March 23, 2020 Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

Monday, March 23 Encouragement

Monday, March 23 Encouragement

Good Shepherd family,


Matthew records for us the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness in the fourth chapter. The second temptation is worth considering. Satan bring Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and says, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down" (v. 6). Satan speaks as if turning stones into bread and jumping from the Temple are the kinds of things a Son of God would do.  


The temptation is that Jesus would be miraculously saved. It could be a way to prove to anyone that he was the Messiah. He would satisfy a common desire that God will deliver us from danger.  


However, it is precisely because Jesus is the Son of God that he will not do them. He will not use his sonship to avoid starvation and suffering. Jesus responds, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test" (v. 7).


Jesus's response does not get rid of a troubling thought. How do we believe in a loving God when his creation is liable to harm and destruction? You and I would go as far as we can to protect ourselves and those we love.  


We have been taught that it is wrong to turn to God for help and protection. A reliance on religion turned people away from offering effective protection, we've been told. On the other hand, we're also tempted to call upon God to relieve us just as unconditionally as we call upon machines to do our will.  


We encounter the mystery of God's promises when we suffer. We are indeed loved by God and yet suffering and harm are inevitable. This is the mystery Job encountered. Job is brought from his cave of understanding to a mysterious order of God's goodness and providence. "Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (42:3).  


There are two things I wish you for to consider. First, we are not to make our security a condition for God's security. I think this is the significance of the second temptation of Jesus. God is not found in the way that makes his love conditional on our security. He is not a means to our end. Second, it is not enough to trust that God has been faithful. We must trust that God is faithful. He is the Lord of steadfast love. His mercies are new every morning. Trusting in Him, and what Scripture reveals about Him, is what helps us endure through the suffering we face.


In Christ, Pastor Jud