Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan. For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Matthew 4:8–10
In this temptation, we see that Satan wants to be the boss but Jesus actually shows Satan who really is the Boss. The question for us to consider is pointedly, “Who is your boss?”
Observations and Significance
Location: Satan Took Jesus up on an exceedingly high mountain
Mountains are significant in the Bible; high places which are places of encounters, meeting with God; and a place of power where worship and sacrifices take place.
Vision: SHOWED HIM all the kingdoms of the world and their glory
Up on the mountain is also a place that overlooks, with a great view of the surrounding. As in 1 John 2:16, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye is not new but was the first temptation in Genesis 3:6, when Eve saw. The same is of today what one sees, what one wants. Satan was appealing and attracted to One who would be KING, and it appears to be in line with the Father’s will and plan for Him.
Proposition: All these things I will give You
And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. (Luke 4:6).
Satan was not bluffing. It was his to give. Adam had handed Satan authority to rule when he disobeyed God. Satan was “the ruler of this world” John 12:31;16:11 and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Compare “all these things” from Satan and “all these things” that the Father knows we have need of Matthew 6:32-33. Sadly, some are teaching that “all these things” include private jets, bungalows, branded goods, big bank accounts, etc. You can have it all NOW. Instant Results. Why wait so long? There is no need to wait until Matthew 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” There is no need to wait until after sounding of the 7th trumpet. “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelations 11:15).
Condition: IF You will fall down and worship me
Read the fine print. Love the blessings. Heed the warnings. No such thing as a free lunch. It will cost you. You want kingdom and glory and Satan wants the worship. Satan is not even asking for exclusive rights – just worship me, and you can still worship God. You can keep doing your church stuff in your spare time.
Decision: Away with you
A decision requires a conviction, resist the devil and flee from temptations in James 4:7 and 2 Timothy 2:22.
Conviction: It is God. And only God
For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ (Matthew 4:10b).
You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the Lord your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 6:13–15).
There is a Covenantal language in Deuteronomy where God is saying that He is our God and we are His people. Further examples can be seen in Deuteronomy 10:12;20; 31:12-13.
Our conviction of the Word of God will determine our decision in times of temptation. More significantly, it is our relationship with the God of the Word that makes all the difference. Who is God to you? Who’s your Boss?
Blessings and Baits
Satan also knows how to bless, and take away. As we have established, the devil is well capable of giving many things, attractive and beautiful, they are called temptations. Satan can “bless” but in that “blessing” is a “bait”. Once hooked, it is hard to get out. And he reels you in, drawing you away from what is truly of God. If there is any taking away, he is “taking you away” from God and what is truly of value.
Material and physical things are not necessarily bad. God brought Israel into a land flowing with milk and honey. David and Solomon had plenty. God is not opposed to us enjoying these things. But He knows that is not everything. There is a big possibility that we will overly focus on these and lose sight of Him. Yet He allows these because it presents a test or temptation to show up what is truly in our hearts. We have a decision to make: to keep following and serving Him (in lack or in plenty) and or crave after these things. Note the verses that come before Deuteronomy 6:13, 10-12.
Jesus (being sinless) had to be tempted from the outside. But we (still struggling with sin nature) are tempted from the inside, aided by Satan on the outside (the things of the world) (James 1:14–15).
Managing Our Perspective about Blessings
Our tendency is to link blessings with only material well-being. That limits God and belittles many who are lacking necessities in life. See how Jesus uses the word “blessed” in Matthew 5:1-12, these are poor in spirit, mourn, hunger after righteousness, merciful, persecuted, insulted, rejected.
You are already blessed in Christ. We are not more or less blessed than others. We are all blessed in Christ. Some of the blessings, you get to experience on earth, others you will receive when you meet the Lord. But in Christ, all is good, we must stop looking for additional ‘blessings’ outside of Christ.
Success and Suffering
Today, we live in a world of instant gratification and where one feels self-entitled. There is a danger where one thinks that as long as it is for the kingdom or ministry, do whatever it takes to get to the top, after all, it is all for Jesus.
Reverend Mark Holman admitted that more programmes would bring more people which would result in a bigger place. The pride that comes with success is subtle. Everyone starts out humble – until a point of success.
Whose kingdom are you building? Whose agenda are you following? We have members but no disciples. Jesus was clear in Matthew 16:24–27 that one has to deny himself and take up the cross to be Jesus’ disciple.
What use if we gain the whole world, have glory here, and miss out on what God has for us? What use if we are busy with 100 activities (busy and glorious) and miss our kingdom assignments, and our rewards.
God’s Way: The Way of Suffering
The way up is down (see Philippians 2:5-11). Today, Christians are told they just need to believe rightly and you can have success without suffering. Many New Testament verses read that Christians suffer: Romans 8:17, Philippians 1:29, Philippians 3:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:8–10, 1 Peter 2:21, 1 Peter 4:16.
Worship and the Fear of the Lord are synonymous,
For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ (Matt 4:10b).
You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. (Deuteronomy 6:13–15).
Jesus used the word “worship” and not “fear”. This has led to a teaching that says, in the Old Testament, we fear; but in the New Testament, we worship. In other words, New Testament worship has replaced Old Testament fear.
Worship (proskuneo) involves the Fear of the Lord (phobos). That is why it involves a “falling down” and going into a “prostrate position”. A great reverence and awe for a great and mighty God. Is there reverence and awe in today’s contemporary expressions of worship?
What about the Fear of the Lord in the New Testament? Jesus fulfils the prophecy in Isaiah 11:2-3, “where His delight is in the fear of the Lord”. For Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:5 and 11, “great fear came upon the church”. In 2 Corinthians 7:11, godly sorrow produces fear (phobos). Fear of the Lord still applies.
Worship and Service (latreia). You can serve without worshipping. But you cannot worship without serving. Our worship of God flows into our service to God. In levitical service, to offer sacrifice. Hence in Romans 12:1, that we offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (latreia).
Latreuo originally meant to work for a reward. Allied with latris (hired servant) or doulos (bond slave). These do not work out of compulsion but relationship. In Revelations 19:5 worship is mentioned with fear, and service.
Worship and Assignments: We desire to be on assignment as an outflow of our worship. There are rewards (Revelations 21:12).
Worship and Transformation: “We Become What We Worship” Gregory Beale
“Their idols are silver and gold.” (Psalm 115:3-8)“Those who make them are like them, so is everyone who trusts in them.” (Psalm 135:15-18) Are we worshipping God or making God into our own image or expectations which is the Golden Calf all over again.
Worship of Jesus changes and transforms us. The fear of the Lord changes us. Our service to the Lord changes us. Be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Suffering conforms us (Romans 8:17 and 8:29).
Worship and serve God only. Satan does not mind you serving God every once in a while. In fact, he encourages you to do that. Beware of the deception and complacency where you have a false sense of security and piety. You become multi-faced: look like Christian in church but totally different at home or at work (2 Kings 17:24-41).
You can only have one Boss. Otherwise your devotion and worship will be questioned and challenged. You cannot serve two masters. Some of us may justify to say we do not worship any other, but in truth, we are extremely self-serving. The enemy does not have to get you to worship him outrightly. He just needs to get you to worship yourself. Ultimately, you are the boss and you answer to no one. Not even God.
Let us be reminded that blessings are delightful, but these can become dangerous baits if desires are left unchecked. There are no shortcuts to success. Christians are not exempt from suffering as well. We must be aware and careful of the commercialization of worship , as worship is not just a feel good thing. It involves the fear of the Lord and outflows into service to the Lord and His people.
Who’s the Boss?