trust you to always be present in my life, even when I don’t feel you near. Help me to draw closer to you during my wilderness moments, that I may follow you more nearly and love you more dearly. Amen.
– Miriam Gentle