How did Joseph handle the most difficult temptation of his life?
When we idealize our heroes, we diminish their struggles. Joseph’s temptations were real, but Mrs Potiphar wasn’t the big one. His greatest test was his brothers — what he’d do to them once he had the power to give them what they deserve.
Continue reading “Joseph’s greatest test (Genesis 42:1–20)”
What would you give for this kind of power?
Open Matthew 4:8-11.
“All the kingdoms of the world!” Satan claims to have them. He offers them to Jesus. History is full of people who would kill for that! Empires will do anything for that kind of power!
But how can Satan claim to have the kingdoms of the world anyway? The Jewish hymns declare that YHWH rules the whole earth and advise the nations to acknowledge him (e.g. Psalms 2, 8, 45, 72, 79, 97, 99, 110, 149). Does Satan really have all the kingdoms in his grasp? Well, … sort of. Continue reading “All the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-11)”
Trusting God, or testing God? What’s the difference?
Open Matthew 4:5-7 and Psalm 91:11-12.
Psalm 91:1–2 (NIV)
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
We love the psalms of trust. They calm our concerns. Fear subsides; faith soars. Beyond our immediate struggle, they help us see the unchanging love of our sovereign. We hold onto the one who holds us securely.
But there’s a world of difference between trusting God to hold us, and manoeuvring so God has to catch us. That’s what Satan suggested to Jesus: “Jump off the extremity of the temple: God said he’d look after you.” Continue reading “Putting God on the spot (Matthew 4:5-7)”
Every leader faces the temptation to use power for our own benefit.
Open Matthew 4:2-4.
Forty days without food! There wasn’t much alternative in the wilderness. No fast food. But what was he doing for nearly seven weeks? Continue reading “When power is tempting (Matthew 4:2-4)”
If you don’t understand who your enemy is, you fight the wrong people.
Open Matthew 4:1.
Why on earth would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? Continue reading “The Spirit led Jesus to be tested? (Matthew 4:1)”
What was the point of testing Abraham? Why this specific test?
We’ve approached the testing of Abraham from a modern perspective (Why did Abraham plan to kill his son?) and from a Jewish perspective (The binding of Isaac). What about a kingdom perspective? Continue reading “Why did God test Abraham? (Genesis 22:10-12)”