The Holy Spirit led Christ into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. Our Savior used the Word of God skillfully and exposed three demonic strategies or, as the Bible calls them,“devices”or “wiles.” (Eph. 6:11; II Cor. 2:11)
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.(II Cor. 2:11)
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.(Eph. 6:11)
WILE– A trick or stratagempracticed for ensnaring or deception; a sly, insidious artifice. (Webster’s 1828)
Strategy One: Question the Goodness of God.
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.(Luke 4:3-4)
On Zondervan’s dramatized audio reading of scripture, Satan’s voice sounds hideous. I chuckle every time I hear it because I know in reality the Devil’s voice sounds angelic. He masquerades as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14).
Like an empathetic angel, the Devil came to Eve in the garden pretending to be her light-giver and advocate: “God is withholding delicious and enlightening fruit from you!”
The Devil similarly tempted Christ,“The Father shouldn’t let His Son go without bread!” “Make yourself some bread!”
Satan questions why God would withhold certain things from us and then entices us with the forbidden fruit. Don’t make your own bread, “Live by every word of God!”
Strategy Two: Sell Out for this Present World.
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worshipthe Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.(Luke 4:5-8)
Worshipping and serving are interchangeable when used in Scripture. You serve what you worship, and you worship what you serve (Duet. 4:19; 8:19; 11:16; 30:17). The Devil tempted Christ to forgo the cross and to settle for the fallen —“the present evil world.”(Gal. 1:4)
Likewise, Satan lures the saint to quit serving Christ and bow down to the pleasures of this world.
Strategy Three: Misquote Scripture to Deceive and Destroy.
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:9-12)
The Devil and false teachers “wrest the scripture”(II Peter 3:16) to fit their own desired meaning. Psalms 91:11-12 tells us that the real reason angels would bear Christ up would be to “Keep thee in all thy ways.” The Devil twisted this verse to say, “Do whatever you want and God will catch you.”
“Jump into the wrong relationship, jump out of church, jump into sin…Your God’s child he will catch you. It will all work out.” – says the Devil.
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” – Don’t tempt God to catch you when you jump into something wrong. Do not do a swan dive into something that directly contradicts God’s Word because you will hit pavement!
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:13)