Focal Passage: Deuteronomy 6:16-25; Matthew 4:5-7
To say that we trust God is one thing, but to deliberately put God in a position where He must prove His trustworthiness without necessary warrant is sin.
In other words, we can trust that God will take care of us as we obey His commands.
Yet, it is sin to deliberately “set God up” in such a way to show others that God will care for us as if God must act on our command.
In the past, such an attitude was called the sin of presumptuousness, where someone would “blindly walk off the end of the pier,” so to speak, to show that God must protect that person from an otherwise foolish and unwarranted act. And when God doesn’t save us when we fall, we blame Him instead of the laws of gravity and our own foolishness. Risk-taking faith is essential; stupid faith is not.
Testing God for selfish purposes (Matthew 4:5-7). When Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, the evil one tempted Jesus to use His divine position for self-preservation: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
Satan quotes out of context Psalm 91:11-12 to entice Jesus to invoke His divine privileges for His own personal protection.
Jesus’ response is quick and surgical, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:16) In other words, Jesus reminds us that invoking God’s promises of protection for an unwarranted and selfish type of self-preservation is sin.
God’s faithfulness rightly proved (Deuteronomy 6:20-25). And yet, God is faithful to His people. He protects His own. He does so not in response to our trivial wishes; He protects us as we step out in faithful obedience.
God reminded Moses to tell future generations about the protective power of God, reminding them that all of God’s words were put in place to lead and guide God’s people (Deuteronomy 6:20).
Further, they were to retell the story of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage as God’s power humbled and humiliated Pharoah (Deuteronomy 6:22), and as God led them into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 6:23). God’s commands were given to be obeyed, an obedience that produced God-honoring prosperity and protection (Deuteronomy 6:24).
Ultimately, the goal of God’s power is to give us a righteousness that is not our own, a righteousness that is granted to us by grace through faith.
Jesus modeled faithful obedience for us. God the Father sent God the Son on a mission of obedience, an obedience that would lead Him to a cross and through an empty tomb.
Jesus’ obedience unto death (Philippians 2:8) occurred because He did not misuse his divine privileges for His own unwarranted self-preservation. As a result, God the Father gave God the Son the ultimate protection by raising Him from the dead.
Rather than succumb to the temptation to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple (Matthew 4:5), Jesus threw Himself down on a cross so that we might be raised up, set free from sin. B&R