Afterward, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the lonely wilderness in order to reveal his strength against the accuser by going through the ordeal of testing. And after fasting for forty days, Jesus was extremely weak and famished.Then the tempter came to entice him to provide food by doing a miracle. So he said to Jesus, “How can you possibly be the Son of God and go hungry? Just order these stones to be turned into loaves of bread.”He answered, “The Scriptures say:Bread alone will not satisfy, but true life is found in every word, which constantly goes forth from God’s mouth.”
Patience or long suffering is one of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. Just like any other fruit it grows from a tree and a tree takes time to mature and it must be cultivated to bring forth fruit. According to Psalm 1, we who meditate on the word of the Lord are typified by a tree planted bt the rivers of water which bears fruit in its season and its leaves are evergreen.
Well, to potrsy the virtue of patience, one must constantly benin situations thst demand of it. From a traffic jam to waiting for that special man or woman to come along or waiting on a promises to materialized, these demand patience and it is only when you are tested that one could know whether you have this fruit or not.
Recently, I have been in a stage in my life where Ive had to have patience. I am still learning how to let go of my ways and trust God completely. I must admit, it has not been a smooth season, as the psalmist would put it… I’ve made my bed in hell, but Your still there (see Psalm 239). However I have learnt that I may not be in control of any of my circumstances but I have full control of my reaction and attitudes. Just like Jesus when tested in the wilderness.
From today’s theme verse, we learn that test are meant to reveal our strengths. Unlike what I used to think that test are a punishment. The other lesson is that the enemy attacks us in our weakness. Everyone has a weakness, though it not the same as another, this is where the enemy loves to test. This implies that we ought to be strong especially when we are weak, sounds ironic, doesn’t? It reminds me of what apostle Paul was told by the Lord.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP)
“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”
Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.
When Jesus Christ was at His weakest from a 40 day fast, when He was most vulnerable, is when the devil showed up to tempted Him. This is so mean, regardless our Saviour. The enemy asked Him-:
How can you possibly be the Son of God and go hungry?
The enemy was challenging His identity, this is despite the fact that during His baptism, the Father boldly declared Christ Jesus as His beloved son. This means that in order to excel in our test, we must be established in our identity in Christ. Because our lives are hidden in Christ in God, as He (Jesus Christ) is so are we in this world hence because the Father declares Him as His Beloved Son, we are also the Beloved Son of God.
How to pass the test.
In life we will all at some point go through testing. Jesus Christ passed His tests, and for us to pass our tests we must behold Him. Study how Christ passed His tests and follow in His righteous footsteps. So Christ Jesus began by saying, “The Scriptures say…”
This shows that He had a passion for the word of God to the extent that He not only memorized it, but He also meditated on it. Because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, He spoke that which was in Him, the word of God and He passed His test. Just as we as encouraged in Psalm 1 to meditate on the word of God, Jesus Christ obeyed and we should too.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water,That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.(Psalm 1)
Jesus Christ not only meditated on the word of God, He rightly divided it. This means that He knew what word was applicable where and in what circumstance. This is unlike other people then and even today who twist God’s word to justify their wrong actions, which most times is condemned by the Lord in the bible. A good example in today’s culture is homosexuality. This is forbidden in the bible however in today’s culture its so shocking to see even leaders in the church, twisting the word and compromising its standards to be liked by the world.
The bible in the book of Leviticus God instructs Moses of the kind of animal meat they can consume. Of course this does not apply to us today for we are under the covenant of Grace and redeemed from the covenant of the law. However, their is a hidden meaning to this instruction.
You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof [that is, a hoof split into two parts especially at its distal extremity] and chews the cud. Leviticus 11:3(AMP)
God is particularly interested in your spiritual growth through your diet, that He already gives us a menu from which we may feed from, what a good Father!!! Let’s disect this meal plan, shall we?
Eating means feeding on the word of God, this can be through listening to preachings of the word of Christ which I highly recommend Joseph Prince Ministries or reading and studying the bible. Meat, on the other hand, is a source of food for God’s people. It means something that is meant for the spiritually mature; depth in God’s word.
Our Fathers instructions about the meat we are to feed on has the following conditions: it must have a divided hoof and it must chew cud. A divided hoof suggests its split into two parts like that of a cow. This two parts is symbolic of the two major covenants in the bible the law which is the old covenant and grace which is the new covenant. It means that we must be selective to feed only from ministries that are able to separate between the two covenants with an understanding of its application in today’s times. The ministry should know that the new covenant is hidden in the old and in the old is revealed in the new.
Just like we are extracting the from leviticus and Matthew how to rightly divide the word and apply it like Jesus did during His tests and how to meditate on the word of God. The new is hidden in the old and vice versa.
Chewing cud is symbolic of meditating on the word of God. This could involve memoring it and later muttering it under your breath. The Bridegroom-King in Song of Solomon 4:2 (TPT) prsises His bride for this, He says-
When I look at you,I see how you have taken my fruit and tasted my word. Your life has become clean and pure,like a lamb washed and newly shorn.You now show grace and balance with truth on display.
Song of Solomon 4:2 NKJV
Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep Which have come up from the washing,Every one of which bears twins,And none is barren among them.
The teeth are normally used for chewing. Just like the animal is expected to chew cud. Teeth represent maturity because babies have no teeth, hence they drink milk, but grow up have teeth, they can chew meat. Teeth also represents wisdom and understanding. The act of chewing cud, involves the animal bring back to its mouth was it had previously eaten and chewed to be chewed again. This represents the ability to meditate on the word of God, which immature believers lack because of no teeth. Our good Father instructs us to feed from ministries that rightly divide the word and meditate upon it, this has a prerequisite of maturity.
Back to the temptation of Jesus. Even in weakness, Jesus Christ submitted to the will of His Father. His answer demonstrates this. He choose to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. In other word, God had not given permission for Jesus Christ to turn stones into bread, and He was never pushed or pressured prematurely into demonstrating His power. Remember He is the second part of the Triune God. The only thing that influenced or moved Him was His Father’s words. Check out all these verses below.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
I have food to eat that you do not know about. John 4:32
My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to completely finish His work. John 4:34
Just by obeying His Father, He was doing the will and work of God. This was His food!!! No wonder at His weakest, He was the strongest because obedience to His Father was food.
Jesus Christ was content with His Father’s timing. Jesus refused to use His power to benefit Himself, instead we later see He used it to multiply bread and feed the hungry. Isn’t He the best example of a leader with power? He never uses His power for His own sefish ambition, instead He uses it to lovish and extravagantly feed the hungry, until their was left overs. What a Saviour, what a mighty loving God we serve. I am privileged to be in a relationship with Him.
You know what, He is still turning hearts of stone, like mine once was, into living bread to feed the nations with truth. We should feed from these ministries. The beautiful bride the church overflowing with the life of Christ is to be given to others even as
Jesus Christ was given to us by the Father
She has become a feast for the nations,
wine to cheer the hearts of others.
Come, all my friends—
feast upon my bride, all you revelers of my palace. Feast on her, my lovers! Drink and drink, and drink again, until you can take no more. Drink the wine of her love. Take all you desire, you priests. My life within her will become your feast. (Song of Solomon 5:1)