Matthew 4:7 - Living by Faith and not by Presumption.
Mat.4:7; Living by Faith and not by Presumption.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Mat 4:7 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou
shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Mat 4:7 (NLT) Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'Do
not test the Lord your God.'"
Mat 4:7 (CWR) But Jesus knew that the devil had twisted the
Scripture. So He answered him by quoting another Scripture, "You shall not
test God's love by demanding that He demonstrate His care for you."
Mat 4:7 (TLB) Jesus retorted, "It also says not to put the Lord
your God to a foolish test!"
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
John predicted Messiah's appearance, and preached baptism as a
sign of repentance (3:1-12). Christ was baptized to identify Himself
with John's righteous message (vv. 13-17). The Spirit then led Jesus
into the wilderness, where He overcame temptation and demonstrated
His commitment to God (4:1-11). Thus prepared, Jesus began to preach
(vv. 12-17), called His first disciples (vv. 18-22), and demonstrated
His God-given authority by miracles of healing (vv. 23-25). [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
The Temptation of Jesus--Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13
Satan tempts Jesus in the desert (4:1-11)
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Exodus 17:2 (KJV) Wherefore the people did chide with Moses,
and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them,
Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?
Numbers 14:22 (KJV) Because all those men which have seen my
glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and
have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my
Deut. 6:16 (KJV) Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye
tempted him in Massah.
Psalm 78:18 (KJV) And they tempted God in their heart by asking
meat for their lust.
Psalm 78:41 (KJV) Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and
limited the Holy One of Israel.
Psalm 78:56 (KJV) Yet they tempted and provoked the most high
God, and kept not his testimonies:
Acts 5:9 (KJV) Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have
agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of
them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry
1 Cor. 10:9 (KJV) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them
also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man
draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a
rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
IT IS WRITTEN
Jesus met each of the temptations with Scripture, indicating
that revelation consists not simply of knowing information about
God's truth. Revelation shows us how to apply God's truth to our lives
and thus how to do God's will. Satan could quote Scripture but did
so to seek to lead Jesus astray. Scripture is to lead us to obey
God and not to justify our desires and actions. [Disciple SB]
Satan, as well as Jesus, quotes the Bible (in this instance, Ps.
91:11-12). But Satan did not quote accurately, for he omitted a phrase that
was not suited to his purpose ("in all your ways"). Quoting Deut.
6:16, Christ responded that one cannot expect God to protect when out
of His will. [Ryrie SB]
Satan had removed the words of Ps. 91:11, 12 from their context
(see on Matt. 4:6). In order to set forth the true meaning of the
words quoted from Ps. 91 and to prove that the devil had misapplied
them, Jesus quoted another passage (Deut. 6:16), whose context sets
forth the circumstances under which one may claim the blessing of God
(see vs. 17-25). Texts isolated from their context often prove to be
misleading. Also, a given passage must be understood in harmony with all
others. The claim that the Scriptures may be made to teach anything and
everything is true only when this principle is violated. When the Word of
God is taken as a whole its truths are clear and harmonious. [SDA
The devil used Scripture to try to convince Jesus to sin!
Sometimes friends or associates will present attractive and convincing
reasons why you should try something you know is wrong. They may even
find Bible verses that seem to support their viewpoint. Study the
Bible carefully, especially the broader contexts of specific verses,
so that you understand God's principles for living and what he
wants for your life. Only if you really understand what the whole
Bible says will you be able to recognize errors of interpretation when
people take verses out of context and twist them to say what they want
them to say. [Life Application SB]
DO NOT TEST GOD
The words used by Christ to foil the tempter were originally
spoken by Moses with reference to the first occasion in the wilderness
when the children of Israel murmured for water (see Ex. 17:1-7). God
had provided abundant evidence of the fact that He was leading His
people and would provide for their every need, as, for example, the
wonders of divine power displayed in Egypt, the dramatic deliverance at
the Red Sea, and more recently, the sending of the manna. Upon being
supplied with food, the people had humbly promised that in the future
they would trust the Lord; yet a short time later, when given an
opportunity to exercise faith, they accused Moses of intending to dispose of
them in order that he might enrich himself by their possessions (Ex.
17:1-4). In spite of the evidence of divine solicitude for their needs,
they "tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?" (Ex.
17:7). They put God to the test; that is, they challenged Him to prove
His divine power. Their sin consisted in the fact that they came to
God in the wrong spirit--one of demand and petulant anger rather than
of humble, patient faith. Unless their demand was met they refused
to believe in God.
It was in this same spirit that Satan now proposed that Christ
should put His Father to the test. Instead of accepting by faith the
Father's proclamation at the Jordan, affirming Him to be the Son of God,
Jesus was to experiment in order to prove to His satisfaction that
this was so. But such an experiment would reflect doubt rather than
We are never to place ourselves unnecessarily or carelessly in a
position where God will have to work a miracle in order to save us from
the untoward results of a foolish course of action. We are not to
presume upon God to rescue us when we rush unbidden into danger. Mature
faith will lead us to order our lives in harmony with what God has
already revealed to us, and then to trust Him for the rest. [SDA
Jesus declared to Satan, "It is written again, Thou shalt not
tempt the Lord thy God." These words were spoken by Moses to the
children of Israel when they thirsted in the desert, and demanded that
Moses should give them water, exclaiming, "Is the Lord among us, or
not?"[1 Ex. 17:7.] God had wrought marvelously for them; yet in trouble
they doubted Him, and demanded evidence that He was with them. In
their unbelief they sought to put Him to the test. And Satan was
urging Christ to do the same thing. God had already testified that
Jesus was His Son; and now to ask for proof that He was the Son of
God, would be putting God's word to the test,--tempting Him. And the
same would be true of asking for that which God had not promised. It
would manifest distrust, and be really proving or tempting Him. We
should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfil
His word, but because He will fulfil it; not to prove that He loves
us, but because He loves us. "Without faith it is impossible to
please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that
He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."[2 Heb. 11:6.]
