He was fatigued, famished, and seemingly forsaken. The Lord Jesus was fasting in the wilderness for forty days all by Himself, and the devil thought He was in a prime position for temptation. As Matthew said, “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. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread”” (Matt. 4:1-3).
Satan wanted Jesus to think that the Father had abandoned him. He was essentially saying, “Look at You, all by Yourself and starving. Do You not think the Father would feed You if He truly loved You? You’d better put some of that heavenly power to use and turn stones to bread because it doesn’t look like God is coming to Your aid.” But contrary to appearance, Jesus was not wandering the desert by Himself. The Father provided Jesus with divine reinforcements during Satan’s temptations: “The angels were ministering to him” (Mark 1:13b). Satan was wrong: Jesus had heaven on His side because he was heaven’s Son.
Jesus was not left to battle temptation alone, and neither are you. The honey of God’s sustaining grace is always available in the wilderness. The wilderness of this world may whet your appetite for sin, but God has planted the nourishing flowers of goodness in His word, in the place of prayer, and among His people so that you may eat your fill of His love. The Lord’s power will minister to you like an angel from above. That is why Paul assured, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Moreover, even time spent in the wilderness is not meaningless. No temptation proceeds from God, but every temptation can be used by God for good. Remember, God purposed to send Jesus into the wilderness: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). What could possibly be God’s purpose in allowing you to be tempted? Pastor and author Warren Wiersbe articulated it well: “Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but God can use these difficult experiences to put the best into us. Temptation is Satan’s weapon to defeat us, but it can become God’s tool to build us.”
Dear believer, when you find yourself in the wilderness of temptation, seek God’s way of escape and admit your need for His sustaining grace. Pray the words of I Need Thee Every Hour, a hymn written by Robert Lowry (1826-1899), which says:
“I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r
When Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Ev’ry hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.”
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).
For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word: