The Temptation of Jesus: Putting God to Test (Through the Gospels)


“'Jesus said to him,' 'Again it is written', 'You shall not put the Lord your God to test’” ^Matthew 4:7. (Click to read entire passage)

The devil doesn’t stop after one temptation; he keeps on coming. Jesus overcame the first temptation from turn the stones into bread and now the enemy tempts Him to jump off the from the peak of the temple. The devil even quotes Scriptures from Psalm 91:11-12, “He will command his angels concerning you and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

The devil takes the Old Testament Scriptures and manipulates its application and tries to tempt Jesus to test the character of God. Psalm 91:11-12 is about God protecting and taking care of His servants when they are in a time of need. Psalm 91  is not about putting yourself in danger and testing to see if God will protect you or not. Thus Jesus responds, “You shall not put the Lord your God to test.” 

Jesus is symbolically representing Israel (specifically during their time in the wilderness for 40 years). When Jesus says, “You shall not put the Lord your God to test”, He is referring to Moses’ conversation with the Israelites, "Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, 'Give us water to drink.' And Moses said to them, 'Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?'” (Exodus 17:2). 

What is the difference here? The Israelites complained when things were not going their way and questioned (tested)  the faithfulness of God. But Jesus puts his trust in God’s character and Word. Jesus does not test the Lord by questioning God or putting Himself in harms way. The difference between Israelites and Jesus is that Jesus never questions the situation that God has placed Him in. Jesus was able to overcome where Israel failed because He completely submitted Himself to God’s will. 

Do you trust God? No matter what you are going through can you trust that God is sovereign and working all things for the good? Or are you like the Israelites that complain and grumble when things begin to get hard? 

William ChungComment