But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has
true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan's
counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God's promises, and brings forth fruit in
obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan
did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents
to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led
them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save
them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims
the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which
mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the
promises and provisions of the Scriptures.
Often when Satan has failed of exciting distrust, he succeeds in
leading us to presumption. If he can cause us to place ourselves
unnecessarily in the way of temptation, he knows that the victory is his. God
will preserve all who walk in the path of obedience; but to depart
from it is to venture on Satan's ground. There we are sure to fall.
The Saviour has bidden us, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into
temptation."[3 Mark 14:38.] Meditation and prayer would keep us from rushing
unbidden into the way of danger, and thus we should be saved from many a
Yet we should not lose courage when assailed by temptation.
Often when placed in a trying situation we doubt that the Spirit of
God has been leading us. But it was the Spirit's leading that
brought Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. When God
brings us into trial, He has a purpose to accomplish for our good.
Jesus did not presume on God's promises by going unbidden into
temptation, neither did He give up to despondency when temptation came upon
Him. Nor should we. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a
way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." He says, "Offer unto
God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High; and call upon
Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt
glorify Me."[1 I Cor. 10:13; Ps. 50:14, 15.] DA125-6
This temptation is a subtle one. Understanding it hinges on the
nature of the "if" Satan used in speaking to Jesus.
Christ had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness. He had
fasted 40 days, and was hungry and weak. And then, when He was weakest,
Satan appeared! It would only be natural if Jesus, acting by choice in
His humanity, had felt doubt. You or I surely would have. "God," we
might have cried out, "if You really love me, why are You doing this
to me now!"
Satan picked up on this doubt, and said, "If You are the Son of
God." This is not the "if" we use in place of "since." It is the "if"
of uncertainty. Satan was trying to nurture any kernel of doubt
that might exist in Christ's human heart. And then Satan suggested a
way to find out. "Jump off the pinnacle of the temple, and the Bible
promises angels will catch You before You land. Then You'll know You have
a special relationship with God."
Again Jesus quoted Deuteronomy, this time 6:16. Human beings are
not to test God. They are to trust Him. God has shown His love
throughout history, and has no need to prove it again to His own.
This is one temptation we are particularly susceptible to. When
troubles come, we feel panic and uncertainty. We begin to doubt, and to
wonder if God is with us or not. Jesus reminds us that the way to
triumph in such situations is not to demand God prove His presence, but
simply to trust the love He has demonstrated so clearly. For us, that
ultimate demonstration is in Christ's death and resurrection. Surely He
who has given His own Son to redeem us will never leave or forsake
His own. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
When we tempt God (cf. Deut. 6:16), we act contrary to faith and
demand He prove Himself to us. When God places us in a difficult
situation, He does so to test us--in order that we might pass the test
rather than fail it! James 1:13 assures us that "God cannot be tempted
by evil, nor does He tempt anyone." God has given us His Spirit in
order that we, like Jesus, may be victorious whenever we are tempted
to sin. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
I memorized the Bible verse. I quoted it to myself over and over
again. I thought it surely would give me victory over the particular
temptation that had me so defeated. But quote as much as I would, no
victory came. I was just as vulnerable with my Bible verse as without
I suspect many of us have had this experience. We see Jesus
recalling verses from the Old Testament and quoting them to Satan. Jesus
was victorious. Why aren't we when we do the same thing?
The answer lies in the distinction between magic and faith.
Magic is using an object or chant in a desperate attempt to ward off
evil or control circumstances. Faith is a quiet confidence that what
God says is true enough to act on. I had been using my Bible verse
as a magic talisman, waving it desperately to repel temptation. But
when we look at Matthew 4, we see that Jesus used Scripture in quite
another way. He went into the Word, found a principle or truth, and said
in effect, "I will now live by this truth."
Jesus saw the Word of God as truth, and determined to act on
that truth. It was this exercise of faith that gave Him victory over
His temptations. And it is just such an exercise of faith that will
give us victory when we are tempted today.
Yes, let's look for the key to our victory in the Word of God.
But let's not use the Bible in a pagan, magical way. Let's take God
at His Word, act on what He says, and let God use our faith to give
us the victory in Him. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
God is not our magician in the sky ready to perform on request.
In response to Satan's temptations, Jesus said not to put God to a
test (Deut. 6:16). You may want to ask God to do something to prove
his existence or his love for you. Jesus once taught through a
parable that people who don't believe what is written in the Bible won't
believe even if someone were to come back from the dead to warn them
(Luke 16:31)! God wants us to live by faith, not by magic. Don't try
to manipulate God by asking for signs. [Life Application SB]