I love love love it when I have read something over and over again but glean something new about it after reading it about 100 times. This happened to me twice today! I figured God must be trying to tell me something about Himself in these 2 moments of clarification. The 1st happened in my quiet time with Him this morning. I was reading from Matthew 4. I have read it many many many times but for the 1st time, I noticed 7 little words that seemed to be highlighted by Heaven. From verse 2, they are this, "After fasting for 40 days and nights." Alone, they mean nothing. But add in the context and they take on a whole new light. In verse 1, John tells us that Jesus was lead out into the wilderness(desert) for the sole purpose of being tested by the devil. Satan didn't come immediately but waited for 40 days and nights. He knew that Jesus was fully God and fully man. He was counting on the fact that the human side would prevail over the God side. He waited until Jesus was at His weakest. His human body was running on nothing. His emotions were closely tied to God but He had had no human fellowship for all that time. All these are basic human necessities. Physically, Jesus was weak. I picture Him barely able to move so overcome by hunger and thirst. Satan is standing there taunting Him, willing Jesus to let His humanness take control. He played on every possible weakness that Jesus had. Loneliness, starvation, uncontrollable thirst were all taking their tolls. What Satan hadn't counted on was the fact that spiritually, Jesus was closer to God than He had ever been since coming to earth on that Bethlehem night. God's strength was made perfect in Jesus's weakness(2 Cor 12:9).
So, how much more can Satan get to us when we venture away from being solid in God's Word? We are all human with no fully God side. We need food and water and fellowship and discipleship with a godly body of believers. He doesn't necessarily come at us after we have been to a conference or had a close moment with God. He waits until we starve ourselves for God's presence and then, POUNCES! Unlike Jesus, we are more likely to succumb to whatever temptation is put before us. How do we prevent that? Read God's Word and pray and a regular basis. Memorize scripture. Jesus threw scripture right back into Satan's face and it was enough to rebuke him. It took 3 times to do it so we may not be successful the 1st time. We may have to face another trial or temptation and rebuke him with scripture until he gets the hint. If that worked for Jesus, then it will work for us!
The 2nd time Heaven's highlighter lit up the Word of God was in school when we were reading Matthew 27. This is Matthew's version of the trial and crucifixion of Christ. While the Son of God was hanging on the cross, the Pharisees and Sanhedrin were hurling insults at him. They told him to "Save himself." "He has saved others so let him save himself. Or better yet, let God save him if he wants him." I believe that Jesus was alone and apart from God and desperate and lonely. In this moment, He had the choice. He could have saved himself or called on angels to save him. I think, if he had asked, Satan would have helped him knowing that Jesus's defeat was on the horizon. Or He could do what God willed Him to do: sacrifice Himself to save others! He was not to save Himself so that millions of others would be saved from Hell. His restraint in not saving Himself was a lot more powerful than it would have been if He had leaped off the cross, somersaulted 4 times and bonked Caiaphas on the head and landed with both feet together in a perfect landing. In His obedience, He showed His power. And my salvation and hopefully yours is a direct result of the obedience of restraint. Had I had the power, I would have called the Legion and had them whack everybody and get me down and heal me. But, that is why I am not God and Jesus is!
I hope that these moments of clarity in my day have helped you! Many blessings and have a fantastic weekend!