THE ANSWER REMAINS THE SAME
A huge fact jumped off the page as I studied Matthew 4:1-11 - the devil attacked at the end of Christ’s fast of 40 days. I am sure that the devil has attacked many believers during their fast and/or trying seasons at different times throughout the experience. However, beware for the post fast or post wilderness attack.
Scripture records that following forty days and nights of fasting, the devil approaches - “After fasting forty days and forty nights…The tempter came to Him..." (v.3). We are not told how long Christ was going to fast, but we do know that at the end of forty days and nights, Satan personally approached and tested Jesus, because he personally left - "Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him."
The enemy started by attacking Christ’s Sonship - “If you are the Son of God,". He then used the condition of fasting/hunger to test Christ's power of Provision to meet the physical needs – "tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus begins His response with “It is written…”. This was like Christ saying, "I quote myself...". He referenced His Word to the devil in the wilderness trials for our benefit. Jesus stated,
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
In other words, physical needs are not the only thing required to live by, however every word you hear from God is required for life.
“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.’”
Again, leading with "It is written...", Christ answers with a matching Word - "Do not put the Lord your God to the test." Powerful is the written word and that was not the way He was foretold to die.
“He did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,”
Second, for a time, the devil is the ruler of this world. John takes care of identifying "the prince of this world" and labeling him as "condemned" in three places - John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11. The devil is the only identifiable character that fits this role of temporary, diminished ruler.
So, in the last part of Christ's testing, He and the devil were on a very high mountain. This second high place was high enough to see all the kingdoms of the world. Power was offered to Christ by the devil. “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” God was tempted to worship. Not going to happen. In addition, Jesus was tempted to worship a fallen being that was originally created good by Christ, whose future is damned and whose kingdoms are temporary.
Christ’s response was three-fold. First, Christ rebuked the devil from His presence by his new name, Accuser - “Away from me, Satan!”. Second, Jesus made the declaration He had been true to all along – “For it is written…”. Finally, the Son of God proclaims what instructions are written to follow – “Worship the Lord our God and serve Him only.”
The challenge to turn the stones into bread during the testing of Christ in the wilderness doubted God's Provision. The dare to jump from the top of the Temple doubted God's Protection. The invitation to worship Satan for all the earthly kingdoms doubted God's invested Power in Christ.
Testing has at its core doubt and hope in something or someone. With the devil, doubt is planted to give you a sense of not measuring up concerning a test. With God, hope is injected to realize our potential through trial. In addition, all of the tempting was targeted at two human vulnerabilities - (1) being alone and (2) any supposed weaknesses (nourishment, protection and power).
After all this time, the answer remains the same. "It is written..." - provides, protects and promises power that we desperately need in our lives.
"It is written..." must be the Christian's war cry. Our foundation, our source, our sustaining force must be The Belt of Truth that holds everything together and upon which all the weapons of warfare hang. Christ Jesus is the way, The Truth and the life. All power to destroy the enemy's attacks and temptations is found in God's Word and thwarted by verbalizing "It is written...".