Picking up on Gene Veith’s posting about the readings from yesterday’s service (the temptations of Adam and Christ), we were reminded what a formidable foe we face.
Among his tactics is the use and twisting of scripture. As Pastor pointed out, he knows scripture better than we do! After being rebuffed by the Word in his first attempt to ensnare Christ, his second attempt twists scripture to his purposes. He takes Christ to the Temple in Jerusalem and from the highest point says:
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”
Jesus recognizes the twisting for what it is. The devil is trying to use scripture for his own purposes, not for God’s. Once again, Jesus relies on the Word: “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Go to Matthew 4 to read the whole thing.
The Devil is a wily foe, capable of quoting and using God’s Word against us. This brings to mind two points: (1) the Bible is to be read with great care and guidance by scholars and church leaders who understand its teachings. Those who recognize no authority but their own when it comes to scriptural interpretation are opening themselves up to the Devil’s uses and misuses of scripture. (2) We must be in the Word. If we are to use the Word when temptation comes knocking, we must be versed it. Indeed, I suspect that is the best way to prevent temptation from coming altogether. The Devil knows a hard target when he sees it.