March 17, 2017
How often have you wished for just a little more power … a little more authority or control in a difficult situation … or in a relationship? Isn’t this what childhood, and especially teenagerdom, is all about, the “I can’t wait till I’m in charge” mentality? We all have great ideas and plans for that elusive, imaginary but magical, world in which we would have the final say. What we wouldn’t give for that gift, to be the ruler and final authority of our world. To be the Almighty and Powerful Oz, as in the Wizard of Oz.
Let’s examine a time when the maker of the whole multiverse was given the option of full dominion over Earth. You see, when Satan was tried to overthrow God, it didn’t work. God defeated Satan and threw him out of heaven. Before his final sentencing and eternal banishment, Satan pleaded for a trial and was given dominion over the earth, the title that is handed back to Jesus in Revelation. So in the desert, Satan tried to use this power and position to tempt Jesus. The second temptation Jesus faced is Satan promising Jesus not just one kingdom, but all the kingdoms ever before and after on the Earth. It’s what we all wish for, right? Well, to receive this kingship, the title deed as Planet Earth’s Supreme Ruler, Jesus would have had to momentarily worship Satan.
Both Jesus and the tempter knew Jesus would eventually gain these kingdoms anyway when He comes to rule for 1,000 years as Revelation describes. So Satan was tempting Jesus to take hold of something that will be rightfully His, but by the wrong means … taking it sooner … while avoiding the inevitable humiliation and torture, pain and suffering … and ultimately, the rejection of His Father, on the cross. To sidestep the hardship ahead, Jesus would have to bow down and make a deal with the devil … to call Satan lord of His life … blow off God’s timeline, authority, and plan in favor of Satan’s plan. Do you really believe Satan would have honored his part of the agreement anyway? Well, that’s probably another devotional.
Once more, Jesus refused to give in to this incredibly enticing, self-exalting temptation that, on the surface, appeared to provide an end to His present and future pain and suffering. But Jesus quoted the truth of the Scriptures, revealing the root of the temptation by showing the right form of worship. His Father has the perfect agenda and timeline. He is the only One worthy of His, and our, worship.
We live in a time of instant gratification. Our fast-paced world and never-ending flow of instant connections through cell phones, internet, texting, microwaved meals, fast food, fingertip shopping via amazon and QVC have molded us to want and expect instant gratification. We want it NOW, if not sooner. More importantly, we often believe we deserve it now.
We often know in our hearts that God has a plan to take care of a situation. But our flesh becomes impatient. We can’t tolerate the discomfort of waiting or enduring emotional pain and suffering. Consequently, we don’t want to wait. We want the solution now. Instead of waiting for God’s plan to unfold, we manipulate events and circumstances to make our plan happen now. My will be done vs. Thy will be done. Satan knows our weaknesses and tempts us with so many shortcuts in those areas. Be very clear about this: whenever we reject God’s plan, we are bowing down to Satan. So to whom do you want to bow?
Today, identify areas where you are usurping God’s authority, taking events into your own hands, chucking away His principles for your quick fix to a problem. Let us learn from the example Jesus set. Let us choose God’s way and God’s timing — always the best way and the best timing. Learn patience and perseverance, which comes from trusting God’s love and provision for you. Remember who really loves you and sacrificed so much for you. Beware what Satan will flash in your face to grab your attention and distract you from God’s love and peace. Whether you bow to God and His loving agenda for your growth and life, or you bow to Satan’s cheap and slow-killing imitations is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, I bow to You, Father. All glory to You, my Lord. Forgive me for the times I have not been willing to wait and do things the right way … Your way, the best way for me, but have taken a shortcut. Help me to be willing to wait. Teach me to trust You more and to choose Your way and Your timing, I know Your timing is perfect. I pray this in the name of the One who teaches us how to worship You, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
The devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be Yours.’ Jesus answered, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Luke 4:5-8
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. Daniel 3:17,18,25,28